mock orange

How To Grow and Care For Mock Orange Plant? [2023 Updated]

The mock orange shrub is a great choice for a beautiful citrus scent in the garden (Philadelphus virginalis). This deciduous bush that blooms in the latter part of spring looks fantastic in the border when utilized as screening in groups, or just as a single specimen plant. Even indoors, they make wonderful cut mock orange flower. In this guide, we’ll show you all you need to know about this plant!

philadelphus coronarius
philadelphus coronarius

How To Grow Mock Orange

In the right circumstances, mock oranges might develop very quickly and are simple to care for. Fortunately, these fragrant bloomers have a large family of noisy grandkids, much like an elderly grandmother. The sweet, traditional mock orange shrub is tolerant, in other words.

They can withstand cold because we’ve seen them growing in the wild in British Columbia’s interior, in which the temperature can drop to -22°F. They can also withstand heat because their native range includes Mexico. The mature plants are drought tolerant and can withstand a variety of soil types and lighting conditions. Additionally, they rarely contract diseases or pests.

They will tolerate weakly alkaline soils and salt but favor acidic soil with a pH range of 4.0 to 7.0. They really do not like having their feet wet, like several other plants, so the soil must drain well. They can also flourish in clay or sandy loam soils. Mock oranges prefer full sun to partial shade, and they exhibit their love of sunny locations by abundantly producing sweet-smelling blooms.

snowbelle mock orange
snowbelle mock orange

Although they will produce fewer flowers if given less sunlight, these plants do not mind being placed beneath a thin evergreen canopy. Following a spring planting and up until they are established, mock orange shrubs will thrive with routine watering. To begin with, water deeply when it doesn’t rain every two to four days, but let the soil get as dry as an inch deep in between applications.

When they are established, plants typically don’t require additional water because they are very drought-tolerant. However, keep an eye on them throughout dry spells and water if the leaves begin to wilt or the soil is 3 inches or drier.

Mock orange doesn’t require much fertilizer and will typically flourish without it. Apply fertilizer in the early springtime if your shrub exhibits symptoms of nutrient deficiency, like yellow or discolored leaves.

If you pick a liquid fertilizer or crystals meant for dilution, water your shrub as usual after applying the fertilizer. If you are using granular fertilizer, apply it as directed on the package and water it thoroughly to make sure that it dissolves.

sweet mock orange
sweet mock orange

Pruning Mock Orange Shrub

On the growth from the previous year, mock orange bushes bloom. Therefore, prune the shrubs as soon as they finish blooming to ensure that you won’t miss out on the mock orange blossom for the following year. Trim any growth that is above the point where you can see the outer-facing buds on stems that have recently finished flowering. Remove any branches that are dead, broken, or have a poor shape as well.

The mock orange tree has a tendency to get a little overgrown as they get older. When you perform your annual pruning, you can then trim the oldest third of the branches all the way to the ground. Such pruning should result in the shrub looking healthier after 3 years.

Trim all the branches off of severely overgrown shrubs to the soil surface in the spring. That year’s blooms won’t be to your liking. But after this rejuvenation pruning, the shrub’s base will soon sprout healthy new branches.

sweet mock orange shrub
sweet mock orange shrub

Mock Orange Care

Shrubs that resemble mock oranges are most beautiful in the spring. Regrettably, they are not ornamental enough to meet the criteria as specimen plants and don’t offer much at other occasions of the year.

For a summer privacy hedge, they might be cultivated in groups, and their blossoms are frequently used as cut flowers. Just ensure the area where they are planted has good drainage, as these shrubs cannot tolerate being wet.

orange tree blossom
orange tree blossom

Mock orange shrubs typically require very little maintenance. They rarely experience pest or disease problems. Additionally, mature shrubs only require watering during dry spells. Consider fertilizing and pruning your shrub once a year.

  • Light: These shrubs can thrive in full sun to light shade, which means they need at least 4 hours of direct sunlight per day on average. When planted in direct sunlight, they will typically bloom more profusely.
  • Soil: Mock orange shrubs prefer soil that is rich in organic matter. As long as the soil has good drainage, it can survive in a variety of soil conditions, including sandy, clay, and loamy soils. They also thrive in soil that is neutral to slightly acidic in pH.
  • Water: These shrubs favor soil that is moist but not soggy. Once they are established, they can tolerate some drought, but do not let the soil get completely dry around them. During dry spells, water mature shrubs, and water young shrubs to maintain a light moisture level in the soil.
  • Humidity and Temperature: Mock orange shrubs generally do not require winter protection because they can withstand the cold weather in their growing areas. In the oppressive heat, they will appreciate a little extra water and shelter from the harsh afternoon sun. These plants typically don’t have a problem with humidity.
  • Fertilizer: Before planting mock orange bush, amend the soil with some compost, bark humus, or manure. Then, add a layer of compost around the shrub and work it into the soil for yearly feedings in springtime. Useless to use a fertilizer high in nitrogen. It can significantly accelerate leaf growth, which can slow down or even halt the development of blossoms.
mock orange snow white
mock orange snow white

Common Problems With Mock Orange

When grown in the right conditions, mock orange is not recognized to have many issues. However, some common problems can arise from poor growing conditions or care.

Missing Flowers

Mock orange shrubs that are not blooming properly or at all are frequently the result of improper pruning. After your shrub has finished flowering for the season, make sure to prune it as soon as possible. If not, you run the risk of removing the flower buds for the following year.

Check the environmental conditions for your shrub as well. You could unintentionally give your shrub too much nitrogen if you use lawn fertilizer close to it. If the soil around your shrub contains an excessive amount of nitrogen, a soil test can reveal this.

Turning-Yellow Leaves

Mock orange shrubs’ yellowing leaves are frequently a sign of overwatering. Although this shrub prefers moist soil, it struggles in flooded conditions. Check the drainage of your soil and try waiting a little longer between waterings.

mock orange leaf
mock orange leaf

Mock Orange FAQs

When does mock orange bloom?

The star of this plant is its mock orange flowers. The four-petal white flowers appear in clusters of 5 to 7 in May and June and have an extremely sweet scent. They will rebloom each year as long as the shrub is healthy and grows in ideal circumstances.

mock orange varieties
mock orange varieties

Is mock orange evergreen?

Pittosporum tobira ‘Nanum’ or ‘Nana,’ a tiny, broadleaf evergreen shrub with appealing, leathery, dark-green leaves that are glossy on top and have lighter undersides, is compact. They form a whorl around the stem in an organized pattern and offer dense foliage all year long.

Which fertilizer is ideal for the mock orange plant?

Fill the soil to the edge of the plant’s drip line with a balanced, all-purpose plant food. Half a cup to a cup of 10-10-10 fertilizer is needed for small shrubs. Although larger shrubs might need more, you shouldn’t use more than one tablespoon of fertilizer for every foot the plant is tall.

What causes the mock orange’s yellow leaves?

The leaves will begin to become yellow in the fall as it gets ready for winter. In spring or summer, yellow leaves may indicate that your plant is not receiving enough essential minerals. Your Lewis’ mock-orange will be good within a few weeks if you utilize an all-purpose plant food.

mock orange hedge
mock orange hedge

Should a mock orange be pruned?

Plan to prune the mock orange as soon as it blooms because it is a spring-flowering shrub, and its buds were formed the previous year. You face the possibility of removing the flower buds for the following year if you take too long to prune your shrub and do it during the late summer or fall.


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