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Tea Olive – Fall Fragrance
Clark MacCallister
One of my absolute favorite fall-flowering plants is the Fragrant Tea Olive, or Osmanthus fragrans. Given its name, you’d be right to assume this plant’s flowers give off a beautiful smell. Some liken it to a sweet perfume, and it is wonderful to encounter in the fall garden. Fragrant Tea Olive is a large, evergreen shrub that can reach 20 to 30 feet wide and tall at maturity, but they are usually shorter in our part of the state. I often see them planted by landscapers much too close to a home’s foundation or near the house, which can often cause headaches to those tasked with pruning. It can be planted to soften a corner of a home, but make sure to plant far away from the house and give plenty of room to spread. Fragrant Tea Olive is best used as a background plant or as an evergreen border. They prefer sites with part sun.