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The Sweet Fragrance of the Tea Olive

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Tea Olive

Tea Olive

Zones 7-11 for the Tea Olive outdoors

Zones 7-11 for the Tea Olive outdoors

I was doing some landscaping and wanted something to compliment my Ylang Ylang tree, which provides a strong perfume smell when its flowers bloom. The scent is so intoxicating. That is when I discovered the equally intoxicating scent from the Tea Olive bush or tree (depends how you train it) and its many small flowers that bloom several times a year. Like the Ylang Ylang, it is evergreen, so no dropping leaves!

The Tea Olive (Osmanthus fragrans) is a plant that can be grown in zones 7-11 and does well in the southern climates. It can grow up to 15 feet and easily made into a tree if desired as it grows in columns. It prefers full sun but does fine in partial shade. It is drought tolerant and like the Ylang Ylang, nearly pest free. It smells like a gorgeous cross between Gardenia and Jasmine when its flowers several times a year.

Its name is from the tiny black fruit that you will hardly notice. The fruit is inedible, and the shiny evergreen foliage is a big bonus! In Asia, they dry the edible flowers to include in green and black tea mixes. In addition, the flowers are used in Sweet Cakes, dumplings, soups and liquors.

Plant in well-drained soil and a yearly application of fertilizer for acidic plants in spring. It tolerates of a wide range of soil types, including clay, as long as the drainage is good. In climes other than 7-11, keep it in a container and keep indoors when it is too cold. While it is hardy down to 10 deg. F, play it safe and protect it.

If your local nursery does not have it, just order it online and have it shipped to the closest store. I bought several this way for $20 per plant. They arrived with blooms and about 2 ft, tall.

You cannot find a nicer, carefree, sweet smelling plant for your garden!


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