This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V22", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
In the Gardener's Monthly for April, 1880, page 106, Mrs. M. W. asks for information concerning the treatment of the fragrant Olive. The Olea fragrans, or Osmanthus fragrans of some botanists, is a handsome evergreen greenhouse shrub, attaining a height of ten or twelve feet, with small white deliciously scented flowers, which are produced at intervals during the entire year. It is a plant of the easiest culture, requiring a rather moist atmosphere, a cool house, and a compost composed of two-thirds loam and one-third leaf mould or well rotted stable manure. Good drainage is indispensable, as the Olea soon suffers if water is allowed to stand about its roots. The Olea is not a. very tender tree and is about as hardy as an Orange. It is on this account an excellent house plant. Unfortunately, it is very subject to the scale, and should be occasionally washed with water in which whale oil soap has been dissolved in the proportion of three ounces to a gallon.
During the summer season, place the plant outside in a partially shaded place; if in a pot, the pot should be plunged. Syringe freely and water as often as necessary.
During the winter it requires a temperature of 40° or 45°, and do not allow the plant to become either very wet or dry. Or if the plant is in a pot, the best method of treatment is to plant it out in a well prepared border about the 10th of May, and to take it up and pot it carefully about the 10th of September. I would advise Mrs. M. W. to follow this method of summer treatment if possible.
The Olea fragrans is a native of China, and was introduced in 1771, and the flowers are said to be extensively used by the Chinese for the purpose of flavoring tea. Propagation is effected by cuttings of the ripened wood.