Osmanthus × burkwoodii

Burkwood's sweet olive

  • © David Mason

  • © Great Plant Picks

Outstanding Qualities

This tough, evergreen shrub makes a great screening plant, for it grows in almost any position - from full sun to shade and in most soils - and it gets to a substantial size. Its parents are the Chinese Osmanthus delavayi and the Turkish/Georgian Osmanthus decorus, which adds increased toughness to a beautiful Asian shrub. Its leaves are 1 to 2 inches long, midgreen and leathery. Its fragrant, white, tubular flowers open in April. Its flowers are not as clear a white nor as fragrant as those of O. delavayi, so depending on your garden's needs, that species may be a better choice. On the other hand, Osmanthus x burkwoodii has a strong enough constitution and large enough stature to support a clematis to add summer excitement. The GPP shrub folks suggest 'Duchess of Albany' or 'Etoile Violette'. This shrub combines with others with larger leaves, such as rhododendrons and Mahonia. This hybrid was raised in England.

Quick Facts

Plant Type: shrub

Foliage Type: evergreen

Plant Height: 5 ft. 0 in. (1.52 meters)

Plant Width/Spread: 5 ft. 0 in. (1.52 meters)

Plant Height-Mature: 10 ft. 0 in. (3.05 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

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. 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.