The gem-like ruby-coloured stems of the Sarcococca Purple Gem are one thing – but the bushiness of this shrub makes it a real showstopper! Sarcococcas usually aren’t the most dense of shrubs; however, this variety is ideal for creating depth and volume in a border, and has some pollinator-friendly qualities too!
How to grow Sarcococca Purple Gem
Flowering time: February-April
Location: Patio pot, low hedge, borders
Soil: Moist, well-drained soil
Light: Full sun or partial shade
Water: Water freely in summer and sparingly in winter
Care: Pruning is not necessary but can be done after flowering
Size: 75cm height and 50cm spread
How was this plant created?
Sarcococca Purple Gem was created by tree nursery Robert Rijnbeek in Boskoop, The Netherlands. Brothers John and Erik Rijnbeek began growing Sarcococca in 2014, and after around two year saw a mutation in the Sarcococca h. humilis. They removed the plant and began taking cuttings. The Purple Gem stood out among the humilis because it has a much bushier growth habit.
After several years of taking small numbers of cuttings, Robert Rijnbeek asked their planting stock supplier to carry out this task for them. They were incredibly enthusiastic as the variety is so easy to propagate and produces an increased amount of cuttings due to its bushy growth, which is quite the opposite of your standard humilis.
The plant is currently grown in small numbers, as there’s not that much material available yet.
What’s different about this plant?
The main properties of the Sarcococca Purple Gem are the bushy growth, but also the beautiful red stems. This creates a contrast that turns the shrub into an eye-catching show stopper – even when placed amongst other plants.
To top it all off, the variety also blooms very profusely, creating a stunning display in winter gardens. This is combined with a jasmine-like fragrance that greets you as you enjoy the fresh outdoor air. Pollinating insects will love it, too!
Where can you plant Sarcococca Purple Gem?
You’ll be pleased to know that Purple Gem has a good root system, and can therefore be planted in any type of soil that is moist but has good drainage. Plant Purple Gem in the sun or semi-shade in the garden or in a pot on a balcony or terrace. Purple Gem is also very suitable to be used as a low hedge!
Where can you buy this plant?
Plant of the Month is sponsored by Plantipp, a company based in The Netherlands who handle the introduction of new plants into Europe.
See every Plant of the Month here.
Michael has been involved with gardening and plants since he was just five years old. He is a self-professed Plant Geek, and was listed in the Sunday Times top 20 most influential people in the gardening world, thanks to his plant hunter role at Thompson & Morgan.
Michael was responsible for new plant introductions such as the Egg and Chips plant and the FuchsiaBerry and keeps busy travelling the world in search of new plants as well as lecturing worldwide, including stints in Japan. He is very active on social media – so why not give him a follow at @mr_plantgeek or Facebook. You can also listen to The Plant Based Podcast with Michael and co-host Ellen-Mary on iTunes, Spotify and Google.