01 November 2017

Garden Plant of the Month for November: Osmanthus

Garden Plant of the Month for November: Osmanthus

Osmanthus is a holly-like shrub with leathery, sharp leaves and small white scented flowers. This plant has various cultivars which all differ in terms of leaf colour. It is an evergreen shrub which is also very suitable for topiary or hedging.

Osmanthus is a genus of 30 species from the Oleaceae family, which also includes the olive. They are an evergreen shrub which is very hardy, originally from China, Japan and the Himalayas. They grow relatively slowly, making them easy to look after. The shrub requires little pruning and remains compact, which is ideal for on the balcony and patio. Osmanthus x burkwoodii is a hybrid of two holly-like plants. The plant has beautifully scented white flowers and is a real enhancement on the patio. Other Osmanthus species are particularly attractive because of their leaf markings and colour, and can therefore still be used effectively in the garden in November. The fact that the leaves resemble holly means we often associate the shrub with the festive period. Osmanthus heterophyllus comes in a number of cultivars, of which the best-known are 'Tricolor' and 'Variegatus' and 'Goshiki'. Its origin and appearance mean that the plant works well in Japanese and Oriental gardens combined with other garden plants from those regions such as Skimmia and Pieris.