Scentless Tea Olive possible?

wherewerewe(z7 NC Triad)March 17, 2006

Hi all,

I've had a Tea Olive shrub for 3+ years, waiting to smell what everyone raves about. I also had, keyword:HAD, a Mock Orange that never had any scent. I've read about the fragrance variations with MO's, & I was wandering if it's also possible for a Tea Olive shrub to not have any scent. It's still a nice looking shrub by itself (unlike the Mock Orange), but I'd love for it to send out its fragrance. I'm assuming I have another dud.

Well, may be time to offer it on the trade page.... =)

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Are you talking about a sweet olive? The evergreen shrub with teensy white blooms in the spring and fall? My mother can't smell them either. The scent only comes out in mine if the weather is warm enough.
As for the mock orange, I once bought 10 of them and not one of them are fragrant. I've read since then that you have to buy them in bloom because some of them aren't fragrant. Bummer to learn that AFTER planting 10 shrubs.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2006 at 1:58PM
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I've heard that osmanthus is one of those scents that some people can smell and others can't -- my mother in law doesn't smell anything from my osmanthus, but her sense of smell, she says, is poor in general.

Like cweathersby said, they smell best in warm, humid weather, so hang on a little longer before you trade it!


    Bookmark   March 20, 2006 at 1:48PM
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Nell Jean

It has been my observation that Tea Olive is not something you walk up to and sniff, the way you would a gardenia. Tea Olive fragrance is something that wafts across the yard on a damp, warm breeze and you catch it, wondering what that incredible fragrance is. A similar characteristic is true of Clerodendrum bungeii. If you get close, you smell those awful skunky leaves, but across the border, they're very sweet on the wind.

As far as Mock Orange, mine is totally scentless. My mother had double Mock Orange and they were very fragrant. The only thing these little square single blossoms have to offer is that they bloom as the azaleas and dogwoods are going away, extending that first flush of spring a little longer.


    Bookmark   March 25, 2006 at 6:03PM
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Xtal(z8b Temple. TX)

Like you guys, I happened to see Sweet Osmanthus on sale at WalMart. I bought all 5 thinking that I'd have the most fragrant yards. I've watched it bloom no less than 3 times and have not detected any scent.

I'm taking a MG class and was able to ask our speaker for that day. Wouldn't you know it... he said that there was ONE variety that wasn't fragrant. My guess is that's why they were on sale. I got sooo mad, I wanted to go home and rip them up and throw them away. Instead, I'm just relocating them to a place where some evergreen shrubs/small trees might be appreciated.

I also went to this forum and looked up sweet osmanthus and found a site that really does sell fragrant ones. I've now ordered three from I'm ordering Sweet Osmanthus "Fudingzhu" which is supposed to flower profusely for an extended period of time. They are being delivered this next week. I can't wait to plant them and start some cuttings going.

You guys might want to go there yourself or get back with me for some cuttings. I plan to start them immediately upon arrival.

Oh, another thing... I suspsect that the same must hold true for the Mock Orange as mine isn't fragrant either. Now, you didn't hear this from me, but you might want to go to any old cemetary and scout for fragrant mock oranges... they were obviously something planted back then and you can check out the fragrance before you snitch a cutting to take home and get started. Oh yeah, I'm ready to jerk mine up, too, for the same reason.

Glad that I saw your posting,

    Bookmark   April 1, 2006 at 10:59PM
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I am so sorry. I had a Japanese Mock Orange and the fragrance was lovely. Also, if you are ever strolling along in Charleston SC and smell a wonderful sweet smell, it is tea olive/sweet olive. I love it!

    Bookmark   April 12, 2007 at 11:33PM
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longriver(SF Bay Area)

It is about time for American gardeners to have real fragrant Osmanthus. Fudingzhu is just one out of over 100 cultivars from China where people have been cultivating in garden for over 2,000 years. One day one nursery might make a move to propagate this groups of plants including 4 season, silver, gold and red orange in coloration.

I have a gold one which has slightly reddish tone. It is called "Thousands of gold". The fragrance can be detected at gentle breeze of 50 feet away. blooming in late Sept to early Oct.

Two new excellent fragrant cultivars in very light cream color are: "Fragrant Heaven Pagoda" and "Angel Tossding Flowers".

    Bookmark   April 13, 2007 at 4:42AM
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I am so glad I read this thread! I found them at a nursery here this spring. I am totally re-landscaping a house I just bought and was planning on using them this fall. I didn't know that there were several different varieties. Thanks for the info! Does anyone know a source to get the newer cultivars?

    Bookmark   May 31, 2007 at 8:05PM
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kaihui(Z7 VA)

I feel sorry. The tea olive flowers that I had in China had very strong and nice frangrance. I bought 3 4 season ones in my local Home Depot this spring(I know they probably can't survive the winter here, but I bought them anyway because I miss that frangrance so much). Yes, they do have some fragrance, but much weaker. It si not even close to what I had in China.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2007 at 12:55AM
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Kai, if Osmanthus isn't hardy to your area in winter, you can always dig up and bring indoors..They do fine in a bright window. Keep on the cool side in the brightest light possible. Toni

    Bookmark   June 2, 2007 at 2:33PM
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snasxs(7-8 VA)

Carie, to put it simple, no.

Everyone can smell the scent of Osmanthus Fragrans. It strikes human noises powerfully.

The problems are:

1. Cultivar related issues. Some cultivars are truly not fragrant.

2. Environmental issues. Like most scent, it needs a little warmth to spread.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2009 at 5:54PM
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I have an old tea olive tree (mid Florida). It's just barely fragrant; can pruning/feeding/anything help change that?

    Bookmark   May 11, 2012 at 3:33PM
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It wouldn't hurt it.
Just make sure it's mulched real good, not up to the bark, but all around it. 2-3 inches of pine mulch.
It wouldn't hurt to put some Osmocote on it in the soil under the mulch and water real good.
Mabey it will bloom better in the fall.
I don't know the life span of tea olive, everything dies eventually, but try it and see what happens.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2012 at 5:50PM
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