Appreciation: Osmanthus as excellent evergreen shrub

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gardening in the Pacific Northwest' started by janetdoyle, Mar 22, 2011.

  1. janetdoyle

    janetdoyle Active Member 10 Years

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    For those who want a deer-proof [seems totally deer-proof] evergreen, attractive and blooming shrub, I'd like to report I am very glad I planted Osmanthus burkwoodii 2 or 3 years ago, and I have just picked up Osmanthus delavayi to plant shortly. The first Osmanthus has never yellowed or shown problem leaves, never a single one, has grown slowly but steadily, has bloomed in the spring with tiny scented flowers, withstood the recently tougher Victoria winters just fine in a rather exposed position, turned away all deer depredations, and now is growing a bit faster with long reaching branches upward [and I assume I can prune it]. The Osmanthus delavayi promises to be a bit more compact and spraying outward and downward, according to the photos on the label and the Web, with maybe slightly larger showier flowers. The first one loves a sunny spot at the front of my townhouse front garden [not sunny until about 10:30 or 11 am, but sunny all day afterwards], and seems to like the slightly clay-ey soil I amended before planting with mulch and peat. Both types are now in stock at my nearby plant nursery... Sometime I'll post a photo...
     
  2. elgordo

    elgordo Active Member

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    I love any plant that offers sweet blooms in the early spring. Makes it seem like soon winter will be over.
     
  3. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Do they smell anything like O. fragans? Its scent is simply wonderful. Have you tried growing it?
     
  4. janetdoyle

    janetdoyle Active Member 10 Years

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    No, I have not tried it -- that will be the next one! I may have to order it from a mail-order supplier if I can't find it locally. Since the shrub is located at the windy front area of my front townhouse garden, I have not caught a whiff of it yet this year, the 'burkwoodii' there is just coming into bud so I can't tell yet. The scent was lightly sweet but not overwhelming, as I remember it last year. I'll try to describe it when I make the effort to get a whiff soon... the 'delavayi' is a little further in bud, is in a pot until I can get it planted, and I don't think it's developed its scent yet... a vague sweetness about it I noticed as I brought it home.
     
  5. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Leaves damaged by colder winters down here. Probably more fragrant than O. fragrans, scent is strong and rich.
     
  6. Eric La Fountaine

    Eric La Fountaine Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    In my experience, O. fragans is a more intoxicating fragrance, but the others are very nice. I think O. fragans will need a sheltered spot here although listed as a Zone 8 plant. I have not seen it growing anywhere locally. I am familiar with it from the South in the US. I see it has been tried twice at UBCBG--one accession never left the nursery and one did not make it past it's first winter. Maybe an indoor plant here, or a vigorous cultivar in a sheltered spot.
     
  7. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Sadly, I've had no luck with it indoors.
     
  8. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Osmanthus fragrans used in mass plantings on sunny sites boxed in by buildings at University of Washington had complete loss of leaves from most recent growths when last seen my me, perhaps a year ago. Leafless slender stems above intact foliage of two year old growth gave appearance of the shrubs having quills or antennae. Since anther hot climate shrub, Euonymus japonicus is said to have Pseudomonas when displaying same/similar phenomenon, the osmanthus (and 'Little Gem' magnolia) seem likely to have been so infested also.

    At this time many 'Little Gem' in my area also have more or less total burning of the rest of the leaves. The poor weather during the growing season last year followed by an early Arctic blast was probably ideal for such damage to shrubs and trees used to hot summer climates. Being cooler even in good growing seasons than here the Lower Mainland seems more likely to produce bum results with such subjects on most sites.
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2011
  9. janetdoyle

    janetdoyle Active Member 10 Years

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    I guess I was just plain lucky -- so far. The portion of the garden my burkwoodii Osmanthus is in is much better drained than the rest of it, for some reason that corner drains off promptly and the soil never seems waterlogged. There is also a large decorative Japanese cedar [exact name escapes me at the moment, one of those trees with fan-like foliage in groups of rounded mounds] nearby as well as a very hardy rhododendron which may shield it from some of the winds.
     
  10. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Burkwood osmanthus is one of those broad-leaved evergreens that holds up better than many other kinds during killer winters here. But as I remember it one of the few common broad-leaved evergreens of some height that had pretty much NO damage in my area after the 1990 winter (other than hardy rhododendrons etc.) was hollyleaf osmanthus.
     
  11. rhodogal

    rhodogal Active Member

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    I love these shrubs. I have three, two who moved well during renovations, now planted in a north facing garden but protected from the winter winds by a building. The other is in a large pot on our front porch so the fragrance can be enjoyed by all that use this entrance way.
     
  12. neda61

    neda61 Member

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    I have a question..
    Is Osmanthus delavayi an expensive plant to be used as a hedge? I have no idea about the pricing, and where to get that.. any idea?
     
  13. janetdoyle

    janetdoyle Active Member 10 Years

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    I found it for sale in Victoria in several outlets a few years ago, and saw it in a garden centre here too last year. It is very sturdy, evergreen, and impervious to deer, and wants to grow grow grow... would make an interesting hedge, I think, but I don't know... could be pruned to shape but might be always sprouting, too... I don't remember the price... ask around at your garden centres.
     

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