Thursday, September 11, 2008

How about an olive with that tea?

Sounds delicious? Not!!!!! Recently I was commenting to Perennial Gardener Lover about my tea olive and she wanted to hear more about it so here goes.

This is a great evergreen shrub that can get quite big. So when planting, one needs to take into consideration the size. Mine probably get 5-6 hours of sun a day.
Pictured are actually two of these shrubs on both sides of my sidewalk. These are probably 2 or 3 years old. I'm not sure how big they were when originally planted because they were already here when we moved in.

The botanical is Osmanthus fragrans. It can grow up to 20' or more with a width of 6-8' wide. As I said, it is an evergreen with very stiff leaves. Sometimes people are fooled into thinking this is a holly. But this particular varieties leaf edges are fairly smooth.
Besides it being evergreen another great feature is it has the most wonderful, fragrant blooms. It usually blooms spring and fall. The blooms are tiny but really pack a punch!
There are a couple more varieties that I don't have pictures of but they are Osmanthus fortunei and Osmanthus heterophyllus.

The fortunei has jagged leaf margins which really makes it look like a holly. It doesn't bloom as well as the fragrans and gets probably about the same size.

The herophyllus has jagged leaf margins as well but is variegated. I'm not sure about how well it blooms. It only grows 8-10' tall.

So if you are looking for a great evergreen shrub for a large area I highly recommend this one.

10 comments:

PGL said...

Thanks for posting about this plant. This is something new to me. I love the delicate little flowers and fragrance is always a big plus in the garden. Being evergreen doesn't hurt either.

DP Nguyen said...

What an interesting plant. The flowers are so delicate and pretty.

flydragon said...

Wow, that little thing can really grow into a monster. Up close, the leaves and even it's flowers resemble my little jasmine plant. If the fragrance is even half of what the jasmine is, you got yourself a winner.

beckie said...

As flydragon said, the first thing I thought of when seeing it's blooms was jasmine. This is a new plant to me, but looks wonderful where you have it. Can it be trimmed to keep it from getting too big?

Miss Sandy said...

WOW, I am going to learn a lot here! Thanks for the informative post on this plant.

Susie said...

Pgl-You are welcome. Hopefully, you found it a little helpful.

Dp-I really like this shrub. I had actually grown one in a container before. Of course, it out grew that so I eventually planted it in the ground.

Flydragon-Yes, it can get quite big. You won't notice the flowers on this shrub as much as jasmine but the fragrance really is nice.

Beckie-Yes, it can be trimmed which I will definitely have to do since these are at my front door.

Sandy-You are welcome and come on back. You never know what you might find here. haha

Meadowview Thymes said...

This plant has everthing I love--evergreen, not too large, pretty flowers and it smells good! Wow--where can I get one! :)

Susie said...

Meadowview-Yes, this is a great shrub. Go out to your local nursery and grab yourself one!

Cosmo said...

Hi, Susie--Thanks for visiting my blog. I have two kinds of osmanthus, and I love them both--the fragrance is unbelievable. My tea olive doesn't grow very quickly, but the fortunei (the false holly) has doubled in size each year. You can prune them prety easily, though, if you want it fuller or shorter. Anyway, nice to meet you, and I hope you don't get too much of Ike's mischief.

perennialgardener said...

Haven't heard from you in awhile. Hopefully you are okay. :)