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OSMANTHUS delavayi

Image of Osmanthus delavayi

Family

Oleaceae

Botanical Name

OSMANTHUS delavayi

Plant Common Name

Tea Olive

General Description

The showy white blooms of Delavay’s tea olive are the most breathtaking of all Osmanthus. In late winter and early spring, the fragrant flowers awaken the senses when most other plants are still slumbering in dormancy. This large Chinese broadleaf evergreen shrub is slow-growing but develops a pleasing rounded habit with slightly arching branches when mature.

The small, oval, dark green leaves have a lustrous sheen and sharp, holly-like teeth along the edges. From late winter to early spring, clusters of four to eight, white, trumpet-shaped flowers are produced. Each four-petaled bloom releases an intoxicating scent that brightens the dreariest of late winter days. The flowers are followed by bluish black fruits that offer moderate landscape interest.

Grow Delavay’s tea olive in full sun to partial shade. More shade is required where summers are hot and humid. Though tolerant of most soils, including heavy clay, this shrub grows best in moderately fertile soil. Once established, it needs little care and is quite drought tolerant. Selective pruning is best and shearing is not recommended. Plant this lovely shrub in foundation beds, mixed shrub borders or as a landscape specimen.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    9 - 6

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    7 - 9

  • Sunset Zone

    4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21

  • Plant Type

    Broadleaf Evergreen

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    6'-10' / 1.8m - 3.0m

  • Width

    6'-10' / 1.8m - 3.0m

  • Bloom Time

    Early Spring, Late Winter

  • Native To

    China

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Drought

  • Growth Rate

    Slow

  • Water Requirements

    Drought Tolerant, Average Water

  • Habit

    Oval/Rounded

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White

  • Fruit Color

    Dark Blue, Black

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Gray Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Gray Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Gray Green, Dark Green

  • Bark Color

    Gray

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Fine

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Smooth

  • Usage

    Feature Plant, Foundation, Hedges, Mixed Border

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Birds

  • Self-Sowing

    No