The Q&A Archives: Confused about where to plant Himalayan Sweet Box in my yard

Question: Dear Expert:

I live in Bellevue, Wa, and I guess it's in zone 7a.

I purchased 6 1-gal size of Sarcococca Hookerana Humius, a.k.a Himalayan Sweet Box, from Home Depot yesterday. Besides the heavenly fragrance from these wonderful plants, the other main reason for my purchase is that the label indicated it can be planted in full sun or shade. I checked three garden websites to learn more about it, but found out all three websites said it preferred shade to deep shade. The different locations I have in mind for these plants all face sun exposure (especially the afternoon sun) and beastly wind from the south side. I need your advice on whether to return them or plant them wherever I choose.

The other confusion is that the Home Depot plant label said the plant width is 20


Sarcococca hookerana humilis is a dwarf plant, growing only one and one half to two feet tall with a spread of 5 to 8 feet. It is essentially a groundcover, not an upright shrub and while it will tolerate afternoon sunshine in the Pacific Northwest, it will be happiest in a site with morning sun and afternoon shade. If you're looking for a larger, more sun tolerant plant, perhaps a better choice is Sarcococca ruscifolia, which is also commonly called Fragrant Sweetbox (often as two words, Sweet Box). It has a slow growth rate to five feet tally by five feet wide and grows in more sunlight, happily growing anywhere rhododendrons, camellias and azaleas grow. Hope this clears any confusion and helps you choose just the right plants for your landscape.

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