Osmanthus Fragrant Tea Olive 'frangrans'

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Osmanthus Fragrant Tea Olive (Osmanthus Fragrans)

Osmanthus Fragrans

This large evergreen shrub or small tree is capable of reaching 20 to 25 feet in height and width but is most often seen at 10 to 12 feet high with an 8-foot-spread. Older plants grow as wide as tall and develop a vase shape with several main trunks typically originating close to the ground. The lustrous, medium-green leaves have paler undersides and are joined from October through March by a multitude of small, but extremely fragrant, white blossoms. They perfume a large area of the landscape and can be showy in some years.

With its upright oval to columnar growth habit in youth, Sweet Osmanthus is ideal for use as an unclipped hedge or trained as a small tree, and should be placed where its fragrance can be enjoyed. Since the flowers are not particularly showy, people will wonder where the delightful fragrance is coming from. This is a subtle plant which should be used more often in Southern landscapes.

Plants thin somewhat in the partial shade, but form a dense crown in a sunny location. Planted on 4 to 6 foot centers, Sweet Osmanthus can form a wall of fragrance during the fall, winter and spring and should be planted more often. They will not grow as fast as Leyland Cypress, but think of this Osmanthus as a substitute for use in a sunny spot. Plants can be clipped to form a denser canopy, but flowers form on old growth and removing branches will reduce the flower display. With time, older plants can be trained into a small, multi-trunked tree.

Sweet Osmanthus should be grown in full sun or partial shade in well-drained soil. Plants are fairly drought tolerant once established but will perform their best with ample moisture. This is a subtle plant which should be used more often in Southern landscapes due to the striking flower fragrance. I (Dr. Gilman) can not imagine any garden in the south without this incredible plant. They will not grow as fast as Leyland Cypress, but think of this Osmanthus as a fragrant substitute for Leyland in a sunny spot.

Flowers emerge over an extended period from October through March in zones 8 and 9, more so only in the fall in zone 7. Variety aurantiacus has orange flowers.


Height
15-25 Feet

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Spread
15-25 Feet

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USDA Hardiness Zone 7B to 9A

Characteristics & Attributes

Attributes
Specimen
Evergreen
Fragrant
Border
Exposure
Sun
Partial Sun/Shade
Growth Rate
Medium
Habit
Upright
Season of Interest (Flowering)
Late Spring / Early Summer
Soil Moisture Needs
Average
Dry
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