Calycanthus Praecox Wintersweet Calycanthus Praecox is a deciduous shrub with sweetly-scented waxy yellow flowers. It’s one of the best flowering shrubs for chalky soil.
Calycanthus Praecox has a variety of names including Chimonanthus Praacox and Chimonanthus Fragrans (both synonyms) but its best known by the name ‘Wintersweet’ which comes from its highly fragranced winter flowers. Flowers appear on bare winter branches before foliage and attract the very early pollinators with their scent and delicate yellow blooms that have striking purple centres. It’s a real eye-catcher in the dull winter months and a good alternative to magnolia or witch hazels. Foliage appears in spring when the flowers are fading. Leaves are lance-shaped and dark shiny green measuring up to 5-12 cms long. The leaves are persistent, clinging on until the first hard winter frosts.
It worth noting that flowers only appear when plants are a few years old and well established. In the meantime it’s luscious foliage brings plenty of character.
Height and Spread Of Calycanthus Praecox Chimonanthus Praacox will reach 2.5 to 4 metres tall and spread over 1.5 to 2 metres. You can restrain its height with gentle pruning in late winter.
How Hardy Is Calycanthus Praecox Wintersweet plants were introduced to Europe from China in 1766 and they are more than hardy enough to withstand our winters. They are also drought-tolerant and disease-resistant once established.
Low maintenance Wintersweet loves a sunny wall where the warmth will encourage early flowering. Plant yours in a spot where its easily seen from a window so you can enjoy the bright winter blooms in comfort.
Because it has numerous branches and the large bushy foliage Wintersweet encourages garden birds to nest and roost in safety. Foliage will also disguise an unsightly shed in the summer months.
How To Care For Calycanthus Praecox Chimonanthus Praacox grows in all soils and does especially well in well-drained, chalky conditions. Despite flowering in the colder months Wintersweet needs as much sun as possible. Plant yours in a sunny, sheltered spot and it’ll grow quickly. No pruning is required as Chimonanthus Praacox naturally holds a well-rounded shape. You can remove any dead or damaged wood in late winter, but be aware that flowers only grow at the joints of the previous summer's shoots. Water Wintersweet well until it’s established and dig in a thick layer of mulch once a year to provide plenty of nutrients for the coming season.