|Osmanthus subsp. var.|
|Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture|
Osmanthus (Greek, fragrant flower). Oleaceae. Ornamental woody plants grown for their handsome foliage and the white fragrant flowers.
Evergreen shrubs or small trees: Lvs. usually opposite, short-petioled, entire or serrate: fls. axillary or terminal, in cymes or short panicles, perfect, polygamous or dioecious; calyx short, 4-toothed; corolla short-tubular, with 4 imbricate lobes; stamens 2, rarely 4; ovary 2-celled: fr. an ovoid drupe with a 1-seeded stone.— About 10 species in E. and S. Asia; and Polynesia, and 1 in N. Amer. Sometimes united with Olea which differs chiefly in its valvate corolla-lobes.
The osmanthuses in cultivation are handsome shrubs with coriaceous rather large leaves and small white very fragrant flowers in axillary clusters followed in the fertile plants by ovoid bluish drupes but rarely produced in cultivation. The hardiest species is O. Aquifolium which is hardy in sheltered positions as far north as New York and possibly to Massachusetts. All the others are tenderer and can be grown only in the South and in California. In the North, O. fragrans is frequently grown as a greenhouse plant for its very fragrant flowers. It is of the easiest culture in an intermediate temperature. It is almost a continuous bloomer, although ordinarily it should be rested in late winter or summer in order to ripen the wood for fall and winter bloom. Be careful not to overpot, and keep the plant free from mealy-bug. Out-of-doors all the species prefer a place shaded from the mid-day sun. Propagation is usually by cuttings of half-ripened wood in late summer under glass; seeds are rarely obtainable and do not germinate until the second year; grafting on privet, as is sometimes done, is not to be recommended.
Greenhouse treatment of the Olea fragrans of gardens.— This fragrant plant can be grown in a cool house, one that has a night temperature of 45° to 50° in the winter months. The plants should be grown just as cool as possible in the summer months, and allowed to come into flower in their natural way, as they do not take kindly to any kind of forcing. About the first of June, they may be plunged outside in a partially shaded situation where they can be watered and syringed. By September, they may be placed in a cool and airy house where, by receiving care as to watering and ventilation, they will show bloom late in autumn or early winter. When they are through flowering, they may be repotted, using a compost of fibrous soil four parts, well-decayed cow manure one part, leaf-mold one part, and enough of sand to keep it porous.—They will root from ripened points of the young growth placed in sand in a warm propagating-bed. When rooted, they may be potted off into small pots, and grown on in a temperature of 50° to 55°, giving them shade and moisture until they become well established. Give repeated shifts as they fill the pots until they have reached a 7- or 8-inch pot. They may be kept for some time in good vigor by top-dressings and with liquid manure in these pots. When using the compost for these large pots, let the mixture be as lumpy as possible. Do not overlook the importance of giving them plenty of drainage as they will not tolerate anything like a stagnant compost. If the aphis bothers, give light fumigations for two or three nights. When scale shows itself, give a thorough sponging with some good insecticide.
O. armatus. Diels. Allied to O. fragrans. Shrub: Lvs, oblong- lanceolate to lanceolate, remotely spiny-toothed, 3-4 in. long: fls. in axillary clusters, on stout pedicels scarcely ¼in. long. Cent, and W. China.—O. buxifolia, Hort., is probably Olea capensis, Linn., a shrub from S. Afr—O. Fortunei, Carr. (O. japonicus, Makino). Probably hybrid of O. Aquifolium and O. fragrans. Lvs. elliptic ovate to oblong-ovate, with few spiny teeth or many small teeth. 3-4 in. long: sepals denticulate. R.H. 1864, p. 70. G.C. II. 6:689; 7:239. Gt. 28, p. 277.—O. latifolia and O. ligustrilifolia. of the trade are probably phillyreas.
Pests and diseases
- Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture, by L. H. Bailey, MacMillan Co., 1963
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