Can I contain wintersweet?
QIs there any way to keep a wintersweet tree small? Or can you recommend a smaller winter-flowering alternative?
G Compton, Hertfordshire
Wintersweet Chimonanthus praecox can grow a lofty 4m (13ft) high by 3m (10ft) wide. But train these plants on a wall and you’ll keep them to a much
more manageable size. If possible, choose a south or south west-facing wall, sheltered from cutting east winds.
Plant the shrub a small distance from the wall to enable its roots to develop, and train the branches by pruning annually after flowering.
Develop your plant in a fan shape, removing branches growing outwards from the
wall and flexing the rest gently into place before tying in.
Smaller winter shrubs with fragrance include sarcococca or Christmas box, and Daphne odora and D. laureola flower in winter too. Straggly Coronilla valentina has fragrant yellow pea flowers almost all year including winter. And don’t forget heathers – particularly varieties of Erica carnea.
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