I was looking around for a plant that stands out this time of year, and I came “this” close to picking another red shrub! I knew if I did, after last month’s post, everyone would think (know?) I’m obsessed. So I decided to branch out (haha) and choose another colorful evergreen, Osmanthus heterophyllus ‘Goshiki.’ “Goshiki” actually means “five colors” in Japanese and refers to the many shades of color on the shrub’s variegated leaves.
Osmanthus heterophyllus ‘Goshiki’ is also known as False Holly or Holly Olive. It is not a holly nor an olive shrub. The evergreen leaves resemble holly leaves but are opposite on the branch rather than alternating. They are spiny but not as sharp as holly leaves. This osmanthus is slow-growing and typically reaches 5 to 7 feet tall and spreads at least that much as well, making it a great border hedge. Its prickly leaves will deter creatures from passing through, and deer are not interested in it.
This is a tough shrub that can thrive in full sun to shade. Though not native to the US, it is hardy in USDA Zone 6 if protected and south-facing, and completely hardy in Zones 7 (here in Delaware) to 9. It prefers well-drained soil but can tolerate clay and sandy soils. Once mature, Osmanthus heterophyllus ‘Goshiki’ develops tiny white, fragrant flowers hidden by the foliage that bloom September to October. It does not bear any fruit. Osmanthus heterophyllus ‘Goshiki’ is a great choice for an addition to your rustic or contemporary landscape with year-round interest.