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 feet high and 68 feet wide, with many basal stems. Blossoms are 1 inches wide, with pale yellow outer sepals and smaller, chocolate-colored inner sepals. Tapered leaves are rough to the touch, medium green, 36 inches long and half that wide; turn yellow-green in fall. 'Grandiflorus' has larger (134 inches.) 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.