Irresistible mock-orange!

Mock orange shrub in full bloom

This is one of the garden’s most enchanting and fragrant shrubs. Very accommodating, it settles in anywhere it’s planted, and gives the garden a romantic outlook with its cascade of white petals and its scent of fresh orange flowers.

Very easy shrub to live with, mock-orange or Philadelphus produces excellent results in every garden and in every region.

It adapts to any type of soil, even if the result is best when there is a lot of humus.

Sun (but not too hot!) guarantees optimal blooming and beautiful golden hues for the foliage in fall.

But even part shade and permanent light shade are not a problem.

Planting and trimming mock-orange

The dormant stage (October to February) is the best time to plant it. That way, it can extend its roots at a leisurely pace and settle in before blooming right in its first year. If you purchase a specimen in a container, wait for its vegetation to slow before transplanting it.

Let the plant grow wild and free for three years before taming it with its first pruning. This pruning should be performed after the blooming. Shorten the branches that have bloomed by quite a lot, this will stimulate the following year’s blooming, and you’ll be keeping the shrub in tight shape. Mock-orange sends off shoots from its base. You can support these youngsters by eliminating older branches that hinder their growth.

No need for any treatment, mock-orange shrubs rarely fall sick to disease. However, add magnesium and potassium-rich fertilizer after the blooming to help prepare new flower buds before fall.

Mock-orange, a great companion

In a small garden, plant your mock-orange near the house to avail of its delicious fragrance. Pair it with a late-blooming clematis to extend its appeal. If you’re more attracted to its fragrance, choose simple-flower varieties, they release more perfume than double-flowered varieties. For a romantic garden, pair it with rose trees, foxgloves and larkspurs. With bamboo and hostas, it will take on a more trendy, modern appeal. As part of a flowered hedge, it can be set next to purple filbert.

Lastly, for balconies, try to pick smaller varieties. Plant them in a garden box 12 to 16 inches (30 to 40 cm) deep, in a blend that is equal parts rose tree soil mix and light garden soil.

Marie Etavard

Credits for images shared to Nature & Garden (all edits by Gaspard Lorthiois):
Mock orange shrub in full bloom by Rosalyn & Gaspard Lorthiois, own work