Osmanthus heterophyllus (var. tricolor) 'GOSHIKI'

Osmanthus heterophyllus (var. tricolor)
Osmanthus heterophyllus (var. tricolor) 'GOSHIKI'
holly osmanthus, false holly - STANDARD TREE
SIZE/TYPE small tree
USUAL WIDTH 0.5-1.5m
LEAVES evergreen broadleaf
COLOUR OF LEAVES varigated:cream and green
FLOWERS insignificant or non-blooming
LOCATION full to partial sun
SOIL TYPE acidic (peaty) to neutral
SOIL MOISTURE REQUIREMENTS evenly moist but well-drained
USDA zone (lowest) 6   (down to -23°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
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.

If you like spiny leaves and colours, this variety of holly osmanthus is a must have in your collection. Its name is Goshiki and you are right to assume that it comes from Japan where its name means 'Five Colors'. It was chosen not only for its spectacular colour, but also for its excellent tolerance to weather conditions, especially its hardiness. In 2012 it was awarded AGM (Ward of Garden Merit) by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) in England. It was first imported from Japan to the USA by the American collector of Asian plants Barry Yinger in 1970, from where it spread around the world as slowly as it grows. Despite its age it is still a bestseller.

Goshiki osmanthus bears evergreen, conspicuously mottled, spiny foliage. Newly emerging leaves are bronze to purple, young leaves are light vanilla yellow with a fine green pattern, and mature leaves show dark green and creamy yellow marbling from summer onwards. The more sun it gets in the summer the more distinctly coloured it will be. The twigs and bark are light gray and smooth. We haven't seen any flowers on it yet.

Standard trees – tree forms of evergreen woody plants are becoming more and more popular. They can offer good screening at a desirable height blocking views from neighbouring windows if privacy is why you look for an evergreen tree. And they make a desirable display of foliage in a different horizon, plus allowing other smaller plants live under their canopies. Every standard tree needs a good support to protect the stem from moving, especially in wind. It can be removed after 3 years if the tree is established well. There is usually a bamboo stick attached to the tree trunk when you buy the plant. It needs to be removed before you tie the stem into your new support.

Although it can grow up to 3 meters in its natural habitat, it grows very slowly and its common size in Central European conditions is around 1.5 m in height and spread as a shrub. But if you want to know how tall your plant will get as a standard tree you have to add the stem height. It does not require pruning but it tolerates it very well, even in old wood, so you can shape it as you like. Spring pruning enhances branching, summer trimming is great for shaping.

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. Goshiki is a great performer when it comes to hardiness and has proved tolerance to at least -25 °C (USDA zone 6) without damage after 20 years of cultivation in more C.E. locations. It does not suffer from diseases, but vine weevil can be a problem. Drought tolerant.

Last update 01-09-2022

Ilex aquifolium
Elaeagnus x ebbingei
  • 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

This site uses cookies to provide services and traffic analysis - here you can find details. I use this site for further use of this site ACCEPT.