Return to the Tennessee Gardening Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
Tea olive in Knoxville are

Posted by red_bird 6b/7a (My Page) on
Fri, Apr 15, 11 at 21:41

Hi, all. I am considering planting a tea olive (osmanthus fragrans). It has been on my wish list ever since reading about it "A Southern Garden" many years ago. My question is two-fold: (1) Have you had success growing it? If so, any particular advice about growing conditions?(2) Are there any growing in the Knoxville area that I could drive or walk by? Many of the photos I've found are close-ups and it always helps me to see a plant actually in the ground, where I can see plant in it's entirety. Thanks.


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: Tea olive in Knoxville are

I'm not in Knoxville, but Nashville. We have had two fragrant tea olives for about 3 years in our yard. They are in full sun. The have done beautifully, probably trippled their original size when planting. Their blooms are so tiny you don't even notice them... but their scent is amazing! Sort of a lemon scent. We love them! Would love to have a couple more but can't seem to find any.


 o
RE: Tea olive in Knoxville are

Hi Red bird!

Have you actually smelled it? It is absolutely HEAVENLY!!! I've seen them for sale occasionally at the local Home Depots but they are considered marginally hardy here in Middle Tn. But you might have a warm microclimate somewhere on your property where it'll thrive.


 o
RE: Tea olive in Knoxville are

Thanks for the replies. StacyLea, which months of the year do yours' bloom? Heather, I haven't smelled them - I've only read about the wonderful smell!


 o
RE: Tea olive in Knoxville are

You can come to my house if u want. Mine is about 4 ft tall and does great. Sometimes a few leaves will burn in winter, but it always does well. As for the hardiness, it may have been considered marginal 30 years ago. With winter minimums up 10 degrees, there is no problem. When the new USDA map finally comes out (6 years late as we speak), I guess people will listen to me;)


 o
RE: Tea olive in Knoxville are

red bird, I honestly can't say when it blooms... except that it is currently in bloom.

As you probably know, the blooms are so tiny that you don't really notice them. It is only when you walk by and that wonderful fragrance catches your attention that you realize it is in bloom.

It seems like it must bloom a few times a year, but since it's not in an area of the yard that I visit very often, I can't say for sure.


 o
RE: Tea olive in Knoxville are

Some cultivars are hardier than others. Many are listed as hardy only to zone 8. Knoxville is officially zone 6, so if you add 10 degrees F to that, you arrive at an effective zone 7. Actually some parts of Knoxville are effectively low zone 8 now, but many areas (and especially outlying areas) are effective zone 7. So, in my book, this species is marginally hardy here, although much easier to grow than it would have been a few decades back, and, with cultivars that are hardier than the species. I think most of us could grow this, but if I were siting it, I'd site it in a warmer part of my yard.


 o
RE: Tea olive in Knoxville are

Brandon, I think heterophylla is the species hardy to low zone 7. I *think* that the one that I have is this species. There is a small tree of this species at the UT trial gardens. I bought mine at Home Depot several years back from what I think was locally grown. It has proven very hardy and is doing quite well.


 o
RE: Tea olive in Knoxville are

Yep, Osmanthus heterophyllus (much more common around here) is hardy completely down through zone 7, and is often listed as hardy down to somewhere in zone 6 (plain 6 or 6b). It should be a safe bet (at least so far as low temperatures go) planted just about anywhere here.


 o
RE: Tea olive in Knoxville are

Thank you for the additional info. on tea olives. The comments on zone are also appreciated. Myrtle Oak, thanks for the offer to let me see your's. I will email you directly about directions.


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Tennessee Gardening Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here