Sarcococca hookeriana ‘Winter Gem’

sweet box 'Winter Gem', Christmas box


An unparalleled plant for late winter scent, with arching branches of lustrous evergreen leaves bearing red buds that burst into clusters of white tubular flowers – followed by glossy red berries that ripen to black.


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Origin: China, North East India, Buthan
Genus: Sarcococca
Species / Cultivar: hookeriana var. 'Winter Gem'
Common Name: sweet box 'Winter Gem', Christmas box

Plant Biography

Sarcococca hookeriana originates from South and West parts of China, Afganistan, North India and Bhutan.

The ‘Winter Gem’ variety was created in the UK, at Hillier Nurseries around 2005, as a more compact variety with a higher resistance to pest and diseases. It has enjoyed a growing popularity ever since.

In China, some species of Sarcococca are used in traditional medicine for their contents of steroidal alkaloids in treating rheumatism, swollen sore throat or traumatic injuries.

Sarcococca hookeriana 'Winter Gem'
Soil: Moist but Well Drained
Soil that allows water to drain at a moderate rate, without the water pooling.
Growth Rate: Medium
Expect to see moderate growth during growing season.
Water Requirement: Medium
Once it is established, this plant is likely to only require watering during drier periods.
Maintenance: Low
Minimal skill or input needed beyond the basics, a very independent plant.
Situation: Part Shade to Full Shade
Can enjoy several hours of direct sunlight, but also happy in full shade.
Eventual Height: 0.5 - 1.0m
The plant's ultimate height in typical growing conditions.
Eventual Spread: 0.5 - 1.0m
The plant's ultimate spread in typical growing conditions.
Hardiness: Fully Hardy
Will survive unprotected outdoors in most areas of the UK, even in the harshest winters.
Habit: Evergreen
Always in leaf throughout the year. It won't lose all its leaves at any one time.
Care & Size Guidance

Care & Size Guidance

Plant the Sweet box alongside borders and pathways, either as a ground cover or as a low hedge.

The Sarcococca can be easily grown in a container, making it the perfect winter plant.

Prefers a part shade position, where the soil is damp at all times. It can stay also in a full sun position, provided watering is done more frequently.

Trim in summer, after flowering is finished to keep the plant in check.


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