I remember the exact spot where I first smelled Tea Olive. I begged a sprig from the lady of the house who said her husband would know, he planted it. I carried the scented blooms to my next stop where a young woman identified it immediately.
"Tea Olive," she said. We used to have a shrub outside the dining room window when I was a child."
Outside the dining room or any window would be a great location. The scent grabs your attention from 10 feet away, a fruity fragrance of apricot and other luscious flavors.
As quickly as they opened, they disappeared after a few days when the weather turned hot again. Tea Olive will bloom during fall and winter and into the spring until temperatures soar again. Freezes may set it back but it recovers quickly. Like most of the plants that thrive in the Coastal Plain, Tea Olives grow best in fertile, moist, well-drained acidic soil.
There is a native Osmanthus, O. americanus which has smaller, more slender leaves and grows along swamp and stream margins.
My efforts to root Osmanthus fragrans have failed. Maybe I'll try again next month.