Sweet Olive

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Name: Sweet Olive
Scientific Name: Osmathus fragrans and osmanthus heterophyllus
Family: Oleaceae

Soil: I find it prefers potting soil with rich organic compounds. I attempted to plant some of them on the ground mixed with garden soil and native sandy soil. After a few weeks of struggling, they all died. I find it dislikes sandy soil. The one I planted in the pot looks healthy and continued to flower all the way into late fall.
Sun: Some morning sun is preferred, but afternoon sun scorches the leaves and turns everything brown and dead.
Water: Water as needed.
Fertilizer: I usually feed it with acid loving plant food. It seemed to like it.
Care:As long as it is in the pots, very little care and attention is needed.
Tips:  avoid planting it on the south or west facing side of the house, for the afternoon sun can kill the plant.

Description:

There are a lot of various varieties of osmanthus gragrans based on the color of flowers: silver-white (Osmanthus fragrans Lour. Var. latifolius Mak.), gold-orange (Osmanthus fragrans Lour. Var.thunbergii Mak.), and reddish (Osmanthus fragrans Lour. Var. aurantiacus Mak.). Osmanthus hetophyllus is holly-like, including Osmanthus heterophyllus (aquifolium), and variegated Goshiki.

It grows in zones 8 and above and is cold-reisistent to 20 degree F. The most common one is just regular osmanthus fragrans, the silver-white version. As a matter of fact, I got both of mine from Lowe¡¯s, Las Cruces and Lowe¡¯s, El Paso. The ones I got from Las Cruces are one gallon size and only a few dollars a plant. The one I got from El Paso is a five gallon plant and have flowers all over it. It was a bit dismayed to see more than half of my sweet olives died after I planted them in the ground. The ones I left in pots are healthy and have born flowers on several occasions. Though the small white flowers clusters are hardly noticeable, their fragrant scent is sweet and refreshing.

The both red and gold cultivars are much harder to come by. I made a mail order for one gold one from an Oregon nursery store. It is still very small in size and I don¡¯t expect it will flower any time soon.

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