S & J Nursery’s Fragrant
Tea Olive/ Sweet Osmanthus
( Osmanthus fragrans )
Tea Olive Origins:
– Osmanthus Fragrans can be found in China, Japan and the Himalayas. The fragrant tea olive plant makes an
excellent shrub for privacy screens or when allowed to teach its full potential creates a perfect small scale
ornamental accent plant for the North Florida | Jacksonville | St. Augustine area landscape.
Tea Olive Exposure:
– Osmanthus fragrance shrubs will prefer a full sun or partially shaded location in the north Florida
Tea Olive Foliage:
– Medium green color on the surface of the leaf with a gray green color on the undersides.
– Evergreen foliage.
Tea Olive Soil Preference / Salt tolerance:
– Osmanthus fragrans will prefer a well draining soil but is not particular about soil PH or soil
– Salt tolerance unknown.
Tea Olive Size Variance:
– Tea Olive shrubs can be used as a privacy screen, a back of the border hedge row for foundation planting or
allowed to grow to their full height potential and used as a small scale ornamental tree. They can easily be
maintained in the landscape at 4 ft high and 2ft wide with annual pruning and if allowed to grow over time can
reach 20-25 feet high and 10 -12 ft wide.
Tea Olive Growth Habit:
– Tea Olive / Osmanthus fragrans plants will tend to be an upright grower when used as a hedge and will bush out
at the top readily when lower limbs are removed to form a small multiple trunked patio tree or garden accent.
Tea Olive / Osmanthus fragrans Growth Rate:
– Tea Olive will grow slowly in the North Florida landscape only adding a 3-6 inches to its height each
Tea Olive / Osmanthus fragrans Bloom:
-Tea Olives may be one of the most underused plants available in the North Florida area, if for no other reason
than its fragrance. The small off-white clusters of flowers are not all that conspicuous but remain on the plant
from October to March in our area. Osmanthus blooms on older wood and the blooms are tucked away into the
foliage, but even the slightest of breezes will perfume the entire yard with their fragrance. Its absolutely
outstanding, it has been described as a mixture of jasmine and citrus blossoms, the Southern Living garden book
describes it as ripe apricots, but I find its fragrance completely unique to itself and absolutely amazing. Its the
first plant I suggest to anyone looking for a fragrant garden!
Tea Olive / Osmanthus fragrans Water Requirements:
– Tea Olive / Osmanthus fragrans are drought tolerant once established but tend to be more attractive in
landscapes with at leas weekly supplimental irrigation.
Best Uses For Tea Olive / Osmanthus fragrans in the North Florida | Jacksonville | St. Augustine area
– Tea Olive shrubs can be used as a privacy screen, a back of the border hedge row, a columnar
accent for foundation planting, an espalier or allowed to grow to their full height potential and used as
a small scale ornamental tree. These versatile plants can find a home in any garden and its highly fragrant
blossoms are an excellent bonus!
– Low maintenance landscape plant selection!
Care of S & J Nursery’s North Florida | Jacksonville | St. Augustine Shrubs:
– Shrubs can be planted in the North Florida | Jacksonville | St.Augustine area at any time during the year. In
normal and well draining soils dig the hole as deep as the root ball and two to three times as wide. Plant the top
of the root ball level or slightly higher than the surrounding soils. When planting in poorly drained soils make
sure to plant your shrubs a minimum of 3 inches ABOVE the surrounding soil level.
– Water every day during the establishment period. For most 3 gallon size shrubs in the North Florida landscape
in average soil, that is neither heavy clay that holds water or really sandy that will take 2-3 weeks of daily
watering to ensure that your newly planted shrub will begin to put out new roots and grow into its new home
happily. After the first few weeks begin tapering back your watering to every other day then every third day and so
on until your newly planted items are flourishing without your assistance.
– If planting larger shrubs you may need to extend the initial care a bit longer to protect your investment and
get your shrubs off to the best start possible.
– IMPORTANT: If planting shrubs in heavy clay soils that hold allot of water after a rain or irrigating,
remember to check the soil for moisture by sticking your fingers into the soil near the root ball of the newly
planted shrub down to 2-3 inches. If it remains wet from the previous watering wait for the top 2-3 inches to dry
out before watering again.
– IMPORTANT: When planting shrubs into poor sandy soils be sure to amend the planting hole by mixing compost or
cow manure etc. with the native soil that will go back in the hole around the new plants root ball when installing
your shrub material, this will not only give your new shrubs good soil to grow its new roots into but help it hold
– When planting shrubs from containers be sure to loosen the roots as much as possible pulling loose roots away
from the root ball before installing your new plants, if the roots are to tight to easily loosen with your hands
use a knife to cut a few slits into the root ball being careful to go all the way from the top to the bottom and
making the cut at least an inch deep. This will ensure that your plant will immediately begin to form new roots
into its new surrounding soil.
– Mulch newly planted shrubs whenever possible.
– Fertilize each spring with a mixture of milorganite and a slow release poly coated plant food such as Osmocote
or Stay Green general purpose plant food, sprinkling the fertilizer around the mulch circle underneath the foliage
of the tree
– Prune as needed to shape each spring and or summer.