Plant FinderPlant Finder Graphic
Osmanthus fragrans
Osmanthus fragrans

Click to Enlarge

Zones 4-10, 14-24, 28-33
Full SunPartial Sun
Full, Partial
Regular WaterMinimal Water
Moderate, Minimal

Osmanthus heterophyllus

Hollyleaf Osmanthus
Evergreen, Shrubs


All have clean, leathery, attractive foliage and, typically, white flowers that are inconspicuous but fragrant. Fruits (on female plants) are rarely seen. Plants tolerate a broad range of soils, including heavy clay. Most are dense shrubs that can eventually reach tree size. To grow them as background shrubs, pinch tips of new growth on young plants to encourage bushiness; on older, established plants, occasionally cut back any wayward branches. These shrubs also make good informal or lightly clipped tall hedges

Osmanthus heterophyllus

From Japan. Grows to 10–20 ft. tall and slightly wider, with 2 1/2-in., spiny-edged, glossy green leaves. Resembles English holly (Ilex aquifolium), but leaves are opposite one another on stems rather than alternate. Late fall and winter bloom. Useful as a hedge.

‘Goshiki’ has erect growth to 3 1⁄2 ft. high and 5 ft. wide. New leaves have pinkish orange markings; in mature foliage, the variegations are creamy yellow. ‘Gulftide’ is a dense grower to 8 ft. tall and 10 ft. wide. ‘Purpureus’ is similar to the species, but its leaves are dark purple when new, maturing to purple-toned deep green. ‘Variegatus’ is slow growing to about 8–10 ft. tall and wide, with densely set leaves edged in creamy white. Useful for lighting up shady areas. Foliage is somewhat more prone to freeze damage than that of other species.

You Might Also Like...

Sternbergia lutea

Native from the western Mediterranean to central Asia. Golden yellow, 1 1/2-in. flowers, one on each 6...

Elaeagnus pungens

This evergreen shrub is native to China and Japan. Has rather rigid, sprawling, angular habit of growt...

Elaeagnus x ebbingei

This evergreen shrub is more upright (to 10–12 ft. tall and wide) than E. pungens, with...

Find Your Sunset Climate Zone

Find Your Sunset Climate Zone

View Maps Learn More