Fortune's Osmanthus Osmanthus × fortunei

👤 Non-toxic to humans
🐾 Non-toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
Fortune's osmanthus


Osmanthus × fortunei, commonly known as the Fortune's Osmanthus or Sweet Olive, is an attractive evergreen plant that presents a lush, dense appearance, which makes it popular as a decorative shrub in gardens and landscapes. The leaves are leathery and typically a rich dark green, often with finely toothed edges, which add to the plant's textured look. The Fortune's Osmanthus is also celebrated for its pleasantly fragrant flowers. These blooms are usually small, white, and tubular, and they grow in clusters. Flowering typically occurs in autumn, filling the air with a delightful scent that is often described as akin to apricots or peaches. Once the flowering season concludes, the Sweet Olive may produce small, blue-black fruits that add a further point of interest. These berry-like fruits can attract birds and other wildlife, which find them to be a valuable food source. The overall shape and structure of the Fortune's Osmanthus can vary but it often takes on a broadly rounded form.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Fortune's Osmanthus, Fortune's Tea Olive, Fortune's Sweet Olive.

    • Common names

      Osmanthus aquifolium, Osmanthus aquifolium var. delavayi, Osmanthus aquifolium var. fortunei, Osmanthus fargesii, Osmanthus palustris.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      The common name for Osmanthus × fortunei is Fortunes Osmanthus. It is generally considered non-toxic to humans, and there is no widespread evidence of poisoning or serious health effects from ingesting this plant. However, as with any plant, individual allergies or sensitivities might exist and could potentially cause mild irritation or an allergic reaction.

    • To pets

      Fortunes Osmanthus is also considered non-toxic to pets such as dogs and cats. There is limited evidence to suggest any serious health consequences for pets that ingest parts of this plant. Nevertheless, pet owners should still exercise caution and prevent pets from consuming plants as a general safety measure, especially if the specific reaction of their pet to this plant is unknown.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      15-20 feet (4.5-6 m)

    • Spread

      6-8 feet (1.8-2.4 m)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area

      China Japan


  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Ornamental Value: Fortune's Osmanthus is appreciated for its lush, evergreen foliage and dense growth habit, making it an attractive addition to gardens and landscapes.
    • Fragrant Flowers: The plant produces clusters of small white flowers that are highly fragrant, adding a sweet scent to the area where it's planted.
    • Drought Tolerance: Once established, Fortune's Osmanthus shows a good level of drought tolerance, making it suitable for gardens in drier climates.
    • Privacy Screening: Due to its dense growth, it is commonly used as a hedge or privacy screen, providing seclusion and reducing noise.
    • Habitat Support: The plant supports local ecosystems by providing shelter and food sources for a variety of wildlife, including birds and beneficial insects.
    • Low Maintenance: Fortune's Osmanthus generally requires minimal care once established, making it a convenient choice for both novice and expert gardeners.
    • Variety in Landscaping: Available in a variety of forms, from shrubs to small trees, giving landscapers and gardeners options to integrate it into various design schemes.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    This plant is not used for medical purposes.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Fortunei Osmanthus can be used as a natural perfume due to its sweet and fragrant flowers, which are often described as having a scent reminiscent of peaches or apricots.
    • The plant's dense foliage makes it suitable for creating privacy screens or hedges in landscaping, providing both aesthetic appeal and functionality.
    • Fortunei Osmanthus is sometimes used in bonsai cultivation for its attractive leaves and the challenge it presents in shaping due to its slow growth habit.
    • The wood of Fortunei Osmanthus is hard and fine-grained, making it useful for crafting small wooden objects like handles, ornaments, and intricate carvings.
    • Its flowers can be used to infuse teas and liquors, imparting a unique fragrance and subtle flavor that complements many different blends.
    • The plant's leaves and flowers might be included in potpourri mixes for their long-lasting scent and decorative appearance.
    • Fortunei Osmanthus foliage can be used as a natural dye, yielding shades of green or yellow depending on the mordant used.
    • In some regions, the flowers are used to decorate traditional cakes or pastries, adding an elegant and aromatic touch to culinary presentations.
    • The plant can play a role in companion planting due to its strong fragrance, which is believed to deter certain pests from more vulnerable garden plants.
    • Fortunei Osmanthus can be planted near walkways or entrances to provide a pleasant aroma as people pass by, enhancing the sensory experience of a space.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Sweet Osmanthus is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Sweet Osmanthus is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Beauty: Osmanthus × fortunei, commonly known as Sweet Olive, is often associated with beauty due to its attractive foliage and fragrant blossoms.
    • Good Luck: In Chinese culture, the Sweet Olive is considered a symbol of good fortune, possibly due to the similarity between the word for 'osmanthus' and 'auspicious' in Chinese.
    • Romance: The intoxicating scent of Sweet Olive flowers is thought to be an aphrodisiac, hence it is associated with love and romance.
    • Peace: The Sweet Olive's delicate fragrance is said to have a calming effect, symbolizing peace and harmony.
    • Nobility: In Chinese tradition, the osmanthus is often tied to nobility and honor, likely because of its association with the well-kept gardens of the affluent.

Every 1-2 weeks
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 2-3 years
Spring-Early Summer
As needed
  • water dropWater

    Fortunei Osmanthus, also known as Sweet Olive, prefers consistent moisture without being waterlogged. Water young plants deeply once or twice a week, providing approximately 1 to 1.5 gallons per watering session, depending on the size and soil conditions. For established plants, water every two weeks with about 2 gallons if there is no significant rainfall. Mulching can help retain soil moisture, but be sure not to let the soil become soggy as this can lead to root rot.

  • sunLight

    Sweet Olive thrives in full sun to partial shade. It performs best when planted in a location that receives at least 4 to 6 hours of direct sunlight per day, though it can tolerate some light shade, especially in hot climates. Avoid deeply shaded areas as inadequate light can result in reduced flowering and a leggy growth habit.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Sweet Olive can endure a wide range of temperatures, but it thrives when the weather is between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. It can survive in temperatures as low as 10 degrees Fahrenheit, making it suitable for USDA hardiness zones 7 through 9. Protecting the plant from harsh winter winds can help prevent cold damage even when temperatures dip below the ideal range.

  • scissorsPruning

    Prune Sweet Olive to maintain its shape and remove any dead or diseased branches. Pruning is best done after the plant flowers in the spring, allowing time for new buds to form for the next flowering season. Thin out older branches every few years to encourage air circulation and new growth. Pruning too late in the season can remove next year's flower buds, reducing the bloom display.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    For "Sweet Olive" (Osmanthus × fortunei), the best soil mix is well-draining with good organic content, such as a blend of loam, peat, and perlite or sand. The ideal soil pH for Sweet Olive is slightly acidic to neutral, ranging from 6.0 to 7.5.

  • plantRepotting

    Sweet Olive should be repotted every two to three years or when it has outgrown its current pot. Choose a container slightly larger than the current one to allow for growth.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Sweet Olive thrives in moderate to high humidity levels, ideally between 40% and 60%. It benefits from regular misting if indoor air is dry.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      For Sweet Olive, ensure bright, indirect light and consistent moisture.

    • Outdoor

      Plant Sweet Olive in partial shade with well-draining soil and shelter from wind.

    • Hardiness zone

      7-9 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Osmanthus × fortunei, commonly known as Sweet Olive or Fortune's Osmanthus, begins its life cycle through sexual reproduction as seeds germinate in the soil after a period of stratification required to break dormancy. Seedlings emerge and establish a root system, gradually developing into juvenile plants with simple leaves. As the plant matures, it exhibits periods of active growth, producing evergreen foliage and, in the case of mature plants, fragrant small white flowers typically in the fall, attracting pollinators such as bees. Following pollination, the flowers develop into small, blue-black drupes (fruits), which contain seeds that may be dispersed by wildlife, allowing the cycle to begin anew. The plant enters a period of relative dormancy during colder months, although in milder climates it may retain its leaves year-round. With proper care, this slow-growing shrub or small tree can live many years, gradually reaching its mature size and shape.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring-Early Summer

    • The most popular method of propagation for Osmanthus × fortunei, commonly known as Fortune's Osmanthus or Sweet Olive, is through semi-hardwood cuttings. This is typically done during summer, from mid-July to early August. Start by selecting a healthy branch that has just begun to mature but is still somewhat flexible. Cut a section of stem that is 4 to 6 inches long, making sure that there are at least two or three sets of leaves on the cutting. Remove the leaves from the lower half of the stem to prevent moisture loss and potential rotting when planted. Dip the cut end into a rooting hormone powder to stimulate root growth. Finally, insert the cutting into a mix of moistened potting soil and perlite or sand to provide good drainage. Cover the pot with a plastic bag to retain humidity and place it in a warm, bright location out of direct sunlight until roots develop, which usually takes several weeks. Once the cuttings have rooted, gradually acclimate them to the environment outside of the plastic covering before transplanting them to individual pots or into the garden.