Sarcococca ruscifolia (Sweet Box)

Sarcococca or Sweet Box. I read about these a few years ago and became interested because they flower in winter and have a lovely vanilla scent but I’ve never had any in a garden of my own. I found this example of a Sweet Box on our visit to Dunedin Botanic Garden on 27 Aug 2017. From what I’ve read today they’re remarkably unfussy plants. Sarcococca are woodland plants and happily grow in shade or semi-shade, are fine in dry shade, and tolerate acid or alkaline soil. Amazing! And come to think of it, we did notice a lovely vanilla scent hanging in the air at the gardens – nice! Apparently most of them sucker but not Sarcococca confusa (which I’ve read is also the largest and bushiest and can grow to 6ft tall although more commonly about 4 ft tall).

So here we have the species named Sarcococca ruscifolia …


This photo (below) is of a similar plant in a nearby bed that had lots of flowers. I’m just assuming its the same species.


Sometime when I have my own garden again I’d love to try growing some varieties of Sarcococca! If you have Sarcococca growing in your garden I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments 🙂

A few information links that I’ve found:

How to grow: Sarcococcas : The Telegraph / Mary Keen

Heaven scent : Express / Alan Titchmarsh

Sarcococca : HorticultureWeek

Text and photos by Exploring Colour (2017)


8 thoughts on “Sarcococca ruscifolia (Sweet Box)

Add yours

    1. Thats right! I didn’t mention it because the flowers and scent are nowhere near Xmas time in the Southern Hemisphere! From what I’ve read I think they’re usually a bit late for Xmas even in the Northern Hemisphere apart from one particular variety.


    2. Alan Titchmarsh says (re north hemisphere) “The only disappointment is that it is seldom in bloom during the festive season, even in mild Decembers, but come January and February it will make you sigh for weeks on end.”


    1. Hi! From my reading there’s quite a few different varieties of Sarcococca. Humilis is a lower-growing one as its name suggests. When I have a garden of my own again I’d like to try growing it and see how much it spreads.

      Liked by 1 person

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