This is a sarcococca about 18 months old. It's planted in a pot placed against a West facing wall. Just before it flowered last winter, the leaves gradually turned brown and fell off. A few discoloured leaves remain and new leaves are appearing.is this normal? If not, what am I doing wrong?
From the looks of it, there was a bad fungal infection. It is likely still there. Is there proper drainage in the pot? Make sure that there is if it gets rainwater, and if not, then make sure that it never sits in soggy soil.
I would also add dolomitic lime and wettable sulfur. This will help to kill of any remaining infection.
This article will help: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/shrubs/sweetbox/growing-sweetbox-shrubs.htm
Sweet Box should be growing in well draining soil in shade to part shade.
Depending on the variety they are hardy in zones 6 and 7. When grown in container they will likely need some shelter or wrap, roots are more exposed in a container.
The leaves appear either sun damaged or winter damaged. You can prune away damaged leaves, especially now that it is putting out new growth.
See attached image what is this bush- it has never flowered but smells nice. The lighter buds I think are new growth from where it was pruned in the Winter.
It appears to be a Sweetbox! This article will give you more information: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/shrubs/sweetbox/growing-sweetbox-shrubs.htm
Planted 3 Sarcococca ruscifolia in spring 2018. Mostly shaded spot; at most 2 hours sunlight (early morning and late evenings). Regular water. Turned brown last winter and then regrew green in spring/summer 2019. Brown again this winter, but no signs of recovery. I would appreciate some advice on how/whether to prune, fertilize, otherwise care for this plant.
They are supposed to be evergreen so they shouldn't turn brown in winter. They like acidic soil so check your acidity level. High soil pH can cause chlorosis, which turns leaves yellow. Also, the soil should be well draining.
I would trim back any dead leaves and remove any that may have fallen around them. Make sure the soil is rich and drains well, and see if they come back as the seasons change.