Osmanthus fragrans is commonly known both as the sweet osmanthus and sweet olive, an excellent evergreen garden plant with fragrant flowers in spring. Grown for the clusters of showy flowers.
It is the fragrance that makes this such a much loved garden plant, although the flowers themselves may not be large, they do appear in masses and are very fragrant. They make an excellent plant for a sensory garden, or for planting near a pathway where passers by can enjoy the perfume.
The species is a large shrub to around 3 – 4 m in height, the leaves are lightly serrated and the flowers have an apricot perfume. The glossy foliage provides a good backdrop to smaller shrubs and flowers in the border.
Oils are extracted for perfumes and other uses.
Osmanthus fragrans varieties
- Osmanthus fragrans aurantiacus, the flowers are close to orange, much darker than the species and appear in clusters along the stems, and the plant is a little more upright. More tolerant of cold conditions than the species. Flowers well in autumn but also sporadicly through winter and through spring as well.
- Osmanthus fragrans ‘orange supreme’ another upright variety tree that will form a nice rounded shape over a few years. Orange coloured flowers as the name suggests.
Care and growing conditions for Osmanthus fragrans
Generally easy care with the exception of needing protection from frosts especially during the late winter and springs when new growth can be damaged.
Best grown in in the cooler temperate climates however this is a plant that grows well in sub tropical areas as well, given a protected position and a cool moist root run.
Although it is suggested that full sun is best, we consider protection from the heat of the afternoon sun in summer is best in warmer climates.
- Position – Full sun to a little afternoon shade.
- Soil – Humus rich and well drained.
- Height – will reach around 3 m (9ft)
- Spread – Around 2m
- Planting distance for hedges – Around 1.2m (4ft)
- Flowering period – Autumn into winter depending on climate.
Osmanthus fragrans takes well to pruning and can be trimmed each year to form a good dense bushy shape. Pruning when young will promote a better growth habit.
Other winter fragrant plants include
Osmanthus fragrans are available for sale from the following nurseries
'Justly famous for rare and unusual plants' Don Teese
34 Mt Pleasant Rd Monbulk VIC 3793
1070 Jacksons Track, Jindivick 3818
Specialising in growing and selling Rare and Unusual Trees, shrubs Perennials Bulbs and Climbers, a unique nursery with amazing stock.
412 James Lane, Fern Hill VIC. 3458 - Phone 0419002651
Large range of Rare plants, Climbers, Bulbs, Perennials Fruit Trees, Ornamental Trees and Shrubs. Available both Retail and by Mail Order