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Osmanthus fragrans
Osmanthus fragrans

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

Osmanthus heterophyllus

Hollyleaf Osmanthus
Oleaceae
Evergreen, Shrubs

OSMANTHUS

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.

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