Wintersweet is a beautiful plant that can add a touch of elegance to any garden. They are easy to grow and care for, and their fragrant flowers make them a popular choice for many gardeners.
It’s perfect for adding winter interest to the garden with its clusters of small, bright yellow flowers that appear on bare stems in late winter or early spring.
The flowers of wintersweet are very popular in cut flower arrangements, and the fragrance of the blossoms can fill a whole room.
If you want to enjoy the fragrant blooms of wintersweet in your garden, then you need to know how to grow this lovely shrub.
What is Wintersweet?
Wintersweet (Chimonanthus praecox), also known as Japanese allspice, is a species of flowering plant in the family Calycanthaceae. It is native to China, where it has been used medicinally for centuries.
It has been introduced to Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, the Middle East, Europe, and United States.
The flowers are borne in clusters of 3-20 blooms on leafless side branches; each flower is tubular, 4–5 cm long, with six petals fused at the base to form a tube.
The outermost three petals are yellow; while the inner three are brownish red; the stamens and pistil protrude from the tube. The fruit is a globose, fleshy drupe 5–8 mm in diameter, containing a single seed.
How to Grow Wintersweet?
Wintersweet is fairly easy to grow and does not require much care. It can be grown in full sun or partial shade and prefers well-drained soil.
It is somewhat drought-tolerant once established. It is not particular about soil pH and can even tolerate clay soils.
It can be propagated by seed, cuttings, or division. It blooms on old wood, so pruning should be done after flowering. It’s generally pest and disease free.
What You Need
First and foremost, you need a wintersweet plant. These can be bought from most garden centres, or online from a specialist nursery. Once you have your plant, you will need to provide it with the following:
- A sunny spot in your garden that receives at least 6 hours of sunlight per day
- Well-draining potting mix. If your soil is heavy or clay-like, mix in some organic matter such as compost to improve drainage
- A support system for the plant to grow on. This can be a trellis, fence, or even a sturdy branch
- A regular watering system, especially during the hot summer months
1 – Start with Planting in Late Winter or Early Spring
Wintersweet grows best in moist, humus-rich soil. Choose a location that gets plenty of sunlight. Dig a hole twice as wide as the pot your plant is in and just as deep.
Carefully remove the wintersweet from the pot and place it in the hole. Fill in the hole with soil and tamp it down gently.
2 – Place the Plant in A Sunny Spot with Well-Draining Soil
Wintersweet needs a sunny spot with well-drained soil to grow well. Make sure to plant it in an area where it will get plenty of sunlight, and won’t be in a place where water will pool.
3 – Water Regularly, Especially During Dry Spells
Watering your wintersweet is an important part of keeping it healthy. Make sure to water regularly, especially during dry spells.
You may also want to consider adding a layer of mulch to help retain moisture.
4 – Fertilise Monthly During the Growing Season
To fertilize your wintersweet, you will need to do so monthly during the growing season. You can use a balanced fertiliser (amazon link – opens in a new tab), or you can use a fertiliser specifically for fruiting plants, such as 18-6-12 or 24-6-12.
Be sure to follow the instructions on the package and water well afterwards.
5 – Prune as Needed to Shape the Plant and Encourage More Blooms
To keep your wintersweet looking its best, you will need to prune it annually.
Shrubs should be pruned in late winter or early spring before new growth begins.
Remove any dead, damaged, or diseased branches using sharp pruning shears. Prune to shape the plant and encourage more blooms.
To prune your wintersweet, simply cut back all of the stems to about 6 inches above ground level.
With these simple steps, you can easily learn how to grow it in your own home. This plant is sure to add a touch of beauty and elegance to any space, and its sweet fragrance will delight anyone who catches a whiff.
How to Grow Wintersweet from Seed?
To grow wintersweet from seed, you should sow the seeds around February time and germinate indoors. Then the plant can go back out for the warmer weather before coming back inside for winter. Then it can be planted outside in its final place.
- Germinate indoors in February
- Once the last frost has passed, the pot can be placed outside in a sunny spot
- Water regularly but do not oversoak
- After the summer, bring it back inside before the first frost
- Keep indoors through the first winter
- Plant outside following the last frost
Growing wintersweet is not difficult, but it does require some basic knowledge and care. With the right conditions and care, it can be a beautiful and fragrant addition to any garden.
Growers should pay attention to the plant’s environment, water needs, and pruning requirements to ensure success. Wintersweet is a wonderful plant for those who want to enjoy the beauty of flowers in the winter months.
Garden Doctor Tips
“Wintersweet can be planted in full sun or partial shade. It prefers a soil that is rich in organic matter!”
“Once established, wintersweet is fairly drought tolerant. However, it will produce more flowers if it’s watered regularly during the growing season!”
“Wintersweet is a slow-growing shrub and can take several years to reach its full size. Pruning is not necessary, but you can trim it back after flowering if you like!”
Frequently Asked Questions
What type of soil does wintersweet need?
Wintersweet does best in well-draining, nutrient-rich soil. A soil pH of 6.0 to 7.0 is ideal although they are not too fussy and will grow in slightly acidic or slightly alkaline soil. You can amend your soil with compost or a balanced organic fertilizer to provide the necessary nutrients.
Does wintersweet grow in the winter?
The name “wintersweet” refers to the time of year when the flowers are in bloom, not to the fact that the plant can grow in cold weather.
When does wintersweet bloom?
Wintersweet blooms in January and February. Hence the name “wintersweet.”
What does wintersweet smell like?
Wintersweet smells like a combination of jasmine and vanilla. It’s a sweet, floral, and slightly spicy scent that is said to be very calming and relaxing.
How big does wintersweet grow?
It’s a small shrub or tree growing to 3–4 m tall. The leaves are simple, elliptical, 6–12 cm long and 2–6 cm wide, with a pointed apex.
Hi, I’m Trev and I’ve been growing things since I can remember. When I was younger, I grew up on a farm, so I have always been around plants and animals. After studying horticulture at university, I decided to start my own nursery which I have run now for 25 years. In my spare time, I run this website – which is a resource for people who want to learn more about their gardens.