Sweet Box (Sarcococca)

Right plant, right place. I know I harp on that a lot. Sorry about that. The fact of the matter is that a lot of people have these teeny-tiny little areas for which nursery-fresh plants in 3 gallon pots look perfect. And then they grow. And grow. If only there were an evergreen shrub that grows slowly, stays small, and is typically avoided by the deer.

If only!

I like Sweet Box (Sarcococca hookeriana var. humilis) a lot as a plant for tight spaces. Its dark green foliage plays really nicely with brick and stone, it makes flowers and foliage around it pop, and it’s undemanding. If we have a partial shade situation, I’ll even use it in place of liriope if I’m trying to create a border. In the photo below, we used Sarcococca to edge the walk because the homeowner didn’t want to have to mess with liriope.

If you want numbers, it’ll grow to 12-24 inches tall and wide, gets white flowers in the spring time, and is hardy in zones 7-9. Like any other slow-growing specimen they’re pricey, but I personally think the ease of maintenance makes the added cost pay off.

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