WINTERSWEET

FAMILY: Calycanthaceae | GENUS: CHIMONANTHUS praecox

TYPE
  • Deciduous
  • Shrubs
SUN EXPOSURE
  • Full Sun
  • Partial Shade
WATER
  • Moderate Water
PLANTING ZONES
  • US (Upper South) / Zone 6
  • MS (Middle South) / Zone 7
  • LS (Lower South) / Zone 8

Plant Details

Wintersweet's spicy-scented blossoms appear on leafless branches in winter or early spring and may last for more than a month if not hit by hard frost. Native to China and Japan. Tall, open-structured plant grows slowly to 1015 ft. high and 68 ft. wide, with many basal stems. Blossoms are 1 in. wide, with pale yellow outer sepals and smaller, chocolate-colored inner sepals. Tapered leaves are rough to the touch, medium green, 36 in. long and half that wide; turn yellow-green in fall. 'Grandiflorus' has larger (134 -in.) blossoms than the basic species, but they are not as fragrant. 'Luteus' has clear yellow flowers.

In the Upper South, plant in a sheltered site to prevent frost damage. In all areas, locate plant where its winter fragrance can be enjoyed, such as near an entrance or path or under a bedroom window. Keep plant lower by cutting back after bloom; shape as a small tree by removing excess basal stems; rejuvenate a leggy plant by trimming to within a foot of the ground in spring. Needs good drainage.

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