How to propagate sweet box
This is a quick step by step guide on how we propagate sweet box (sarcococca confusa). We produce over a thousand of these each year by collecting and sowing the seed.
Harvest & sow the berries
Sweet box flowers in late winter/early spring. The flowers once pollinated are transformed into berries, they are present in late Autumn, reaching their full maturity towards the beginning of Winter, these berries house the seed.
The berries are red in colour and darken to a purple-black when ripe. Harvest these berries once they are ready. The seed is hidden inside the flesh of the berry. There is no need to remove the flesh.
We use old styrofoam vegetable crates to sow all our seeds.
- Simply fill the crate 4/5 with a good quality potting mix.
- Evenly distribute the berries over the top.
- Lightly cover the berries in potting mix.
- Give them a good drink and store in a sheltered position keeping them moist.
It takes about 4-6 months for the seeds to germinate and develop a good root system.
While we wait for the seeds to germinate it’s important that the potting mix they are in is keeps moist but not too wet! Wet soil will rot the seeds, while if it’s too dry the seeds will not activate.
The seedlings are ready to be planted once they have developed a decent root system and a few leaves.
Pot your seedlings
Once the seedlings are ready to be planted use a good quality potting mix. We pot our seedlings into a 2″ tube as this saves valuable space in the nursery. They could however, be potted into a larger pot if desired.
Gently remove the seedlings from the vegetable crate. Depending on how highly packed together the seedlings are, their roots can become quite entangled. Gently tease them apart minimising any stress.
Sweet box makes a terrific hedge in shaded areas of the garden so pot plenty of the up, you can always give extras away.
Once the seedlings are potted, they need to be watered. Watering with Seasol or other seaweed based fertilisers can be beneficial in helping to quickly establish a strong and healthy root system.
Store in a nice shelter position out of sun and wind, just while the root system develops. Expect almost all seedlings to survive, our success rate is almost 100%
Ready for planting
Allow the seedlings around 8-12 weeks to establish a strong and healthy root system in their pot.
Once the root system has developed, these new plants can be planted into the garden. Below is a short video showing the above steps. This is how we propagate sweet box(Sarcococca confusa) in our nursery. If you’re enjoying the content, feel free to subscribe. We hope this was helpful.
We have also put together a resource page that contains links to the products we use or similar. If you want to check that out click the link.
Propagate Sweet Box Video
Sweet box- Sarcococca confusa care
Sarcococca confusa is a compact, evergreen shrub. It has glossy deep green foliage. In Late winter into early spring it produces highly fragrant small white flowers.
Sweet box is ideal as background screening, planted near or under windows in shade where the fragrance of the flowers can be full appreciated. Also excellent as a hedge in shaded areas where it can be hard to get other plants to grow.
Grows best in shaded or part shade positions. Can be grown in full sun although, the soil must be keep moist. Will tolerate dry shade. Lightly prune to encourage bushy compact growth if using as a hedge.
Botanical name: Botanical name: Sarcococca confusa
Common name: Sweet Box
Native to: China
Flowers: Late winter-spring
Position: Shade/ Part shade