Tea Olive or Sweet Olive
bush or tree: your choice
Osmanthus fragrans 'Fudingzhu',
O. fragrans 'Nanjing Beauty'
Sweet Olives or Tea Olives are an evergreen that can be grown as either a shrub or a tree. Average mature height is 10-12', though some reportedly reach 25' after 15 yrs. Somewhat slow grower at 6-10"/yr.
Beautiful smooth, dark green leaves, are smothered in small, super fragrant flowers that bloom from fall to spring. The flowers of the 'Fudingzhu' are white and larger than the traditional Osmanthus. Tea olives can be pruned and shaped to whatever size and shape fits your space.
Few pests or diseases bother this plant.
Adapts to a wide range of soil types, but thrives on adequate drainage and can be grown in pots quite successfully. Though they can be drought tolerant, rich soil and plenty of water will make them grow much faster.
The tea olive is a native to Asia and the Himalayan Mtns and comes in several colors: white, yellow, and orange, depending on the variety. The 'Fudingzhu' only comes in white. The flowers are often used in Asian cooking and have an apricot flavor. Osmanthus flowers and fresh ginger are sometimes combined to flavor green tea.
Plant in full sun, part sun, or part shade.
Deer resistant; poor to slight salt tolerance; hmm, sounds like an interesting hedge if you have time to wait for the right height.
picture courtesy Grandiflora Nursery
The 'Fudingzhu' flowers are white
and much larger than the