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House Plants/Osmanthus Houseplant


I bought a variagated Osmanthus houseplant the beginning of December.  They were selling them at a local nursery as a "holly-looking" plant.  They had even placed little artificial red berries on them and they looked adorable.  I read your other information on how to care for them and I don't think I have been giving mine adequate light.  I had it on a tray on my coffee table pretty much in the middle of a room and by now the leaves are just dropping off by the hands full.  So what do I do now?  Do I prune it back now?  How?  What do I do with it in the summer?  Set it outside?  Any information would be really appreciated.  Thank you!

Hi Bonye,

Osmanthus is not an easy plant to use as a houseplant. It requires a tight pot, lots of natural sunlight and proper watering as soon as the top half-inch of soil feels dry. Regular pruning is also required.

Clearly, yours has not received adequate light and that is why it is dropping leaves. Prune back the mostly bare stems by approximately half. Move it to a sunny windowsill and water it as I described. If you made the mistake of repotting, then it is probably suffering from root rot and may not recover.

In the summer you can move it outside into light shade.

Please let me know if any of this is unclear or if you have any additional questions.

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Will Creed


I am the only expert in this category with professional hands-on experience and knowledge of all indoor plants. I can answer questions regarding light, water, fertilizer, repotting, pruning and humidity and temperature requirements. I can identify plant pests and provide information on safe, effective treatments. My answers are based on 35 years of professional experience and scientific research and are clear and easy to understand. I do NOT use search engines to find answers to your questions. If you read my previous posts here, you will get a good idea as to how thorough and professional my answers are.


I have over 35 years of professional indoor landscaping experience caring for plants in homes, offices, building lobbies, stores, restaurants, and other adverse environments. I have written extensively on the care of indoor plants, including a 260 page book. My specialties include Ficus trees, low light plants, repotting, pest control, and re-blooming holiday plants. Be sure to check my ratings and nominations to learn why I am the top-rated indoor plant expert. I am the only House Plant expert consistently ranked in the AllExperts Top 20.

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