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Osmanthus fragrans ‘Mantiaohong’: Your Guide to Evergreen Elegance

The Osmanthus fragrans ‘Mantiaohong’, an evergreen shrub, boasts a spherical canopy, medium density, and robust growth. This variety of red Osmanthus, renowned since ancient times, is a common local breed, flourishing year-round with abundant foliage. Its beauty is understated yet elegant, its fragrance intense yet not overwhelming. It has captivated generations of literati with its […]

The Osmanthus fragrans ‘Mantiaohong’, an evergreen shrub, boasts a spherical canopy, medium density, and robust growth. This variety of red Osmanthus, renowned since ancient times, is a common local breed, flourishing year-round with abundant foliage.

Its beauty is understated yet elegant, its fragrance intense yet not overwhelming. It has captivated generations of literati with its unique floral aroma, making it a top choice for landscaping.

I. Morphology and Characteristics

The ‘Mantiaohong’ is an evergreen shrub with a spherical canopy and medium density. The standard plant has an average of 3.1 branches, with the average spring shoot length being 24.0 cm and an average of 7.7 nodes per shoot.

There are approximately 38.6 axillary flowers per shoot. The leaves are dark green, glossy, and leathery; they are elliptical in shape, averaging 9.4 cm in length and 3.3 cm in width, with a length-to-width ratio of about 2.9.

Typically, there are 9-11 pairs of lateral veins, with the venation clear on both sides. The leaf surface is slightly folded inward, the edges noticeably curled with fine pointed teeth on over 1/3 of the leaf.

The leaf apex is long and pointed, the base is broad and wedge-shaped, and the leaf stalk is green with a hint of red, rather thick, with an average length of 0.7 cm.

Osmanthus fragrans 'Mantiaohong’

The flowers are arranged in umbels, with an average of 8.6 flowers per umbel. The corolla lobes are nearly completely split and are ovate-elliptic in shape; the average flower diameter is 0.95 cm, and the average pedicel length is 0.78 cm.

The average weight of a hundred flowers is 1.05g. The flowers are orange-red in color and have a moderate fragrance. The flowers do not bear fruit.

II. Habitat Preferences

The ‘Mantiaohong’ is a long-day plant that thrives in ample sunlight, in locations with rich, well-draining soil. The soil should be slightly acidic, with a pH of 5.5-6.5. It tolerates moisture but dislikes salinity.

The dense branches withstand pruning well. Grafted seedlings can start flowering from 2-6 years, while cuttings will delay the onset of flowering until around the 8th year.

The peak flowering period is approximately at 12 years. Among local red Osmanthus varieties, its color is the most vibrant.

III. Cultivation Method

The propagation of this plant is done through cuttings, which tend to root about half a month later than other autumn osmanthus varieties. This should be done before the onset of spring budding, using one-year-old branches as cuttings.

These are inserted into plain sand or grass charcoal soil, covered with a plastic film, and kept in a shaded area for maintenance. They can root after the start of autumn.

Timing for Cuttings

The ideal time for cuttings is from mid-May to late June (for autumn cuttings, it is from mid-August to late September). Some regions believe that osmanthus sprouts new shoots in early spring, so cuttings can be advanced to April.

However, practice has shown that while the woodiness of the cuttings at this time is relatively high, the air and soil temperatures are both low, making it hard for the cuttings to root and leaving them susceptible to rot and deterioration.

Osmanthus fragrans 'Mantiaohong’

Selection and Treatment of Cuttings

Use the tender shoots that sprouted that year for the cuttings. To ensure the cuttings are robust and full, it is necessary to manage the fertilization and watering of the mother tree during winter.

A quick-acting fertilizer should be applied 2-3 times in the 1-2 months before taking the cuttings to promote shoot growth. If the spring season is dry, watering should also be taken into account.

It has been proven that full and organically rich branches easily form the initial bodies of roots, root quickly, and have a high survival rate, while the opposite is true for weak branches.

The length of the cuttings should be 8-10 centimeters. The cuttings should be quickly placed in a well-ventilated, cool indoor area and sprayed with misty water to keep the leaves moist and maintain freshness.

When trimming the cuttings, keep the top 5-6 leaves. To avoid overcrowding during insertion and prevent leaves from overlapping, you can cut the leaves in half. Observations show that osmanthus cuttings tend to root at the nodes, less so in between nodes.

Therefore, it is better to leave 1-2 nodes in the soil when inserting the cuttings. Pre-treating cuttings with 500PPM naphthylacetic acid before insertion is an effective measure to promote early and quick rooting of osmanthus.

This can advance rooting by 7-8 days compared to untreated cuttings.Insert half of the cutting into the soil, with a plant row spacing of 6×10 centimeters, and 200 cuttings per square meter.

If they are to be moved out after rooting, the insertion bed can be considered a transition stage and the density can be increased to make full use of the plastic shed.

The regenerative ability of osmanthus’ nutrition organs is the physiological basis for propagation through cuttings.

Before rooting, osmanthus cuttings first form the initial bodies of roots, then grow adventitious roots, mainly concentrated at the nodes, with a few in the cortical parts between nodes.

On average, each plant produces 19 lateral roots, with 13 rooting at the nodes and 6 in the cortical parts between nodes. If there are two nodes rooting, the lower node usually has more roots than the upper one.

Like other tree species, osmanthus forms healing tissue. This tissue is located at the end of the cutting, forms a nodular protrusion between the cortex and wood, and forms 15-20 days after insertion.

If not treated with naphthylacetic acid, the formation of healing tissue could be delayed. New roots start to grow about 7-10 days after the formation of the healing tissue stabilizes.

IV. Value and Other Uses

This plant can be used for landscape cultivation. With its abundant leaves throughout the year, subtle yet magnificent fragrance, and beautiful yet unpretentious appearance, it exudes a sense of elegance and purity.

Its rich aroma has won the hearts of people, and it has been adored by literati and poets throughout history. Ancient people praised the osmanthus for its “strong, clear, long-lasting, and far-reaching” fragrance, capable of purifying dust and penetrating distances, making it top-tier.

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Peggie

Peggie

Founder of FlowersLib

Peggie was once a high school mathematics teacher, but she set aside her chalkboard and textbooks to follow her lifelong passion for flowers. After years of dedication and learning, she not only established a thriving flower shop but also founded this blog, “Flowers Library”. If you have any questions or wish to learn more about flowers, feel free to contact Peggie.

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