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Gulftide Osmanthus

Osmanthus heterophyllus 'Gulftide'

Gulftide Osmanthus

Osmanthus heterophyllus 'Gulftide'


How are the heights measured?

All tree, and nothin' but the tree! We measure from the top of the soil to the top of the tree; the height of the container or the root system is never included in our measurements.

What is a gallon container?

Nursery containers come in a variety of different sizes, and old-school nursery slang has stuck. While the industry-standard terminology is to call the sizes "Gallon Containers", that doesn't exactly translate to the traditional liquid "gallon" size we think of. You'll find we carry young 1-gallons, up to more mature 7-gallons ranging anywhere from 6 inches to 6ft.

How does the delivery process work?

All of our orders ship via FedEx Ground! Once your order is placed online, our magic elves get right to work picking, staging, boxing and shipping your trees. Orders typically ship out within 2 business days. You will receive email notifications along the way on the progress of your order, as well as tracking information to track your plants all the way to their new home!

Why are some states excluded from shipping?

The short & sweet answer is: "United States Department of Agriculture Restrictions." Every state has their own unique USDA restrictions on which plants they allow to come into their state. While we wish we could serve everyone, it's for the safety of native species and helps prevent the spread of invasive disease & pests. We've gotta protect good ole' Mother Nature, after all.

About Me


The Gulftide False Holly is an ideal evergreen shrub for every garden. It has beautiful deep green glossy leaves, with spines on young leaves like a holly bush. Leaves on mature plants have few or no spines. It will grow in areas with winter temperatures down to minus 10 degrees, and in all the warmer parts of the country. It major feature is the small white blossoms that come in September or October, wafting the rich perfume of apricots across the garden and bringing romance to the end of the growing season. It will grow to around 5 feet tall and 3 feet across, so it can be grown in even a small garden. It grows well in partial or full shade, filling those awkward corners with its beautiful dense growth and rich-green leaves. Even without blooms this would be a valuable plant, and with them it is something special that should find a home in any garden warm enough to accommodate it.

  • Deep-green leaves resemble holly
  • Perfect medium-size shrub for any garden
  • Exotically scented white flowers in fall
  • Shade tolerant and always attractive
  • Deer resistant and pest free

Plant the Gulftide False Holly in ordinary garden soil enriched with organic material. It will grow in all kinds of soil, including heavy clay. Water regularly when young, until it is well established in your garden. Then it will be tolerant of normal drought conditions. It has no significant pests or diseases and best of all, it is not eaten by deer. It can be grown as a specimen plant, mixed with other shrubs, or made into a beautiful hedge.

Plant Hardiness Zones 7-9
Mature Width 3-4
Mature Height 5-6
Sun Needs Full Sun, Partial Sun, Shade
Zones 7-9

Evergreen shrubs are a central part of any garden, especially in warmer areas, where there are many different ones available to use. They provide structure and stability, and if they also have flowers and fragrance, then that is definitely an added bonus. The Gulftide False Holly is exactly such a plant. With its lustrous deep-green leaves all year, and fragrant white flowers in fall, it brings great mid-sized structure to your shrub beds and perfumes your garden for many weeks each year. It makes an aromatic end to the summer, and although the white flowers are small and nestled among the leaves, their fragrance spreads across the garden and is unmistakable. It is an ideal plant for shady parts of the garden, and it can also be planted in a row, spacing the plants 2 to 3 feet apart, to make a beautiful clipped or unclipped hedge.

Growing Gulftide Osmanthus Bushes

The Gulftide False Holly is a dwarf selection of the False Holly. This plant is also sometimes called Holly Olive, and thrives throughout the milder areas of the country, from zone 6 to 9. When young it should be regularly watered, but it is drought resistant when well established in the garden. It grows to about 5 feet tall and 3 feet wide, making a perfect background or mid-ground shrub among your other plants. With its glossy leaves it always looks attractive. At first glance it might be mistaken for a holly bush, but if you look more closely you will see that the leaves are in pairs up the stems, while true holly has the leaves placed one at a time along the stems.


This plant is unusual because it produces two kinds of leaves. The leaves of the new shoots are spiny, just like a holly bush, which of course it where this plant got its common name. These leaves have 3 to 5 spines along each side, and one at the tip of the leaf. The leaves that develop on older stems are more rounded, without spines, and up to 2½ inches long. This spiny growth protects the plant from deer, so if you have deer coming onto your property in winter, you will appreciate how valuable that quality is.

In fall, small flowers are produced in the space where the leaf meets the stem. These are small, but in clusters, and each flower has four petals. Although not the precise variety used for perfume making, it has a similar scent, often compared to the smell of ripe apricots. These flowers develop in fall, which is unusual, and makes this plant more valuable, since most other flowering plants have finished blooming by that time of year. Sometimes the blooms are followed by small, dark purple-black fruits that are the reason for the name holly olive.

Planting and Initial Care

Choose a sunny or shady location for your Gulftide False Holly. In hotter areas it will benefit from afternoon shade, and its ability to grow in full shade, beneath trees and in the shade of buildings, is a great asset for this plant. It will grow best if the soil is enriched with plenty of organic material, and if it receives regular watering. Once established it is resistant to normal periods of summer drought. It has no particular pests or diseases and it is deer resistant. In colder parts of zone 6 it is a good idea to water well in late fall and mulch the ground over the root-zone, to protect the roots from freezing hard.

History and Origins of the Gulftide Osmanthus Bush

False Holly (Osmanthus heterophyllus) is a plant native to Japan and the island of Taiwan. It was introduced into Europe and North America in the middle of the 19th century, during the great opening up of Japan to trade with the rest of the world, and especially with America. In Japan and Taiwan it can grow into a large tree, but in cultivation it is usually seen around 10 feet tall. ‘Gulftide’ is a selected more compact variety greatly admired, by gardeners in the know, for its dense form, deep green leaf color and robust, spiny and slightly twisted leaves. Its exact origins seem to have been lost. Cheaper seedling plants will be very inferior to this carefully selected variety, so don’t be disappointed by taking inferior cheaper plants that might be offered you.

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Gulftide Osmanthus

Osmanthus heterophyllus 'Gulftide'