About the product
Break the dreariness of winter with the fragrant flowers that don the wintersweet. Native to the woodlands in China, this slow-growing shrub with an upright but broad shape can begin to look a bit leggy and unkempt with old age.
Depending on climate, the bare branches reveal many bowl-shaped flowers that face downward, appearing anytime from midwinter to early spring. The fragrant flowers' waxy petals are light lemony yellow with a center that is sienna to purplish brown in color. Dry fruits follow but aren't showy. The elongated leaves with sharply tapering points are attranged in opposite pairs on the twigs. In autumn the leaves attain only yellow-green hues at best.
Grow wintersweet in any fertile, well-draining soil. Full sun exposures suffice, but if in a hot summer region or soils are typically dry, shade in the afternoon is highly recommeneded. Use this shrub as a component of a mixed shrub border or in the clearings of a woodland. It can also be trained as an espalier. Severely prune back plants immediately after flowering in early spring to encourage a lush attractive rejuvenation. Flowers occur on year-old wood, so don't further prune the regrowth during summer or fall.
Flowers - thoroughly boiled and then washed. Eaten with oil and salt. The flower petals are used to flavour and scent tea.
Genus - Calycanthus
Species - Praecox
Common name - Fragrant Wintersweet
Pre-Treatment - Required
Hardiness zones - 7 - 9
Height - 9' / 3 m
Spread - 9' / 3 m
Plant type - Large Shrub
Vegetation type - Deciduous ornamental
Exposure - Full Sun, Partial Shade
Growth rate - Medium
Soil PH - Acid, neutral and basic (alkaline)
Soil type - light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay)
Water requirements - Average Water
Landscape uses - Decorative for naturalistic gardens
Bloom season - Spring
Leaf / Flower color - Green / Light Yellow
Seeds develop a hard coat if overly dry. If so give a hot water treatment and soak 12-24 hours.
Sow, barely covering seed, and tamp soil.
Give 30 days cold moist stratification.
Plastic cover greatly improves success. Move to warm site 15-22C. Days to germinate: 14-35. Easy way: soak in 'Skookum Grow' for 48 hours, then sow in a resealable baggie and provide warmth (20C) and some light. It starts germinating in 3-7 days. Transplant when a brownish hue on the seed root develops. Huge root system so use the appropriate sized container. Keep warm, moist (not wet) and give light. Seedling leaves look like green butterflies.