Osmanthus heterophyllus 'GULFTIDE'

Osmanthus heterophyllus
Osmanthus heterophyllus 'GULFTIDE'
holly osmanthus, false holly
SIZE/TYPE medium-sized shrub
 taller shrub
USUAL WIDTH 1.5-2.5m
LEAVES evergreen broadleaf
FLOWERS less showy but noticeable
BLOOMING TIME September - October
LOCATION full to partial sun
SOIL TYPE acidic (peaty) to neutral
SOIL MOISTURE REQUIREMENTS evenly moist but well-drained
USDA zone (lowest) 5b   (down to -27°C)
FOR ZONE 5+6 Code of winter protection zone 5+6
FOR ZONE 7 Code of winter protection zone 7
BELONGS TO CATEGORIES Evergreen broadleaf
Hedging plants
náhled fotonáhled fotonáhled foto
Osmanthus is a genus of only about 15-20 evergreen species and varieties, and a genus which I fell in love with the first time I saw a few plants of. Holly osmanthus or false holly is a taxon of evergreen shrubs and small trees native to East Asia, southern Japan, and Taiwan. It bears evergreen and usually thorny leaves which resemble hollies, but something seems to be wrong for the more experienced eye: holly leaves are alternate while osmanthus leaves are opposite.

Gulftide is an American variety of holly osmanthuswhich originated in Gulf Stream Nursery in Virginia, possibly in 1980’s. It is easily distinguished by heavily serrated / spiny leaves and more uniform, dense growth. Its evergreen leaves are 5-8 cm long, deep green, and glossy. In spring they emerge mahogany red to bronze orange. In autumn the plant produces a profusion of tiny, sweetly scented, snow-white flowers. If pollinated by a male plant they are followed by small, purplish black, non-toxic berries, but that happens rarely.

It naturally forms strictly upright, slow to medium-fast (20-30 cm per year) growing shrubs which can be easily maintained and shaped by pruning. Spring pruning enhances branching, summer trimming is great for shaping. The twigs and bark are light gray and smooth.

Spiny-leaved osmanthus have long been used as a natural barrier against wild animals and cattle. Another important advantage is that they are long-lived shrubs or trees, and we are not talking about decades but hundreds of years. There are records of specimens whose age was estimated to 950 or more years. In other words, if located in an ideal spot it can be a plant that will be passed on by one generation to another. It looks great as an attractive evergreen specimen shrub or small tree, and does a good job as a hedge, too.

Grow osmanthus in moist but well-drained, humus rich, preferably acidic soil. Provide plenty of mulch for winter to protect the roots from fast freezing. It loves full sun but in colder regions find it a location sheltered from late winter and early spring sunlight but with plenty of light during the growing season. Use only plants with mature wood in zone 6 and transplant it no later than late summer in order to avoid frost damage after the first winter. Gulftide is a variety hardier than the species or most other varieties allegedly surviving temperatures of USDA zone 5b, i.e., -27 °C without damage. It does not suffer from diseases, but vine weevil can be a problem. Drought tolerant.

Last update 31-08-2022

Osmanthus heterophyllus
Osmanthus x fortunei (o.aquifolium)
Osmanthus heterophyllus
  • STANDARD QUALITY - Plants of this group are 1st class quality with number of branches and overall density adequate to their size and age, considering they were container grown.
  • DE LUXE QUALITY - This label guarantees a luxurious quality of manually selected plants that, compared to their height and age, are exceptionally dense and beautiful.
  • EXTRA - These plants are usually mature and bigger specimens with exceptional overall appearance.
  • STANDARD (as described in the plant form) means a tree with a trunk of 190-210 cm and a crown at the top, unless specified differently. The commercial size for trees is their girth measured in the height of 1m from ground.
  • HOBBY - These plants are of the same quality as our standard-quality plants but younger and therefore cheaper.
  • SHRUB - a woody plant with branches growing bushy from the ground level.
  • HALF-STANDARD or MINI-STANDARD - a small tree with shorter trunk, its size is usually specified.
  • FEATHERED - These are trees with branches growing already from the base of the trunk and up along the stem.
  • GRASSES and PERENNIALS - Sizes given usually read the diameter of the pot or the clump, as specified.
LARGE PLANTS over 150 cmspecimens, screening and hedging shrubs

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