Goshiki False Holly Osmanthus heterophyllus 'Goshiki' (v)

👤 Non-toxic to humans
🐾 Toxic to pets
🌸 Not blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
holly olive 'Goshiki'


The Goshiki false holly is an ornamental shrub known for its striking foliage. The leaves are the most notable feature, with a holly-like appearance, characterized by spiny edges similar to that of a holly bush. Each leaf is uniquely variegated with a mix of colors – primarily cream, pink, orange, yellow, and green. This multicolored effect earns it the name 'Goshiki', which means 'five colors' in Japanese. As the leaves mature, their colors become more subtle and can develop into a marbled green and creamy white pattern, giving them a speckled appearance. The overall look of the Goshiki false holly is dense and rounded, contributing to its popularity as both a specimen plant and for use in hedges. In addition to its striking foliage, this plant produces small white, fragrant flowers that are somewhat inconspicuous but add to its charm during the blooming season. The visual appeal of this shrub makes it a favorite for adding splashes of color to gardens without overwhelming them with bright flowers.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Goshiki False Holly, Variegated False Holly, Goshiki Osmanthus, Goshiki Holly Olive.

    • Common names

      Osmanthus heterophyllus f. goshiki, Osmanthus heterophyllus var. goshiki.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      The plant commonly known as holly olive or false holly is not typically considered toxic to humans. There is limited information about the toxicity of Osmanthus heterophyllus 'Goshiki' to humans, and it is not typically listed as a poisonous plant. However, as with many ornamental plants, it is generally advised not to ingest any parts of the plant, as they are not intended for human consumption and could potentially cause mild stomach upset if eaten in quantity. If accidental ingestion occurs and any adverse reactions are observed, medical attention should be sought.

    • To pets

      Holly olive or false holly is not commonly listed as a toxic plant to pets. However, as with humans, the ingestion of plant parts is not recommended. While there is limited specific information on the toxicity of Osmanthus heterophyllus 'Goshiki' to pets, it is always best to prevent pets from ingesting the plant as a precaution. Ingestion of ornamental plants can sometimes lead to gastrointestinal upset in pets such as vomiting or diarrhea. If your pet shows any signs of illness after ingesting this plant, it is wise to consult a veterinarian.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      6-10 feet (1.8-3 m)

    • Spread

      4-6 feet (1.2-1.8 m)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Aesthetic Appeal: Osmanthus 'Goshiki' adds visual interest to gardens with its variegated foliage of cream, pink, orange, and green.
    • Year-Round Interest: This evergreen shrub offers year-round color and structure to the garden.
    • Low Maintenance: It requires minimal care once established, making it ideal for busy gardeners.
    • Drought Tolerance: Once established, it has a good resistance to drought, reducing the need for regular watering.
    • Wildlife Habitat: Provides shelter and sometimes food for various insects and birds.
    • Versatility: Can be used in a variety of landscape settings, including borders, hedges, and containers.
    • Compact Size: Reaching only 3-4 feet, it is suitable for small gardens or limited spaces.

  • 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

    • Goshiki can be used as a natural dye, producing subtle hues that can be used in textile arts.
    • In floral arrangements, the foliage of Goshiki provides a variegated texture and color contrast.
    • As an artistic muse, painters and photographers often utilize Goshiki's intricate patterns and colors in their works.
    • In pottery and ceramics, impressions or motifs of Goshiki leaves can be used for decorative effects.
    • While not commonly eaten, in some cultures, the flowers may be used as a flavoring agent in specialty desserts or teas.
    • Goshiki branches can be used in woodworking or marquetry for decorative inlays due to their distinctive coloration.
    • It can be planted as part of wildlife gardens to attract birds, which find the dense foliage a good shelter.
    • In perfumery, although not common, the scent of Goshiki flowers could potentially be used to produce unique, fragrant compounds.
    • The plant's resistance to deer browsing makes it a strategic option for gardeners dealing with wildlife encroachment.
    • Goshiki can be utilized in bonsai art, taking advantage of its slow growth and dense foliage for miniature landscapes.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The False Holly is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The False Holly is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Peace: The delicate fragrance of Osmanthus is often associated with peace and serenity, bringing a calm atmosphere to gardens and spaces where it is planted.
    • Love and Romance: In Chinese culture, Osmanthus is connected to the moon and is often used in festivals celebrating love and marital bliss, symbolizing romantic attachment.
    • Nobility: Due to its intoxicating scent and association with pleasant environments, Osmanthus can represent elegance and nobility, being a prized plant in many noble gardens.
    • Good Luck: In some East Asian traditions, Osmanthus is considered a plant that brings good fortune and is often given as a gift to wish someone luck.
    • Fertility: The abundant blooming of Osmanthus, which produces a profusion of flowers, can be symbolic of fertility and the bountifulness of nature.

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

    The False Holly should be watered thoroughly, allowing the water to sink deep into the root zone; aim for a depth of around 8 inches. Watering should ideally be done when the top 2 inches of soil become dry, which typically means once a week. Adjust the frequency to account for rainfall and seasonal temperature changes; during dry spells or hot summer weeks, you might need to water twice a week. As a guideline, each watering session should involve approximately 1 to 1.5 gallons for small to medium-sized plants, ensuring even soil moisture without waterlogging.

  • sunLight

    False Holly thrives best in full sun to partial shade. It prefers a spot that receives at least 4 to 6 hours of direct sunlight but is also sheltered from the harsh afternoon sun, especially in hotter climates. Dappled sunlight provided by a canopy of taller trees or a position that gets morning sun and afternoon shade could be ideal.

  • thermometerTemperature

    False Holly can tolerate a wide range of temperatures but grows best when the temperature is between 60°F and 80°F. It is hardy and can survive in temperatures as low as 10°F but should be protected from extreme cold and frost. Ideal temperature conditions allow this plant to thrive and maintain healthy foliage.

  • scissorsPruning

    Pruning the False Holly helps maintain its shape, encourage new growth, and remove any dead or damaged branches. It is best done in the early spring before new growth starts. Pruning can be done annually or as needed to keep the plant at a desired size and to promote a more dense, bushy appearance.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    The False Holly prefers well-draining soil with a mix of loam, peat, and sharp sand to ensure adequate drainage and aeration. The soil pH should be slightly acidic to neutral, ranging from 6.0 to 7.5. A balanced soil medium promotes healthy root development and foliage growth in 'Goshiki'.

  • plantRepotting

    False Holly should be repotted every 2 to 3 years. It's best to repot in the spring before new growth begins. As 'Goshiki' is a slow grower, frequent repotting is not necessary unless the plant has outgrown its current pot or the soil has degraded.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    False Holly thrives in moderate humidity levels. Aim for a humidity level between 40% to 60%, which will support its growth without causing issues commonly associated with high humidity, such as leaf fungus or root rot.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Place in bright, indirect light and water when topsoil feels dry.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in partial shade, shelter from extreme cold and winds.

    • Hardiness zone

      7-9 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    The False Holly (Osmanthus heterophyllus 'Goshiki') begins its life cycle as a seed, falling from the parent plant into the soil where it germinates when conditions of moisture and temperature are suitable. As a seedling, it develops its root system and puts out its first leaves following a period of growth. The young plant, or juvenile phase, is characterized by rapid vegetative growth, developing a sturdy stem and multiple leaves; this variably variegated shrub may take several years to mature. Upon reaching maturity, the False Holly produces small, white, fragrant flowers in the fall, which are attractive to bees and other pollinators. After pollination, the flowers develop into small, blue-black, berry-like fruits, which are distributed by birds and other wildlife, thereby dispersing the seeds for the next generation. Over time, the mature plant may experience senescence, with growth slowing and productivity diminishing until the plant eventually dies, completing its life cycle.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Early Spring

    • Propogation: The most popular method of propagation for Goshiki false holly is by semi-hardwood cuttings. This typically takes place in mid-summer to early fall. To propagate, one should select healthy stems that are not too woody yet not too green and cut a section about 4 to 6 inches long, making sure at least a couple of leaves remain on the cutting. The cut end is often dipped in rooting hormone to encourage root growth and then placed in a pot filled with a mix of peat and perlite or another well-draining rooting medium. The cutting should be kept moist and in a warm place with indirect light until it has rooted, which usually takes a few weeks. After the roots have developed, the new Goshiki false holly plant can be transferred to a larger pot or planted in the ground.