There are very few people who would object to a vase filled with waxy blossoms in mid-January with a scent of lemon-peel and a tinge of apricot. If you plant Chimonanthus fragrans that is exactly what you can have. Chimonanthus, also called Yellow Wintersweet can be evergreen or deciduous shrubs with simple leaves and highly fragrant, bowl-shaped, many-petalled flowers borne in winter, followed by cylindrical or urn-shaped seed capsules.
One of the finest plants that the winter garden can offer, both for the strange – but alluring – flowers borne on the naked stems between November and March (if grown against a warm wall), and also for the delicious and penetrating spicy fragrance which they give off.
How To Grow
- Chimonanthus is happy in any reasonable, well-drained garden soil, even where there is chalk. Grow in well-drained soil in a sheltered position in full sun.
- It likes a sunny, sheltered position and flowers best when trained against a south wall, or planted near one. When the shoots are being ripened in summer, they will benefit from the heat given off by the wall at night.
- Chimonanthus fragrans should not be pruned when young, as this may delay the onset of flowering.
Once they are well-established, the longer shoots of trained wall plants can be trimmed back to two buds from their base, ideally immediately after flowering. Otherwise, remove the oldest wood of specimen shrubs after flowering, if the shrub is becoming congested.