Plant Common Name
Japanese Allspice, Wintersweet
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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.
AHS Heat Zone
9 - 4
USDA Hardiness Zone
7 - 9
4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21
Partial Sun, Partial Shade
10'-15' / 3.0m - 4.6m
6'-10' / 1.8m - 3.0m
Early Spring, Winter, Late Winter