Osmanthus heterophyllus ‘Purpureus’

purple-leaf false holly

  • © Richie Steffen / Great Plant Picks

  • © Richie Steffen / Great Plant Picks

Outstanding Qualities

Purpleleaf false holly is an extremely tough and versatile evergreen shrub. This interesting selection was chosen for its intense, deep-purple new growth in spring. The coloring is the deepest in full sun, resulting in inky purple tones that will heighten the colors of other spring-blooming plants. Once it is well established, it produces tiny - but powerfully fragrant - flowers in fall. The heavy perfume carries well, even on the cool autumn air. False hollies respond well to pruning and can make a dense, impenetrable hedge. If allowed to grow naturally, mature specimens develop into elegant, small, multistemmed trees.

Quick Facts

Plant Type: shrub

Foliage Type: evergreen

Plant Height: 8 ft. 0 in. (2.44 meters)

Plant Width/Spread: 6 ft. 0 in. (1.83 meters)

Plant Height-Mature: 15 ft. 0 in. (4.57 meters)

Plant Width-Mature: 10 ft. 0 in. (3.05 meters)

Hardiness: USDA Zones 7 to 9

Flower Color: white

Sun/Light Exposure: full sun or light to deep shade

Water Requirements: drought tolerant when established, but appreciates occasional watering

Wildlife Associations: birds

Colors & Combos

Great Color Contrasts: silver, gold, variegated, bronze

Great Color Partners: dark green, chartreuse, blue

Culture Notes
The false holly is very easy to grow in full sun to deep shade, although it will flower less in more shade and the purple new growth will be only a brief blush. It prefers well-drained soil, but will tolerate sand and clay. It is drought tolerant once established, but would appreciate occasional watering during dry weather, especially if in a sandy site. It can grow openly while it is young, particularly if it is in shade- light pruning can help keep this shrub dense in youth.