Green is a great color in the garden, but sometimes it can become boring and we crave something more colorful. The Goshiki False Holly is a super-colorful evergreen foliage plant which grows well in any kind of soil and anywhere from full sun to full shade. ‘Goshiki’ is Japanese for ‘five colors’; the new leaves are pink in spring, and then are cream, grey-green, yellow and green as they mature. Each leaf is a unique piece of art with no two leaves in the same patterns, and the overall effect is bright, colorful and cheerful, bringing a real zing to your garden shrubs.
The Goshiki False Holly has lots of other advantages too, starting with its ability to grow in any garden conditions, from full sun to full shade and everything in between. So no more having to put a plant where it wants to be, not where you do; with the Goshiki False Holly just plant it where ever is best for you and it will be happy. It will also grow in most types of soil, from sand to clay, but does not do well in very wet conditions, since it likes a well-drained soil. It will grow from zone 6 into the warmest areas, so across most of the country it will be happy.
Growing Goshiki False Holly Bushes
As a foundation plant around your home, the Goshiki False Holly is the perfect choice. It will grow steadily to about four feet tall and five feet across. If you have enough room it will eventually reach ten feet and even more across, but since it can be clipped easily at almost any time of year, the ultimate size is up to you. The more you clip the denser it will grow and those lovely pink new shoots will be produced in profusion.
Sun Exposure and Soil Conditions
The Goshiki False Holly is tolerant of a wide range of sun and shade conditions. Its growth will be densest in full-sun, but it will happily grow in shade too. It will also grow in all kinds of soil, from clay to sand, as long as it is well-drained. It prefers a steady supply of water, but it has good drought-resistance once established. This plant is free of pests and diseases so little attention is needed, making this truly a low-maintenance, self-sufficient plant.
Planting and Initial Care
To plant your Goshiki False Holly, choose a location in sun or shade. If you are planting a screen or hedge, allow 3 feet between the plants. Add some rich organic material to the planting soil, such as garden compost, well-rotted manure, rotted leaves, or peat-moss. Dig a hole 3 times the width of the pot and plant your shrub so that it is at the same depth as it was in the pot.
Water it well during planting – the best way is to partially fill the hole with soil, firm it down and then flood the hole with water. When all the water has drained away you can then replace the rest of the soil. During the first growing season water your plant once a week, or even more on sandy soil during hot weather. Once established it should be watered regularly but it will tolerate dry periods quite well.
This is a relatively low-maintenance plant, so little or no pruning is required for the Goshiki False Holly, as it will naturally develop into a rounded shape. If you wish to clip it for a neater, denser look, do this in any season, but late winter is best, before the new growth comes, to get the best color effects.
History and Origins of the Goshiki False Holly
The False Holly (Osmanthus heterophyllus) grows wild across most of Japan and it is a relative of the beautiful Fragrant Tea Olive. It is an evergreen shrub that can reach 20 feet or more under ideal conditions, but is usually considerably smaller, at around 7 to 10 feet in height and the same across. The glossy leaves are 2 to 2½ inches long and about 1 ½ inches across, with three or four triangular teeth with a spiny tip. When this plant becomes older the leaves lose their spines and become rounder. Although related to the olive tree, the leaves do look a lot like those of the holly tree, which is why it is called False Holly. You can easily tell it is not a true holly because the leaves are in pairs opposite each other on the stems, not alternating as they are on a holly tree.
The small flowers appear in fall and are white, fragrant and in clusters of about five flowers. These are followed by small blue berries which persist for some months. Young plants often do not flower for several years, which is another reason why the Goshiki False Holly, with its colored leaves, is a superior plant for the garden. As well, it is a lot hardier than the wild plant, and will be un-damaged in cold winters.
The Goshiki False Holly was developed in Japan and introduced into America in the 1970’s by Barry Yinger, a well-known collector of Asian plants, known for introducing wonderful new varieties of plants to American gardeners. It was later distributed across the country by a large Californian nursery.
Buying Goshiki False Holly Bushes at The Tree Center
Because the Goshiki False Holly is such a special plant it must be correctly grown to preserve its wonderful range of leaf colors. Our plants are produced from stem pieces of the best-looking plants, so avoid cheaper seedling plants or un-named specimens, which will lack all this plant’s ideal qualities and be very inferior. Our Goshiki False Holly plants are true to the original form of this plant and will be ideally suited for your needs. However, we are constantly renewing our stock to make sure our customers get fresh, healthy plants, so supplies of this tree may be limited. We also invite you to browse our entire collection of Osmanthus Bushes, and add even more variety to your garden.