Sarcococca ruscifolia

Fragrant Sweet Box


Sarcococca ruscifolia, also referred to as fragrant sweet box, stands out with its enchanting fragrance and lush evergreen leaves. This versatile plant is a garden favorite, thriving splendidly in shaded areas while offering a delightful presence throughout the year.

Its inconspicuous flowers emit a sweet scent during late winter, infusing the air with a captivating aroma. Ideal for adding texture and colour to outdoor spaces, Sarcococca ruscifolia embodies enduring charm and versatility.


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Origin: Central and southern China
Genus: Sarcococca
Species / Cultivar: ruscifolia
Common Name: Fragrant Sweet Box

Plant Biography

Sarcococca ruscifolia, commonly known as fragrant sweet box or Christmas box, has a botanical history rooted in China and the Himalayas. This evergreen shrub, part of the Buxaceae family, gained recognition in the 19th century for its ornamental qualities and sweet fragrance.

Cultivated for both aesthetics and practical uses, Sarcococca ruscifolia’s dense foliage and small, fragrant flowers made it popular for hedging and landscaping. Its aromatic blooms were also valued in traditional medicine and perfumery. Today, this beloved plant is cherished globally for its timeless elegance and adaptability.

Sarcococca ruscifolia
Soil: Moist but Well Drained
Soil that allows water to drain at a moderate rate, without the water pooling.
Growth Rate: Slow
This plant is particularly slow to grow, even 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: 0.5-1m
The plant's ultimate height in typical growing conditions.
Eventual Spread: 0.5-1m
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

Sarcococca ruscifolia, or fragrant sweet box, thrives in partial to full shade and well-drained soil. Water regularly, especially during dry spells, but avoid waterlogged conditions.

Prune lightly to maintain shape and remove dead or damaged growth. This compact shrub typically reaches height and spread of about 1 metre, making it ideal for smaller gardens or as an understory plant.

Its slow growth rate and evergreen foliage provide year-round interest and texture. With minimal care and attention, fragrant sweet box rewards gardeners with its delightful fragrance and enduring beauty.



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