Posted by John Minton | Posted in Osmanthus | Posted on 05-10-2013
Osmanthus Fragrans, commonly known as Sweet Olive, is an evergreen shrub or small tree. Osmanthus Fragrans naturally grows up to 30 feet tall, but will remain in a smaller shrub size if grown in a container. This is one of the most amazing scented plants I grow. I enjoy it even more so than varieties of Privet or Lilac as Osmanthus Fragrans flowers last for months at a time, they are less allergenic and heavily blooms at a different time of the year than many of the plants I grow. The Osmanthus Fragrans flowers smell like a combination of perfectly ripe mouth watering peaches, apricots and vanilla. Just amazingly mouth watering and sweet.
The flowers can range in color from white to yellow to orange, sometimes even on the same bush. The flowers of Osmanthus Fragrans grow in small clusters starting in Summer and lasting through Fall – even into Winter.
Osmanthus Fragrans is primarily grown by individuals as an ornamental plant for its fragrant flowers. Alternatively, the fresh and dried flowers are used to make a variety of foods including sweet sauces, teas, cakes, as flavoring and in alcohols. Osmanthus Fragrans Tea is the easiest and probably the most common use of this plant today aside from jam like sauces made from the flowers.
Osmanthus Fragrans is pretty easy to grow, tolerates freezing and even snow. It likes full sun to part shade, can tolerate a little drought but likes regular water.
Osmanthus Fragrans fruit is a purple-black drupe containing a single hard-shelled seed. It is ripe mid Spring about six months after flowering and is edible! Some cultures preserve the unripe fruit in a brine similar to preserving Olives. I have yet to experiment with the fruits myself.