Sarcococca are one of those understated shrubs that can go almost unnoticed all year until the day they burst into subtle bloom and start belting out their sweet, captivating fragrance.
Flowering from December until March this wonderful shrub is perfect planted by the edge of a path or close to the front door, anywhere that its incredible vanilla scent won't be missed.
With its deep green, glossy leaves, Sarcococca confusa is a tough, reliable plant that is easy to grow and loves shade, thriving in some of the trickiest spots in the garden, such as beneath trees, where little else survives.
Capable of also tolerating air pollution and neglect, it truly is the answer to many gardeners prayers. It can grow in sun, but why would you when you can grow something more choosy there and use this to lift more difficult spots.
Like true box it is a neat, evergreen plant, but unlike box has the added bonus of pretty thread-like flowers followed by the shiniest black berries, plus it doesn't suffer from blight a problem dreaded by many box growers.
S. confusa is one of the largest and bushiest of all the sweet box but is still ideal for as neat, clipped edging borders and works well in containers. It needs little pruning but can be lightly trimmed in late winter and early spring to keep it in shape. Follow with a thick mulch of compost around the base.