The Buzz

Osmanthus

 
 
The Fragrance Garden winds its way through our Magnolia Grove and connects the path outside the Prehistoric Plant Trail to the Hydrangea Garden and Bleckon Pavilion, creating a logical connection between existing gardens. This month is the perfect time to come visit these plants that bloom during the fall - specially Osmanthus. Commonly called Sweet Olive or False Hollies most are large growing evergreen shrubs with very fragrant flowers. Considered a full sun plant, they do quite well here in half a day’s sun. All prefer good drainage.
 
O. fragrans
    Sweet Olive – Can grow to 30’ but 15’ more likely here, about 8’ wide. Very fragrant white flowers, but the least cold hardy. Protect from northwest winter winds if possible. Normally the leaves have smooth margins, but as you can see on the two pictures, leaves vary on the same plant.
    Aurantiacus – An orange flowered cultivar than is more cold hardy than the species.
    Conger Yellow – A yellow flowered cultivar of the Sweet Olive. Grows to 15’ tall and occasionally larger, extremely fragrant blooms over a long period. Protect from northwest winter winds.
 
O. heterophyllus
    False Holly –– Upright growth to 8’ or more and about 5’ wide, foliage is very dark green and heavily spined. Small white flowers, hard to see, but obvious when in bloom, very fragrant.
    False Holly, Variegated - Leaves are edged in white and growth is slower than the green variety. Very attractive plant.
    Goshiki – “Goshiki” translates as “five colors”. This green and white variegated cultivar has new growth that is pinkish/red and matures to foliage blotched cream, gold, light and dark green. Moderate to slow growth to 6’ tall and 5’ wide.
    Party Lights – An even more heavily variegated selection than above, growing to about the same size as Goshiki,
 
O. x burkwoodii
    Burkwood – A cross between O. delavayi and O. decorus. Attractive evergreen shrub that lacks the thorny foliage of many Osmanthus. Slow growing to 8’ tall and wide. Occasionally produces a small purple fruit.
 
O. x fortunei   
    Fortunei – A hybrid cross of the False Holly and the Sweet Olive. Slightly serrated leaf margins, more cold hardy than O. fragrans but just as fragrant. Grows to 15’ or so. Best sweet olive for Memphis.
  
 By Jim Crowder
 
 
 
Posted by Memphis Botanic Garden News at 11:54 AM

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