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Portland Nursery

CHIMONANTHUS: Wintersweet

Chimonanthus: wintersweet

 

CHIMAONANTHUS: Wintersweet

Wintersweet flowers are an unexpected delight. The Chimonanthus spends most of the year unnoticed and minding its own business, but when January rolls around, it lets loose a barrage of flowers that are delicate in appearance but which arguably carry the best scent of any flower, anywhere. You have not lived, until you have cozied up to Wintersweet and taken a big whiff.

 

Chimonanthus: wintersweet

 

Facts — Wintersweet

 

Family: Calycanthacea

Genus: Chimonanthus (kai-moan-ANTH-us) In Greek: cheimon= winter, anthos=flower

Common: Wintersweet

Origin: Native to China – Wintersweet has been cultivated in China for over 1,000 years. It is valued for use in medicine, and its essential oils are used in cosmetics, perfumery and to flavor teas. In China, Wintersweet flowers have been used to scent linens in the same way that Lavender flowers have been used elsewhere.

Characteristics: 6 species of Chimonanthus exist, but only one is commonly available in nurseries, Chimonanthus praecox. Spectacular nodding, waxy butter yellow flowers accented with maroon on the inside are very fragrant in January-February. There is truly nothing like it. Leaves are lance-shaped, green & deciduous with mild gold fall color before dropping. Sadly, the plant is rather non-descript in all other seasons, but works fine as a background plant.

Chimonanthus

Size: Large, upright fountain shape shrub, grows 10-15’ x 10-15’

Culture: Sun or part shade, adapts to acidic or alkaline soils but prefers better soil drainage than most Portland soils provide. Amend planting bed with compost to improve drainage. Prune oldest branches to the ground after bloom. To rejuvenate old plants, prune to 12” after bloom. Hardy Z7, protect in temps under 10f

Problems: The lack of multi-season interest is the worst of it.

Chimonanthus: wintersweet

WINTER FLOWERING PLANTS

Flowers are always welcome, but when gray winter skies dominate, we appreciate flowers even more. Read more about winter flowering plants here!

Camellia 'Kanjiro'

Camellia 'Kanjiro'
See our Camellia Feature

Corylopsis

Corylopsis in bloom
See our Corylopsis Feature

Cyclamen

Cyclamen
See our Cyclamen Feature

Daphne odora marginata

Daphne odora 'Marginata'
See our Daphne Feature

Edgeworthia

Edgeworthia in bloom
See our Edgeworthia Feature

Hamamelis

Hamemelis in bloom
See our Hamamelis Feature

Hellebore

Hellebore
See our Hellebore Feature

Mahonia

Mahonia in bloom
See our Native Mahonia Feature

Viola

Viola
See our Viola Feature

Winter Containers

Winter Containers
See our Winter Containers Feature