Mexican Orange, superb flower shrub

The Mexican orange tree is a marvel at the beginning of spring with its magnificent little white flowers that smother the entire shrub.

Main Mexican Orange facts

NameChoisya ternata
FamilyRutaceae (Rue family)

Type – shrub
Use – hedge, standalone, garden box and flower bed
Height – 6 to 10 feet (2 to 3 meters)

Exposure – full sun
Foliage – evergreen
Flowering – April to June

Planting, pruning and caring for it are steps you can perform to enhance blooming and growth of this exceptional shrub.

Planting a Mexican orange tree

It is best to plant Mexican orange tree in spring or in fall.

If purchased in a pot or in a container, planting is also possible anytime during the year while avoiding frost spells and high temperatures.

Right from the start, water abundantly and regularly, albeit without flooding the roots of the shrub.

  • Adding fertilizer upon planting at the bottom of the hole helps increase rooting, regrowth and development of the Mexican orange tree.
  • Follow our shrub planting guidelines

Propagating Mexican orange tree

The best technique to multiply Mexican orange tree is cuttings. This method is both simple and easy to perform.

You can prepare Mexican orange tree cuttings best in summer, on wood that is not bearing flowers.

  • Sample 6-inch (15 cm) cuttings from July to September, on semi-hardened wood (not yet hard)
  • Remove lower pairs of leaves, keeping only one or two pair(s) at the tip
  • If possible, dip the base of the cuttings in powdered rooting hormone
  • Plant the cuttings in special cutting soil mix and keep cuttings near light, but not in direct sunlight
  • Keep the substrate a little moist and water less in winter
  • Protect your cuttings in winter, bringing them in a cool spot but keeping them out of the cold. Ideal temperatures range from 40°F to 50°F (5°C to 10°C)

Caring for Mexican orange tree

Leaves of some Mexican Orange go by threes, others by fives.What you’ve got here is a tree that only requires little care, but for which a little attention will increase growing and blooming.

If your Mexican orange tree flowers only a little or not at all, or that leaves stay abnormally small, your soil is probably lacking some type of nutrient.

Proper Mexican orange tree care

  • Provide flower shrub or tomato plant fertilizer in spring.
  • In case of an extended dry spell, water as soon as the soil is dry, especially over the first year after planting.
  • Amend the soil in fall with fertilizer of the “Manure and seaweed” class.
  • Mulch the ground in summer in order to retain soil moisture.

Pruning Mexican orange tree

A Mexican orange tree, whether standalone, part of a hedge or in a flower bed doesn’t require any particular pruning.

But it is often nicer to succeed in giving it a nice shape, especially when it is part of a hedge.

  • If you’re hoping to reduce or balance the branches, avoid pruning at the end of winter, or you’ll be altering the blooming.
  • Always wait for the end of the blooming season to prune, preferably in June.

All there is to know about Mexican orange tree

Clusters of fragrant white flowers form on a blooming Mexican orange treeA very elegant shrub with a dense shape and magnificent blooming, the Mexican orange tree, as its name shows, is native to that North American country.

Varieties such as ‘Aztec Pearl’ or ‘Sundance’ and others make for very easy growing and Mexican orange has the advantage of never growing taller than 6 to 10 feet (2 to 3 meters) tall, which means regular pruning isn’t necessary.

Even if you let the shrub grow without ever pruning it, it will never grow higher than 10 feet (3 meters) high.

The flowers, similar to those of an orange tree, are very fragrant and this shrub adapts very well to direct growing and to growing in pots on a terrace or balcony.

Special Mexican orange tree varieties

Named for its golden leaves, the Sundance Mexican orange!
Mexican Orange ‘Sundance’

Aztec Pearl Mexican orange with two blooms and a few leaves.
Aztec Pearl Mexican orange

White Dazzler Mexican orange variety
White Dazzler Mexican orange

Special tip about Mexican orange tree

Apart from the planting and the subsequent first year, there is no need to water excessively because the Mexican orange tree doesn’t need it.

Read more about shrubs


Credits for images shared to Nature & Garden (all edits by Gaspard Lorthiois):
Top : Mexican orange blooming by Peter Stevens under © CC BY 2.0
Mexican orange flower and leaf close-up by Manuel Martin Vicente under © CC BY-SA 2.0
Blooming Mexican orange by Ruth under © CC BY 2.0
Mexican orange Sundance by Josh Egan-Wyer under © CC BY 2.0
Mexican orange Aztec Pearl by 阿橋 HQ under © CC BY-SA 2.0
Mexican orange White Dazzler by Steve Law under © CC BY-SA 2.0

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