O. Fragrance has no fragrance

kaihui(Z7 VA)December 7, 2007

Bought 6 O. fragrance in past 3 years, and none of them gave me the fragrance that I had in China. Not even close. I used to think the culrtivars in the states were not right, but now I am changing my mind.

Bought 2 Fudingzhu from Nursery Caroliniana 1.5 months ago. The moment I opened the package, I swelled the fragrance I missed so much. It was heavenly. I was sure that's the one I had been looking for years. Now, they bloom again. One has absolutely no fragrance, and another one has very weak fragrance.

What is going on? some fertilizer? I am using miracle grow potting mix. They are indoor (69 F) with lots of Sun. I spray them couple of times a day to keep the moisture. Only water them when the soil is dry (about every 10 days).

I bet the climate makes difference.


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snasxs(7-8 VA)

It may have something to do with the strength of the plants.

Which region of China are you from? I remember I visited Nanjing in a fall, 10 years ago. I could never forget the honey fragrance in the air. It's like everywhere for miles and miles.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2007 at 6:16PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Some other kinds of flowers have less smell indoors, the lower humidity in ordinary living room conditions apparently interfering. Maybe that is your problem, the same plants opening their flowers outdoors being more fragrant.

Note correct spelling, if you need it is Osmanthus fragrans.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2007 at 2:04PM
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kaihui(Z7 VA)

My home town is Wuhan, not too far from Nanjing, also on the Long River.

Yes, the fragrance of O. Fragrans(thanks for the spelling) is really nice.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2007 at 10:59PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Seems to be a favorite, many posts about it here.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2007 at 7:23PM
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snasxs(7-8 VA)


Ahhh, for those who don't know: Wuhan is known to be uncomfortably hot and humid in the summer. The city has a nick - the "Big Oven". I also suspect the temperature drops sharply at night in late summer and early fall. Such environment may contribute to better blooms in the fall. Well, it is just me guessing ...

    Bookmark   December 15, 2007 at 8:08PM
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Just got back from a stay in the city of Guilin, in Southwest China. The name means Osmanthus forest. The immortals (Taoist gods) are supposed to have blessed this most beautiful landscape with thousands of fragrant osmanthus trees from heaven. (They are also grown in large nurseries on the outskirts of the town for the ornamental plant trade.)

The landscape of Guilin is indeed otherworldly. It is a "karst" landscape of almost 20,000 fantastic perpendicular limestone formations, formed when the entire valley was under the sea, and such as you see in classic Chinese paintings. The climate is moderate to subtropical. Ideal fro pumelos and tangerines. It is wet in spring and dry in summer, autumn, and winter. There is a significant temperature drop at night in autumn and winter and a lot of mist in the mornings due to condensation. The soil is also thin and infertile.

Our guide told me there are 3 kinds of osmanthus in Guilin, gold, silver, and three seasons. I have to say that the ones I saw in Guilin were not much better looking than my rather neglected one that lives in a pot, since they were in the midst of a draught. In Guilin they bloom most abundantly in the Spring, though some bloom all year if there is sufficient rain. It must be truly heavenly there in the springtime. I bought some dried flowers to add to oolong tea as they do over there.

Many years ago, I used to have an Osmanthus plant that was very fragrant and floriferous.

I have not found the the ones I have had in recent years to be either very fragrant or very floriferous and I thought perhaps my nose had become less sensitive.

Since returning from China, I am going to administer some lime and magnesium to mine and see if that will make a difference. They say you don't need to fertilize them much, but I think in the old days I did used to fertilize them with dilute fertilizer with every watering. I no longer do this, for some reason, perhaps because of timed release fertilizers. So when the days get longer I will try again.

When we lived in North Carolina (zone 8) there were autumn-blooming hybrid osmanthuses (not fragrans) planted at the corners of all the university buildings. They smelled divine. The soil in Chapel Hill is acid or neutral (I think). These plants were kept watered and cared for and were full and vigorous. They smelled wonderful in October.

Here is a link that might be useful: Guilin, Guangxi Autonomous Province

    Bookmark   December 16, 2007 at 3:52PM
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snasxs(7-8 VA)

Hey Monarda,

Guilin is way South of Nanjing. It's like Charleston to Chapel Hill. Anyways, I know a little insider information, perhaps ;-) I think most of the Osmanthus are grafted on the root-stocks of the Chinese Fringe trees. It is said that the Fringe trees have better roots.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2007 at 8:43PM
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That above link doesn't seem to work. Trying again with another one.

Someday I will learn to post pictures properly.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   December 17, 2007 at 12:06PM
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forever_a_newbie(z7/8 VA)

Hi Monarda:
I'm from Guilin. If I remember correctly autumn is the prime time for sweet olives in my hometown. Yes we are at the south of the country, much more south than NanJin. But we still have quite cold winters, maybe not that cold.

The picture you showed above is a typical landscape of Guilin. Now I feel home sick

    Bookmark   December 20, 2007 at 7:17PM
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Xtal(z8b Temple. TX)

Crashed - grrrr. Let's try this again.

I, too, have several O.Fragrans that don't appear to be fragrant. Mine are over 3' tall now and took rooted to pull up. Besides, I wouldn't want to, just in case that when they start blooming that they are fragrant.

Background: When I took my Master Gardener class 2 years ago, I asked about the 4 O. Fragrans that I have. They had started blooming and I was starting to get concerned. I asked about their fragrance. The instructor that day (from the best horicultural college we have here in Texas - Texas A&M), said that there is ONE variety that is NOT fragrant. It made me so mad that I wanted to come home and rip them up. Of course, you know they take a VERY long time to grow. So, I decided to wait and see... I just saw some blooms on one, but couldn't smell a thing. I'm wondering... shouldn't it have been detectable or does it take a profussion of blooms?

I'll leave them, but I'm not happy. LIke you, I have ordered one, O. Fudingzhu, from Nurcar, just before you did. But, I haven't seen any blooms or smelled the fragrance yet. Looks like we might both be frustrated. Oh well, at least, we have the guaranteed one from Nurcar.


    Bookmark   December 26, 2007 at 12:04PM
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longriver(SF Bay Area)

In recent years I am very much so interested in collecting Os. cultivars from China. I want to share with you a propagation technic, not a new idea but working. I usually use some small young branches for rooting. Some will take and some would not make. I have a 8 feet 'Wan-Dian-Jin' tree on ground. In May or June I made a few air layering on about 1/4 to 1/3 inch in diameter branches by exposing the bark and covering it with moist peat, alum. foil. Due to my area weather that is cool in the evenning, even in the summer. The well callus tissue would not produce fiberous roots. Then In september I cut off the callus branches and keep then in a 5 gal plastic pot. I used all mist pertile as the rooting media. The total is enclosed with a tall kitchen trash bag. I keep it in my green house and forget it about. I just opened the bag and each branch is well alive and anchored with new roots. I like this easy and simple method to produce larger plant stock.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2007 at 5:04PM
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kaihui(Z7 VA)

I am reporting back how my Fudingzhu do.

Loads of flowers, but still no fragrance. They had wonderful fragrance that I'd die for when I opened the package 2.5 months ago. Just can't figure it out.


    Bookmark   January 13, 2008 at 12:04AM
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snasxs(7-8 VA)

It looks good though, lol. Are they blooming 2.5 months ago? They are blooming now? Interesting. Is this an every blooming type :-) Anyways, I never have these. But I guess fertilizer helps. It may be that you need a balanced formula. My gardenia, on the other hand, has opened shortly after new year. It produces strong fragrance.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2008 at 7:30AM
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longriver(SF Bay Area)

That is strange. Kaihui, can you keep a small branch flowers in a vase in room temperature for overnight. See what will be.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 7:33AM
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kaihui(Z7 VA)

I don't quite understand what you meant. The plants were indoor with about 4-6 hrs Sunlight. The temperature was set to 69F through the winter.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2008 at 11:17AM
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yellowthumb(5a Ontario)

You will smell it in sunny and warm days. Mine is doing the same thing. Someday I can't smell a thing, it's all about the weather condition.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2008 at 8:50PM
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