Last week, while walking down a sidewalk in Whiterock, I suddenly caught a waft of heavenly fragrance. I stopped dead in my tracks and immediately looked up, then around and finally down and saw a planting of the lovely Sarcococca or Himalayan Sweetbox. It was surrounding a strip mall in a commercial area and was just beginning to bloom releasing its sweet scent for all who traveled by! This gem of a shrub is often overlooked until it blooms. I always think why haven’t more people caught on to it’s allure? Because it isn’t promoted enough. I’m writing this to spread the word!

There are two types of Sweetbox sold in the Lower Mainland, Sarcococca humilis and Sarcococca rustifolia. The first variety grows only 12”-18” tall by 3’ wide. It is great for low borders, rockeries or as a ground cover. The second variety grows to 3’ tall by 3’ wide and can be used as a low hedge, foundation plantings or containers. The white blooms in January or February are tiny and won’t knock you over but their fragrance will! Another added bonus to this shrub is that it is shade loving. Plant it as a companion to rhodos, azaleas and camellias. It benefits from rich organic matter but is not a heavy feeder. A once yearly application of iron in early spring will keep a deep green color to its glossy evergreen foliage.

Stop by to view this darling and consider adding it to your space either as an addition to your flower beds or as a container planting for your balcony.