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PlantFiles: Sweet Olive, Fragrant Tea Olive
Osmanthus fragrans

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Family: Oleaceae (oh-lee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Osmanthus (os-MAN-thus) (Info)
Species: fragrans (FRAY-granz) (Info)

Synonym:Olea fragrans
Synonym:Olea ovalis
Synonym:Osmanthus longibracteatus
Synonym:Osmanthus macrocarpus

11 vendors have this plant for sale.

64 members have or want this plant for trade.

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Category:
Shrubs

Height:
8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)
10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)
12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)

Spacing:
6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

Hardiness:
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade

Danger:
N/A

Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Late Winter/Early Spring
Late Summer/Early Fall
Blooms repeatedly

Foliage:
Evergreen
Aromatic
Smooth-Textured

Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Flowers are fragrant

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:
Non-patented

Propagation Methods:
From woody stem cuttings
From softwood cuttings
From semi-hardwood cuttings
From hardwood cuttings
From hardwood heel cuttings
By grafting
By budding

Seed Collecting:
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds
Seed does not store well; sow as soon as possible

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There are a total of 39 photos.
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Profile:

50 positives
4 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

RatingAuthorContent
Positive zbelle On Oct 6, 2014, zbelle from Freeport, FL wrote:

I too first noticed this plant in the French Quarter but never knew what it was and then we moved. Twenty years later I purchased some osmanthus flowers thru an online organic and wildharvested tea outlet. They cost $25/lb and tasted like apricots in my green tea, truly wonderful.

Ten years later I remembered that tea and went online to find more. The flowers are about double the cost now so I did some research into growing my own and found that the Osmanthus fragrans is the plant the tea blooms are grown on. I'm going to buy the plant and hope to keep it pruned to a manageable height so I can easily harvest the blossoms for tea. I now add fresh ginger to the tea mix which works great with the osmanthus.

Here is a site to begin research on the tea. The flowers can be used in other recipes as well:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Osmanthus_fragrans

Neutral RexEdwardFairy On May 21, 2014, RexEdwardFairy from (Zone 10b) wrote:

Tried growing this in a pot (twice) in Zone 11. No luck. Both died eventually.

Positive MJSVA On May 13, 2014, MJSVA from Arlington, VA wrote:

In 2011 we planted 3 Sweet Tea Olive plants in our yard in Arlington, VA. All plants stayed evergreen in the warm winter of 2011/2012 and during the winter of 2012/2013. In fact, the winter of 2011/2012 the plants flowered. The severe winter of 2013/2014 did cause the plants to lose all leaves and some of the new growth from the previous year. That said, there are new leaves and branches growing on all 3 plants, with only the newer fall growth from the previous year not recovering.

Positive Betheas On Apr 5, 2014, Betheas from Winnie, TX wrote:

I first smelled a sweet olive tree on the campus of University of Louisiana, Lafayette. (In 1983 it was still called USL.) I have loved that fragrance ever since!!! I have finally gotten my first tree, today 4-5-2014. My husband is going to plant it in our yard this fall/winter. It has blooms on it now and it smells simply heavenly. I can't wait for it to grow huge and be full of blooms! My heart is content!!

Positive Osmantha On Feb 5, 2014, Osmantha from Marietta, GA wrote:

This is one of the best evergreen plants a person could own. Don't believe the tag when it says 6' x 4'. This shrub grows into a substantial multi-trunked tree that must be planted a minimum of 6' from any wall. I don't know the maximum size, but mine are at least 25' after 15 years. The flowers smell like wonderful apricot jelly from early fall to late spring. They do not establish easily in GA's dry clay, but if you water them, they will do very well. Ours have lost some leaves when it got down to 0, but none have been substantially harmed. The overall shape is very pretty.

Positive JoannCooper On Feb 7, 2013, JoannCooper from Bluffton, SC (Zone 8b) wrote:

I tried to grow this plant in a sheltered location in my Virginia (Z 7a) garden with no success. The winters were just to long and hard, the summers too dry, and even if the plants survived they never attained any size nor did they bloom.

I now live in South Carolina where they are common as mosquitos and for good reason - the scent of the blooms is heavenly. It always makes me think of a steaming cup of sweet jasmine tea. Flowers are small but the scent is absolutely heady.

Plant O. fragrans near doorways, porches or patios where you will be able to enjoy the scent. Mine begin blooming in October and continue into March. One grows on the north side of the house in part shade and heavy clay soil, the other in full sun and sandy soil on the south side. Both do equally well. One grows by a downsprout, the other by a sprinker head, so they both get plenty of water. After they pass the shrub stage, they can be trained into lovely multi-trunked trees. The bark is an attractive smooth, mottled gray.

They are mostly pest and disease free, but I do occasionally find some leaf spot on the lower branches of my tree that grows in shade. A few applications of copper fugicide clear it up easily.

Osmanthus are sometimes marketed as drought tolerant, but I have found that they like rich soil, some acid organic fertilizer and plenty of moisture when young. Older, well established plants seem to tolerate a fair amount of neglect, but give the babies some TLC and you'll be richly rewarded.

Positive txsgdnr On May 23, 2012, txsgdnr from Grand Prairie, TX wrote:

I have a Sweet Olive that is about 15' tall now. It is growing on the SW corner of my front yard. I live in N Texas, between Dallas & Ft. Worth. It is the white variety & only blooms in the Spring. I planted it about 6 years ago as a 1 gallon. I love love love the fragrance. The only problem I have is with Code Enforcement in my City wanting me to cut it back severely.

Positive racerkat On May 10, 2012, racerkat from Stuart, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:

Lots of people seem to have a lot of knowledge about Osmanthus, and have had great results with it. I was happily surprised to see the wide range of zones it will grow in, as I was told it had a range of zone 7 through 9.

I am starting to have a problem with leaf tip browning on my new tree, planted in part sun/part shade, rich, well drained soil on a slight down-slope, zone 10B, Martin County FL. Has anyone out there had this problem, and if so can you tell me what to do about it?



Positive framboids On Apr 5, 2012, framboids from Estelle, LA wrote:

I have several favorite fragrant shrubs. The Sweet Olive is at the top of the list. It is a smell that I will always associate with New Orleans. The reason why most people (myself included) cannot easily identify where the heady fragrance is coming from at first is because the flowers are so small and the tree/shrub is so large. As soon as we move to the NOLA area, I planted two Sweet Olives. They are now taller than the house and my husband wants to cut them back. He is under strict orders that no trimming can take place until it quits blooming!!!

My other two favorite fragrant shrubs are the Banana Magnolia (Magnolia figo) and the Gardenia.

Positive pasogardener On Mar 19, 2011, pasogardener from Paso Robles, CA wrote:

Had three of these at our previous home in Santa Maria. It was nearer the coast, with lots of fog and mild weather, and the plants did not do well. One died, one barely survived and looked spindly, and only one ever really gave the fragrance it was known for. We moved inland to a climate with dry, hot summers and colder winters and decided to try the plant again. We purchased two five gal plants, placing one near the front porch and one at the gate leading to the rear yard. We have been delighted with the way they have grown and, more importantly, the fragrance they give. They seem to bloom frequently and are flourishing. Not sure if it's the soil (Santa Maria's is very sandy; Paso's very rich), or the difference in climate. Whatever the reason, we enjoy sitting on the porch with the sweet smell engulfing us.

Positive Connie_Boree On Mar 6, 2011, Connie_Boree from Covington, GA wrote:

I grew up in Kentucky. We had honey suckle on our fence next to the gate to our farm. That is one of my best childhood memories. I wanted to find something similar that was not a vine. Boy, this a great substitute! The fragrance is just as heady as the honey suckle! I found it at Grower's Outlet in Loganville, Georgia for only $12.50 for a 3 gallon container! What a buy! Better hurry though; customers were stopping every time they passed it! It stops you dead in your tracks with its lovely fragrance! I'm glad I live in Georgia. It wouldn't survive in Kentucky.

Positive prettyitup On Oct 9, 2010, prettyitup from Moss Point, MS wrote:

I bought one of these shrub/trees this past spring at a nursery near my home here in south MS. My sister told me several times over the years how good they smell but I never had so when i saw this one I decided to buy it although it was $8.00 for a 2ft. plant in a half gallon pot . Well today is October 9, 2010 and it is still in the pot and just now blooming and man does it smell heavenly. Well worth $8.00 and more. I hadn't planted before now because we recently built this home and I am still figuring out how I want to landscape and am having to do it as money allows. I will definitly be planting it close to my porch on the west side of my house and try to root cuttings but am wondering what time of year would be the best to take them.

Positive PammiePi On Jun 16, 2010, PammiePi from Green Cove Springs, FL wrote:

Extremely hardy, evergreen bush with small, insignificant yellow flowers with a potent, beautiful smell. The previous owners of our home planted these as landscape plants along the front of the house. The bushes are easy to prune to shape, & the plant blooms several times a year, including winter. On warm, still days in the winter time, you can smell the flowers from several feet away, the scent is so strong. I have since planted some off of my deck which is shade/filtered light, & they do well there as well. I got more plants by separating them from more mature bushes, and they transplanted well. Evergreen, drought-tolerant, seems to grow in any soil (including sandy, which I have), can take full sun or shade, wonderfully scented flowers, & can prune to shape. A great plant!

Positive ownsyjay On Apr 14, 2010, ownsyjay from Macon, GA (Zone 7b) wrote:

This is an absolute positive--some of my earliest childhood memories relate to the wonderful scent of tea olives in my grandfather's walled garden, and it was one of the first things I planted when I moved into my house seven years ago. I have to say that the particular specimen I planted is not as fragrant as I'd hoped, but I have just planted four Osmanthus "Fudingzhu" from Nurseries Caroliniana (nurcar.com). They are supposed to be exceptionally floriferous as well as fragrant, and I can't wait to see if they are. This nursery also has some red tea olive, for the North Carolina gardener who asked.

Positive irocv On Mar 7, 2010, irocv wrote:

MAGNIFICENT fragrance!!! It took me years to find out where the smell was radiating from throughout the campus at LSU... I finally recognized the smell in my neighbor's driveway in lafayette, la who told me the name of the plant

Positive ktuvam On Dec 22, 2009, ktuvam from Raeford, NC wrote:

I have 6 whites about 4 1/2 feet tall and 3 orange colored planted this year- still no blooms yet on orange. I love this plant so much it took me a while to get them where the frost wasn't killing them. These are my 3rd set. I started out with plants to small and very little root from places like local hardware stores- no luck. I found a nursary in Fayetteville that sells them big and rooted beyond well- they still doing well and TONS of flowers. Anyways I need anyone and everyone's help. I notice the fire red colored ones as well as regular red under the photos of sweet olives but I can not find anyone who is selling them. Can anyone please help me?

Positive redoak77 On Nov 24, 2009, redoak77 from Knoxville, TN wrote:

These plants are hardier than some posters may lead you to believe. I have seen several specimens in the Knoxville area and have one myself. Then again, our USDA zone map is easily a half to a whole zone outdated.

Positive CajunWill On Mar 28, 2008, CajunWill from San Antonio, TX wrote:

I moved to Lafayette, La with my family in 1958 when I was 8 yrs old. The first house we rented had a 5' tall, bushy sweet olive near the window of my parents bedroom and the devine fragrance of it, always seemingly covered in small white flowers, stayed with me. A few years ago, maybe in 2002, I was looking for something new to put in the ground near the patio of our house in San Antonio, Tx. I thought of that sweet olive and found a 2' tall specimen and planted it. It didn't take long to bloom and the smell never fails to take me back to summer nights in Lafayette. In Oct 2006 I went back to Lafayette and that sweet olive is still there, standing about 25' tall, though the house has been long abandoned. My own plant is now about 8' tall.

Positive plantmum On Mar 16, 2008, plantmum from Napa, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

I have uploaded a couple of pictures of my Osmanths, planted about 11 years ago from a 1 gallon can.

Positive GAtwood On Feb 29, 2008, GAtwood from Katy, TX wrote:

I just bought this plant today and went to do some research and found this site! I went ahead and marked it Positive, because I'm "positive" I'm going to love it, LOL.

I live in Katy, TX and have one of those "blank" yards--the subdivision was built on former rice fields, so the only thing that came with the house was a bit of shrubbery and two twigs posing as oak trees. Not a plant in the back yard. I'm starting to fill it a bit at a time, but I'm a junior gardener, so it's been a lot of trial and error.

Someone mentioned Sweet Olive being hard to find, but I found mine at WalMart (in Katy) of all places! They had many and they were only about $7 for a gallon pot. I love "smelly" plants and I'm thinking about going to purchase a few more. Also, I make candles and have had this intriguing fragrance called Osmanthus for some time now--if the flowers on this plant smell anything like that fragrance I want to fill my yard up with them!

Positive flexfeed On Sep 25, 2007, flexfeed from Duncan, SC wrote:

We recently moved to Duncan, SC and we kept noticing the nice fragrance from this plant in our new yard. I asked someone at a local nursery about it and got the name and other information. It seems to be doing quite well here, but mine have fewer flowers than the ones at the nursery. This may be due to the dry weather we've had here over the last few months. The house was vacant for several months and the plants did not get watered. The plants are doing equally well on both the eastern and western sides of the house.

Positive subuch On Mar 28, 2007, subuch from Lafayette, CA wrote:

This is a shrub that I can't do without. Imagine a fragrance that stirs memories of sipping tea in China and walking New Orleans' Garden DIstrict at the same time? Here in Zone 9a it is entirely carefree and robust and blooms appear sporatically throughout the year except for the coldest months of winter.

Positive vsf On Mar 20, 2007, vsf from Oakland, CA wrote:

This plant has the quintessential smell of New Orleans, more than coffee roasting or gumbo bubbling away on the stove. Every time I walk past my Osmanthus fragrans and catch a hint of its apricot fragrance, I am instantly transported back to Uptown New Orleans and the muggy September day I went to live in the Crescent City.

That said, my osmanthus grows well in my part of Oakland, California, but it has never once flowered with the abundance I remember from Louisiana. Still, its foliage is attractive enough and it provides an excellent privacy screen for my patio.

Positive vossner On Mar 18, 2007, vossner from Richmond, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

An enthusiastic thumbs up for this plant. I have 10 planted around my yard. A couple are meant to grow as big as they will, and the rest will be trimmed periodically as a formal hedge. Fragrance is lovely.

Positive soulgardenlove On Mar 18, 2007, soulgardenlove from Marietta, GA (Zone 7b) wrote:

When I first started gardening, I had the fortunate experience of learning about these in an article in Southern Living magazine and I placed them on my want list for the reported fragrance. A few years ago, I was very delighted and surprised to find them as 1 gallons at Wal-mart of all places and they are currently planted to form a privacy hedge along my property. The ones that get supplemental watering from irrigation are certainly larger them those that do not. I have many and that is still not enough. I plan to attempt propagation this year and want to blanket my back yard with these all along the edges. Mine are planted in shade and sun and both do well. I have returned to the local Wal-mart's each spring hoping to once again find them and it appears that I just struck gold the first time and will have to learn how to propagate them myself, which I will gladly do. The younger shrubs do bloom, and smell wonderful, but not as fully as some of the older ones I've seen pictured, so I have hope for the future of mine to grow large and do this as well. Susan

Positive Momsnthegarden On Dec 31, 2006, Momsnthegarden from Starkville, MS (Zone 7b) wrote:

There is no doubt that fragrances evoke memories..this one's full of great memories for me. There have been several Huge specimens of this tree in my life , my great-grandmother and grandmothers all had it around their houses. My Aunt keeps them trimmed as shrubs around her house -what a wonderful entry-way. I just recently brought home some rooted pieces from my family-home to grow at my present home and can't wait for them to grow. A sweet olive tree I planted in highschool had another tree fall on it (from Katrina), everywhere it's branches where touching the soil- it rooted.

Positive CaptMicha On Nov 21, 2006, CaptMicha from Brookeville, MD (Zone 7a) wrote:

If I could scatter the flowers of this plant before me where I walk, I would. It smells THAT good!

This very easy plant to grow doesn't depend on diligent care. It flowers off and on at any point in time, whether I feed it or not.

I have it in a window that doesn't face south so it's not even getting that much sun but it's very rewarding in these conditions, I can't wait to see how it'll do in better conditions.

I haven't noticed any pests at all and it's not particular about potting and watering needs. I would say I let it dry between waterings.

Last year, I left a small potted plant outside through the winter and it didn't survive but next year I want to experiment and see whether I can push the hardiness with a field plant and some mulching and wrapping.

Growing outside is very easy. It loves hot full sun. Just make sure the soil doesn't get too dry.

Positive Penn On Sep 17, 2006, Penn from Stone Mountain, GA wrote:

I planted three tea olives about three years ago, here in the Atlanta area. I have done nothing to any of them, nor have I had to water or fertalize them. They are great self sufficient plants. One that I had put into an odd area near a tree has grown to my second story close to the house. The upper ends have finally reached my kitchen windows. I took out the tree because the tea olive well serves the purpose of the tree with its height and all year-round good looks. It was a mild winter here, so all three gained more size this year than they have in the past. One was in a pot for two years, but once I put it into the ground, it thrived much better.

I just bought three more for my front yard as an experiment, for the ground between the sidewalk and street, with clumps of shorter plants inbetween. I'm hoping to make them a sort of hedge to block view of a parking lot. They were expensive though, $10 for one gallon plants, and they are really small. Its full sun and hot, whereas my back yard gets less direct unrelenting sun. I have changed out the plants in that spot three times, since nothing seems to work well. I'm hoping they will be as carefree as the ones in my back yard. I'm also hoping to attract compliments from my neighbors.

Positive RosieInGeorgia On Jul 10, 2006, RosieInGeorgia from Gainesville, GA (Zone 7a) wrote:

Also one of my very favorites. Right in the middle of zone A-B here, I've had it for four years on an unprotected position on a hot and dry hilltop where winter's gotten down to single digits for a few days at a time. It got some leaf burn at those temps but no dieback. It's only about 5-6' tall so far, though.

Positive CoreHHI On Jul 9, 2006, CoreHHI from Bluffton, SC (Zone 9a) wrote:

People are saying this is slow growing but not for me. I trim off about 2 ft a year because I don't want them to be a big tree. Mine are about 7 years old and about 12 ft before I trim them, about 4 ft across. If I just let them grow I'm sure my tea olives would be around 20 ft by 8-10 ft by now. I do nothing to them but trim them up.

Positive meiyu On Jun 27, 2006, meiyu from san antonio, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

When I open my back door in the dead of winter and everything else is dead or barely hanging on, the wonderful scent of sweet olive hits us in the face and it almost feels like spring is in the air. One of my favorite plants.

Positive tucker303 On Jan 12, 2006, tucker303 from Denver, CO wrote:

One of my favorites. Got it in the autumn and it has been blooming on and off. One of the best fragrances.

Neutral jeepndesert On Apr 10, 2005, jeepndesert from Pooler, GA wrote:

I bought three of these to go on the side of the deck with a 'Ronald Reagan' rose bush. The deck is fairly high. I didn't realize they grow up into a tree or else I would have just bought one. I'll have to keep it trimmed off the deck. I hope it doesn't kill it.

Positive memary On Dec 3, 2004, memary from Sacramento, CA wrote:

I gathered seed from my neighbor's luxuriant bushes just now (December 2) in Sacramento, CA. The seed pods have to ripen on the plant and burst open. Then you have to beat the birds and critters to them because they are red and covered with a sweet sticky substance birds love. Most of the seeds get eaten, so you almost never see seed pods on Osmanthus Fragrans into the winter. I only discovered this because I have been watching these bushes like a hawk for seeds. The seeds have to be planted in a coldframe or greenhouse immediately. Will let you all know what happens in the Spring! This is a flower fragrance to die for!!

Positive babymomanc On Oct 1, 2004, babymomanc from Morehead City, NC wrote:

We went to Tryon Palace historic gardens and found this great smelling shrub. they were very large over 10 ft.The horticulturist said sweet olive. So we went right out and bought one (for $16) Doing great so far, and smells great!

Morehead City, NC

Positive blldnn159 On Aug 24, 2004, blldnn159 from Ladson, SC wrote:

Moved into a new home last Dec. { Charleston SC} Around late Feb or March began smelling something wonderful whenever I had my front windows open. Nothing in the flower beds except a plain looking bush with tiny little blooms..

Finally a freind stopped by who runs a nursery and solved the mystery. I was lucky enough to have Tea Olives in my yard. I plan on planting several more in my backyard around the patio.

Positive MotherNature4 On Aug 2, 2004, MotherNature4 from Bartow, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

I have good luck rooting semi-hardwood cuttings in a cutting bed with equal parts of loam, compost and Perlite. You cannot rush them. It takes a while to strike roots even with rooting hormones. Air layers are the best way to make new plants.
If the container grown plants fail to bloom, it is most likely that they are pot bound. Try a much larger container.
This is one of my favorite shrubs. It is just as sweet as they say.

Positive lbug On Aug 1, 2004, lbug from Lago Vista, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

I wanted to let everyone know that a wondersul perfume and body powder made from the Tea Olive tree is available. You can find it at Hove' Perfumeur on Royal Street in New Orleans French Quarter. I always go there when I am in that city to buy some. There is a row of Tea Olive trees along Royal Street in the back of the St. Louis Catheral. lbug

Positive bgibson On Aug 1, 2004, bgibson from Thomasville, GA wrote:

My tea olive blossoms are orange, I'm told it is an old variety. I've tried to root new plants several times, in the spring, (small greenhouse)new growth, old growth, with and without root tone, in containers of water. They always die. It is a beautiful plant 12' high now and the aroma is like the white variety, most pleasant, however it does not bloom the entire spring and summer like my whites.It's covered with blooms in the spring only. I am now trying a lower limb pinned into a pot of rooting soil. Will check in fall of year for any roots. Suggestions are welcomed. Will try to upload a picture.

Positive carolmelancon On May 9, 2004, carolmelancon from Baton Rouge, LA wrote:

I first fell in love with this plant while living in the French Quarter in New Orleans. I have planted one or more at each house I have lived in since then. They grow very well in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. It responds well to fertilization and pruning, but will survive on neglect. The frangrance is intoxicating, a close second to Sandalwood, which I have not had the pleasure to experience since leaving the Florida Keys.

Positive Anemone13 On Feb 29, 2004, Anemone13 wrote:

I rented a house in central Louisiana 12 years ago and could not figure out the wonderful frangrance that saturated the air around my house off and on during the year. A neighbor finally told me it was the sweet olive tree on either end of my house (at least 30'). I have moved 4 times since then and have always planted at least one at each home. The best part is I was recently re-united with a friend whom I met during the central Louisiana time and whom I introduced to sweet Olive. We are soon to be married. Maybe because I found that he had planted sweet olives at each corner of his house after we met and parted years earlier as a remembrance of me! That is what a powerful but elusive smell this plant has. This is north Louisiana and they are in the sun most of the day. They now range from 5-12', and require no special care. They are virtually care-free and are in full bloom right now.

extreme northwest Louisiana

Positive joshuatreedon On Jan 31, 2004, joshuatreedon from Joshua Tree, CA wrote:

Sweet olive grows extremely well in Southern Louisiana, in fact the shrubs are very commonly found growing as small yard trees all over New Orleans where I first fell in love with its fragrance. I have had success growing Sweet Olive in San Diego, California. Recently in Joshua Tree, California, it has been a little more difficult owing to the intense summer sun. But now in its 3rd year, my Sweet Olive has hung on and is doing well although growing very slowly. It blooms when the weather changes and now I am getting ready to plant another on the North side of the house as a center piece. I can't get enough Osmanthus!!!

Positive suncatcheracres On Dec 16, 2003, suncatcheracres from Old Town, FL wrote:

I planted a tea olive in my suburban Atlanta yard, zone 7b, but it seemed a very slow grower there. I've recently been pricing them here in Northcentral Florida, zone 8b, and the local plant nurseries are actually cheaper than the Walmart garden center for this plant.

I plan to use my future tea olives as an evergreen screen between my property and the house next door, but I haven't bought the plants yet as I have to clear an area for them, and that takes me a lot of time, but I do hope to get the area for them cleared by late winter. The tea olives will be planted in the part shade of an over two hundred year old live oak tree, but they will get some early morning sun from the east, as the neighbors yard is more cleared than mine. I can't wait to smell their lovely fragrance!

March 5, 2004
Bought 5 plants today at $7.00 each--a very reasonable price for 4' to 5' tall plants--from a local nursery. He only had about 15 plants available, and I would have loved to have bought them all!

They are in full bloom and smell heavenly. I will put them in a slight semicircle, about 6' on center, and place a statue against their dark leaves in the center of the semicircle, so this sweet smelling hedge will be both a destination and a visual barrier from the neighbors.

Positive dogbane On Dec 16, 2003, dogbane from New Orleans, LA (Zone 9a) wrote:

Wonderful, popular and pestfree in this area. Sweet Olive is rather slow growing, but I've seen specimens the size of small Live Oaks.

It is known as a 'barometer plant' because sudden, drastic changes in air pressure cause it to bloom.

Positive bluejade On Dec 16, 2003, bluejade wrote:

I brought two 5-gallon plants home (New Jercy) from CA when I was there for Thanksgiving. I put them in the containers. They are healthy and blossom. My kitchen and family room have sky light and huge windows to let in some sun light for the plants.

The plant is well known in China. Chinese people pick up the most white flowers and process with syrup or honey. They use it to flavor some desserts. The Chinese name of this plant is Qwei-Hua.

Positive mungoj On Nov 9, 2003, mungoj from Murfreesboro, TN wrote:

I live in zone 6b, Murfreesboro,TN. and I have three of these plants on the side of my driveway. They have been there for over two years. Of course I have to protect these plants every winter with about six inches of mulch around the base of the plant and wrap them several times with burlap but its worth the trouble! Outstanding plant!!

Neutral dho1655 On Oct 28, 2003, dho1655 from Belvedere Tiburon, CA wrote:

I'm in USDA Zone 9, and I've grown this plant in a container for a couple of years but it has never bloomed even though the plant itself looks healthy enough. It gets morning and afternoon sun but it's not that strong in this part of the country (San Francisco Bay area in California.) From everything I heard, this is supposed to be very easy to grow so I'm quite puzzled.

Positive violabird On Oct 16, 2003, violabird from Barnesville, GA (Zone 8a) wrote:

One of my very favorite plants, it blooms intermittently all year. As a test this year, I bought a new plant and kept it in a pot and regularly watered in a semi-shady spot. This first week of October it was totally covered in flowers, the most I've ever seen. The scent? Apricots!

South of Atlanta, GA.

Positive TerriFlorida On Oct 2, 2003, TerriFlorida from Plant City, FL wrote:

Osmanthus fragrans does indeed have extraordinary fragrance. I clearly remember the first time I met it, at my friend's house, years ago. She introduced us. I purred. Now I have one and it seems to be happy where I've put it, so I'm hoping for blooms this winter. I am working on another spot where I can put another one. With this plant, more is better. Mine is a casual garden, so messy doesn't usually matter, but Osmanthus isn't messy.

My reference book, Betrock's Reference Guide to Florida Landscape Plants, says this one is hardy through zone 7. As an understory plant, it may well be. It also says this one gets to 20' tall, is propagated by cuttings, that good drainage is necessary, and while the flowers are very fragrant, they are not all that showy.

Positive japanscott On Oct 2, 2003, japanscott wrote:

I haven't grown this plant. However, there is a bog one (I'd guess over 15' tall) outside my house. I am living in Japan and they seem to be everywhere. As others have mentioned it is an intoxicating smell. Very, very pleasant !!!
If one tries to describe it to those who have not had to pleasure to smell it before, likening it to peach tea would be a good comparison.

Only bad side I can see is that is seems to be a bit of a messy plany.

Positive htop On Aug 20, 2003, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

San Antonio, TX

Great as an understory planting under tall oak trees! Mine are about 18 feet tall and require little supplemental water. The fragrance in late winter, early spring and about the first of October is almost enchanting! In 20 years, I have never had to do a thing to these small trees - no pruning, no leaf rack up, no spraying for insect infestations and no fertilization. The deep green foliage is very attractive and the almost delicate appearance contasts nicely with the oak. They should be used more, but they are difficult to find at garden centers. Neighbors and passersby always ask from where the delightful smell is emitting. I tell them and they never have heard of the "sweet olive".

Positive Whisper On Apr 20, 2003, Whisper from Natchez, MS wrote:

Sweet Olive grows beautifully in Mississippi (U.S.) I was "told" that once a plant reaches 50 years old, it will start producing olives. Fact or fiction, I don't know.

Positive 147852369 On Apr 19, 2003, 147852369 from Brooksville, FL wrote:

The Tea Olive does very well here in Brooksville, Florida (U.S.)

Neutral Terry On Aug 30, 2001, Terry from Murfreesboro, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

Tea Olives have legendary fragrance; unfortunately they are not cold hardy for most areas of the country. In ideal climates, they can reach a height of 30' but rarely do since cold snaps usually nip them back.

Can be grown as a container plant in a greenhouse or conservatory.

Regional...

This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

,
Auburn, Alabama
Birmingham, Alabama (2 reports)
Gaylesville, Alabama
Huntsville, Alabama
Scottsdale, Arizona
Aliso Viejo, California
Capistrano Beach, California
Ceres, California
Clovis, California
Fallbrook, California
Fresno, California
Joshua Tree, California
Lafayette, California
Lake Nacimiento, California
Lincoln, California
Long Beach, California
Napa, California
Oakland, California
Rohnert Park, California
Sacramento, California
San Clemente, California
Lewes, Delaware
Bartow, Florida
Brandon, Florida
Brooksville, Florida (2 reports)
Deltona, Florida
Gainesville, Florida (2 reports)
Green Cove Springs, Florida
Hollywood, Florida
Jacksonville, Florida (2 reports)
Keystone Heights, Florida
Lecanto, Florida (2 reports)
Lithia, Florida
Longwood, Florida
Marathon, Florida
Merritt Island, Florida
Miami, Florida
Ocala, Florida
Old Town, Florida
Palm Coast, Florida
Pompano Beach, Florida
Riverview, Florida (2 reports)
Sanford, Florida
Seminole, Florida
Shalimar, Florida
Spring Hill, Florida
Stuart, Florida
Tallahassee, Florida
Umatilla, Florida
Wellborn, Florida
Winter Haven, Florida
Barnesville, Georgia
Colbert, Georgia
Cumming, Georgia
Decatur, Georgia
Douglas, Georgia
Dublin, Georgia
Macon, Georgia
Marietta, Georgia
Pooler, Georgia
Royston, Georgia
Statesboro, Georgia
Stone Mountain, Georgia
Thomasville, Georgia
Winterville, Georgia
Baton Rouge, Louisiana (4 reports)
Hammond, Louisiana
Jackson, Louisiana
Lafayette, Louisiana (2 reports)
Lake Charles, Louisiana (2 reports)
Marrero, Louisiana
New Orleans, Louisiana (2 reports)
Springfield, Louisiana
Vacherie, Louisiana
Bishopville, Maryland
Laurel, Mississippi
Long Beach, Mississippi
Natchez, Mississippi
Starkville, Mississippi
Piscataway, New Jersey
Burlington, North Carolina
Cary, North Carolina
Charlotte, North Carolina (2 reports)
Davidson, North Carolina
Durham, North Carolina (3 reports)
Greenville, North Carolina
Harrisburg, North Carolina
Raeford, North Carolina
Raleigh, North Carolina (2 reports)
Tobaccoville, North Carolina
Vale, North Carolina
Aiken, South Carolina
Bluffton, South Carolina
Charleston, South Carolina
Conway, South Carolina
Duncan, South Carolina
Florence, South Carolina (2 reports)
Ladson, South Carolina
Leesville, South Carolina
Newberry, South Carolina
North Augusta, South Carolina
Prosperity, South Carolina
Rock Hill, South Carolina
Summerville, South Carolina
Sumter, South Carolina
Winnsboro, South Carolina
Jackson, Tennessee
Knoxville, Tennessee
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Austin, Texas (3 reports)
Belton, Texas
Brenham, Texas
Carrollton, Texas
China Spring, Texas
Conroe, Texas
Edinburg, Texas
Elgin, Texas
Garland, Texas
Grand Prairie, Texas
Harker Heights, Texas
Houston, Texas
Humble, Texas
Iredell, Texas
Katy, Texas (2 reports)
Kyle, Texas
Lewisville, Texas
New Braunfels, Texas
New Caney, Texas
New Waverly, Texas
Pasadena, Texas
Richmond, Texas
San Antonio, Texas (4 reports)
Winnie, Texas
Yantis, Texas
Arlington, Virginia
Puyallup, Washington
Vancouver, Washington



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