A FEW days into the New Year, the outside thermometer registered 16F. The garden looked absolutely beautiful with the lawn, perennial grasses and seedheads rimed with a thick silvery crust of frost, but all I could think about was my wintersweet, Chimonanthus praecox, planted close to the south wall of the house. It was a nasty moment, for this shrub is supposedly frost-resistant down to about 14F, so there is now a possibility that, come the spring, there will be some dieback of the youngest shoots.
- Wintersweet is a wonderful addition to your landscape if you live in the right climate. Its best feature is how it blooms in winter with blossoms that have a strong honey fragrance.
- Wintersweet originated in China, where it is still popular. In the 1600s, it was brought to Japan. It is also grown in Korea, Australia, Europe and the US.
- If you decide Wintersweet is a good addition to your yard, be sure to start with young plants rather than seed. It can take 14 years for plants starting from seed to finally blossom.
“Part of wintersweet plant care is pruning. When you are caring for wintersweet in the landscape, trim the oldest branches to the ground after the plant has stopped blooming.”