Fontanesia fortunei
Common Name: fontanesia 
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Oleaceae
Native Range: China
Zone: 6 to 9
Height: 10.00 to 15.00 feet
Spread: 4.00 to 9.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to June
Bloom Description: Greenish-white
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Hedge
Flower: Showy


Best grown in consistently moist, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Established plants have some drought tolerance. Winter hardy to USDA Zone 6.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Fontanesia fortunei, commonly called fontanesia, is a multi-stemmed, privet-like, deciduous shrub or small tree that typically grows in cultivation to 10-15' tall, but reportedly may grow to as much as 30-40' tall in its native habitat in China. Quadrangular stems are clad with opposite, narrow-ovate to lanceolate, dark green leaves. No fall color. Four-petaled, greenish-white flowers (each to 1/6" long) bloom in late spring in small panicles (axillary racemes) to 2" long. Fruit is a flat, brown-winged samara (3/8" long). Some authorities have now split this shrub into two subspecies, namely, Fontanesia philliraeoides subsp. fortunesia (native to China featuring glossy green leaves to 5" long) and Fontanesia philliraeoides subsp. philliraeoides (native to southern Europe, the Middle East and southwestern Asia featuring dull green leaves to 3" long).

Genus name honors French botanist Rene Louiche Desfontaines (1750-1833).

Specific epithet honors Robert Fortune (1812-1880), Scottish botanist who collected plants in China.


No significant insect or disease problems.


Hedge. Screen. Woodland margins. This shrub has a reputation for lacking significant ornamental features but would serve as a good background plant.