Sweet Olive

Sweet Olive

Osmanthus fragrans

Also know as tea olive and fragrant olive. The plant blooms are very small but offer a very nice fragrance. It can bloom off and on from fall until spring. If the winter is cold, it will die back and then return and bloom again in the spring.

The sweet olive is evergreen with pretty leaves. Our tree is 10′ tall. In the best climate, it can reach 20-30 feet.

This is a close up of the tiny blooms:

Tiny blooms of the sweet olive

Tiny blooms of the sweet olive

Here is a gallery of pictures of the sweet olive (including one of our tree).

The SFGate HomeGuides website offers this advice a out care for the plant:

Water regularly in the first year after planting. Wait until the top 3 inches of soil dry out before watering again.

In its second year of growth, fertilize the sweet olive in early spring, before it flowers. An all-purpose dry fertilizer works well for sweet olives. Follow package directions for how much to use per shrub, and spread the fertilizer in a circle around the base of the shrub to a depth of at least 4 inches.

Prune trees after flowering if you want to neaten their shape or control height and width. Remove no more than one-third of each branch. Make an exception to this rule for branches you wish to remove altogether, such as those crowding other branches.

Other sites with useful information about the sweet olive are:

The Wikipedia article offers the following interesting tidbit about the use of this plant for food:

In Chinese, the plant is called xī or guìhuā, and its flowers, called guì huā (literally “cinnamon flower” or “cassia flower”) are used, infused with green or black tea leaves, to create a scented tea called guì huā chá.

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