Osmanthus - Osmanthus fragrans - OSmanthus fragrans

Osmanthus - Osmanthus fragrans - OSmanthus fragrans

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The name of these shrubs is not very well known, and also their appearance is not too particular, they are confused with other more common evergreen garden shrubs; but they have a particularity that should push every garden owner, even if small, to put one of them at home immediately: in autumn they produce many small flowers with an unmistakable, intense and really excellent perfume; whoever has had the good fortune to feel even once the scent of osmanthus, in particular osmanthus fragrans, knows that it is such an intense and pleasant aroma that anyone would want it in the garden.

The plant

It is a small shrub, fairly slow growing, evergreen, with nice oval foliage, fairly compact and rounded growth habit. It does not require special care, and is in fact used as a border or hedge plant; in the garden, over the years, it can easily reach 2-3 meters in height.
It prefers fairly bright, sunny or semi-shady locations; it is a rustic plant, which does not fear the cold and bears frost well enough.
The plants of osmanthus they do not like the excesses of watering, even if it is good to water the plants that have recently settled in the summer, to allow the development of a good root system.
The flowers bloom in autumn, are very small, white or cream, and are produced on old wood, at the leaf axil; for this reason it is convenient to avoid pruning the osmanthus, otherwise we will remove most of the future flowers with the branches, thus losing much of the pleasure of having a osmanthus in the garden.
The fairly slow growth allows us to grow plants even in pots, on a terrace, using a large container anyway, and good universal soil, preferably slightly acid.

Pests and diseases

Osmanthus plants are rustic and do not fear the attack of pests excessively; if they are grown in very humid areas they can be subject to radical rottenness and an excess of limestone in the soil can favor the occurrence of ferric chlorosis. Generally, if well cultivated and fertilized, osmanthus tend not to get sick.
It can happen that the foliage is attacked by the cochineal, but only in case of particularly hot and dry climate.

Some species of osmanthus

The most commonly used variety in the garden is the osmanthus fragrans, also known by the now obsolete synonym of olea fragrans; there is also a variety of osmanthus fragrans with orange flowers, particularly fragrant.
There are some other species, all evergreen and all with autumn flowering, with intensely perfumed flowers.
Osmanthus delavaii produces candid, very showy flowers; osmanthus armatus has thorny foliage.
There are also hybrids and cultivars, with variegated foliage, or slightly pinkish flowers.

Osmanthus - Osmanthus fragrans: The scent of osmanthus

The scent of small osmanthus flowers is delicate but very intense, reminiscent of the aroma of a freshly baked cake; in autumn this fragrance stands out particularly in the garden, also because generally in this season the few flowers are present in nature.
From this flower an ancient perfumed oil was obtained, very valuable; nowadays unfortunately the use of osmanthus scent is forgotten, there is only a scented tea with osmanthus, but difficult to find on the market.