Tea Olive

bamamandopickr(7a/b AL)May 16, 2005

I just planted a tea olive, but didn't allow MUCH room for expansion. I just saw a picture of one that was allowed to grow to 10 ft. Should I uproot and move to allow much more growth or leave it be. I bought the plant so I could enjoy the fragrance from my back patio. I'd appreciate any input.

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The osmanthus fragrans will grow upright and remain mostly narrow. (6-10 ft tall and 3 ft or so in diameter) The shrub is usually trimmed back alot and will continue to bloom. I would not move it...

    Bookmark   May 16, 2005 at 8:43PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Wait a minute. Let's find out how much room this plant has been given! Tea Olive, at least a healthy one, will get much larger than mom specified. They are just incorrectly stuffed into small spaces for some reason. Osmanthus fragrans is not a small plant and does not like to be chopped into that kind of behavior.

This plant will grow to 20 and more feet in the warmer climates, though colder temperatures will slow it down in your area. Is Tea Olive hardy in your area? I've seen many (young) plants that were 15' by half that. If you've allowed it to have the space alloted to a dwarf specimen of some kind, you many want to plan on moving it.

When doing your own research, avoid the nursery sites. They will cite an amazing mixture of information. You will never know which one is accurate. Look at an assortment of the university sites, as well.

Here is a link that might be useful: Tea Olive information

    Bookmark   May 16, 2005 at 10:38PM
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bamamandopickr(7a/b AL)

Well, after reading the info on this plant. I wonder if it will last. I am in zone 7b...the info says "hardy in zone 8-9" I could allow it to get 5 ft tall by 3 ft wide. Otherwise, it would look funny. I should have known to check the growth chart before putting it down. Thanks for the info, both of you.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2005 at 11:16PM
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LoraxDave(z7B Alabama)

Tea Olive will do fine in Zone 7B. Eventually a severe Winter may cause it to die back and/or lose its leaves, but most Winters they are fine. Mine have taken temps. below 10 degrees with no problems. The late growth in the Fall and early growth in the Spring tends to get zapped by freezes. They are well worth growing in zone 7B because of the fragrance even at some risk of eventual damage. Much like Gardenias!

    Bookmark   May 17, 2005 at 12:27AM
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I am always happy to yield to Dorie...she is the expert here.

But if it were mine, I would leave it.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2005 at 6:43AM
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WannaBGardener(8b & 4a)

Have had mine now for about ten years. It is planted at the corner of the deck in full sun. About two foot when we got it. It has grown to around 7 ft high and about three foot around. Has three trunks, and we keep lower limbs nipped.Blooms wonderfully, and is healthy. However, I have seen some in city gardens that are really large, so there must be different kinds of Tea Olives. Like Standard and Dwarf??

    Bookmark   May 17, 2005 at 8:41AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Someone in these forums said something like," you don't need anyone's permission to do what you like in your own garden." Meaning, YOU are the person who matters. Gather information, but you have to please yourself.

LoraxDave, since these plants bloom in the winter and early spring, don't the blooms get zapped by a cold spell?

This is one of those plants that always triggers the response," Is there ANYTHING that smells as good as a Tea Olive?"

    Bookmark   May 17, 2005 at 3:36PM
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It's important to know what species of tea olive you have if you hope to estimate its size at maturity with any accuracy. Zone 7 is fine for most tea olives so long as they are sheltered from freezing winds. Osmanthus heterophyllus (holly tea olive) grows about 10' high in most cases, but it can get much larger (and wider). And other species grow even larger, like O. fragrans -- about 15' high x 10' wide, and O. fortunei, also fragrant, which will quickly grow to be a robust 20' high x 15' wide if it is happy where it's planted. I grow the latter and it is already 10' tall after seven years. No one wants to discourage you from growing it -- tea olive is a wonderful plant -- but moving it now while it is young is relatively easy to do, and the plant will be happier if it's free to assume a normal habit and isn't stressed by frequent pruning (which will also inhibit flower production). Think about it. And see if you can come up with the label that tells what species it is.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2005 at 8:52PM
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bamamandopickr(7a/b AL)

Osmanthus Fragrans. I should have read on the label that it can grow up to 20-30 ft. I posted earlier that "I could allow it to get 5 ft tall by 3 ft wide". I believe it will be happy there.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2005 at 10:18PM
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LoraxDave(z7B Alabama)

Most of them have their heaviest bloom in the Fall around here, well before frost. I have one selection, 'Fudingzhu,' that blooms sporadically throughout the Winter and into early Spring, but it also blooms heaviest in the Fall.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2005 at 9:10PM
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bamamandopickr(7a/b AL)

I moved the tea olive this evening. It just didn't feel right to leave it where it was. It's new home has much more room for expansion and the frangrance can still be enjoyed from the patio. I'm glad I went ahead and moved it, while it's young. Thanks everybody, for the input.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2005 at 11:55PM
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I have planted tea olives out side my windows, are they easy to maintain to a height of 2-3 feet in order for them not to block the window

Here is a link that might be useful: Hernando County Real Estate

    Bookmark   August 7, 2007 at 10:59AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Since someone has revived this two year old thread, I can add something pertinent to the conversation! We were given a tea olive this past fall....not something that I would have chosen for our breezy, 6b-7a clay location! Much to my surprise it has done beautifully, barely being sizzled by that sudden freeze we had that wiped out so many plants. We didn't cover it, either.

Using tea olives in a location where they must be kept at 2-3 feet is a perfect example of poor plant selection. Sorry, real estate person. ;-(

    Bookmark   August 9, 2007 at 11:09AM
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I am planning on planting 2 Tea Olives next week. I have 2 spots for them around my deck.

1) An inner corner between the house & deck. this area has a planned 4-5' diameter area of room for growth and I would like to keep the plant to 10' high.

2) An outer deck corner. This area again has a planned 5' diameter of room, but I do not have a preference on its height.

Is this area ample room for a happy Tea Olive (Osmanthus Fragrans)?

Thank you

    Bookmark   August 31, 2007 at 1:21PM
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donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)

Yes, indeed 4 to 5 feet diameter should be ample room for them. Give them a little bit of pruning, shaping all along the way as they grow into the space.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2007 at 8:23AM
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I bought 3 tea olives a year and half ago and they haven't bloomed yet. They are about 4, 5, and 6 ft tall. What could be wrong?

    Bookmark   September 23, 2007 at 8:58PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

Give them time. Mine didn't bloom for two years. This is true for a lot of plants.
Of course, they need the right amount of light and water.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2007 at 8:55AM
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aeb4au(Montgomery, AL)

I LOVE my tea olive! I planted mine about 2 years ago and it doesn't bloom much yet either, but I still have hope.

Anyway - question about transplanting the tea olive - can you do that? Like I said, mine has been in the ground for about 2 years and is approximately 5 feet tall. I am redoing my backyard and want to move it. It will still get the same amount of sun in the new spot.

Thank you for your help!

    Bookmark   October 2, 2007 at 9:03PM
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aeb4au(Montgomery, AL)

Sorry! I didn't look closely enough - found my answer in another thread!

    Bookmark   October 2, 2007 at 10:14PM
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No soldbychris your real estate website was NOT helpful! I was expecting to see a picture of tea olives you planted.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2007 at 6:01PM
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Couple of questions. I recently bought a house with two tea olives in the front and 8 planted along the back deck. The previous owners evidently underestimated how tall these things can grow and they have become much to large for their areas. The two in the front have been there the longest, right now they are about 10 feet tall with and the top has been flattened out to keep it from growing taller than the start of the rooftop. They probably have a diameter of 4-5 feet. I need to prune the 2 in the front and want to do it right since they are more seen being in the front of the house. How should I do it, should I cut the real (45 degrees to the main trunk or so) lateral branches out and maybe take a few of the tall upright branches out and make this about a 3 year process so I don't hurt the plant or can these be rejuvenated but cutting them directly off at the ground? I would really like to cut them off at the ground, so I can control them over the next few years until it is needed again. Just need some suggestions before I go butcher things up. THanks

    Bookmark   February 3, 2008 at 9:23AM
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I have a Sweet Tea Olive planted in part shade . It is a scrawny tree in the shade but a prolific bloomer during cooler months .
Sweet Tea Olives prefer to be planted in acidic soil . I water mine with coffee and tea and mulch with pine compost .
They are SLOW growers but can become quite tall and wide if happy .
See the link for more scientific info and interesting facts .

Here is a link that might be useful: Osmanthus fragrans: Sweet Osmanthus

    Bookmark   November 28, 2008 at 2:57PM
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