Osmanthus suavis

Common Name: sweet olive 
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Oleaceae
Native Range: Southeastern Asia
Zone: 8 to 9
Height: 6.00 to 12.00 feet
Spread: 4.00 to 6.00 feet
Bloom Time: April to May
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Hedge
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Evergreen
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Drought


Winter hardy to USDA Zones 8-9 where it is easily grow in well-drained sandy loams in full sun to part shade. Best with some part afternoon shade in hot summer climates. Drought tolerant once established.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Osmanthus suavis, commonly called sweet olive, is an evergreen shrub that typically grows to 6- 12’ tall and to 4-6’ wide, but infrequently rises to as much as 25’ tall. It is native to dense forests or thickets on slopes in the Himalayas into southwestern Yunnan, China. Lanceolate to oblong leaves (to 3 1/2” long) with serrate margins are dark glossy green above but pale green with very small black dots beneath. Trumpet-shaped white flowers bloom in spring in axillary or terminal clusters (fascicled cymes) Each flower has four roundish ovate-spreading lobes and a 3/8” long corolla tube. Flowers give way to egg-shaped fruits (to 3/8” long) which mature to blue-black.

Genus name comes from the Greek words osme meaning fragrant and anthos meaning flower.

Specific epithet means sweet.


No serious insect or disease problems. Watch for scale and aphids.


Hedge. Background planting.