Have you ever walked down a neighborhood, and smelled the sweet fragrance of citrus in the air? As you walk towards this fragrance, drawn by its enchanting smell, you come across a shrub with brown stems and waxy leaves. A closer look at the small white flowers helps you confirm your doubts. It is indeed a mock orange. Why the name, you may ask? Well, the name comes from the white flowers with a yellow-orange center that these plants have, which exude a heady orange-like fragrance.
Also known as Philadelphus coronarius according to botanical taxonomy, it is a deciduous flowering shrub. With light green leaves, it can reach a height of about 3 to 8 feet when mature. Its height makes it a prime candidate for use as a privacy fence and as a hedge plant.
They can be successfully grown in zones 4 to 8. These plants need full sun exposure. Grow them in a well-drained loamy soil and ensure that they are evenly spaced. Once the plant takes root, it shows comparatively better drought-tolerant characteristics. The pH of the soil should be slightly acidic to neutral. The hole dug should be deep enough so that the roots are properly covered. Make sure that all the rocks and pebbles are removed as the shrub's root system is very delicate and should not be damaged. Mulch the base to keep the soil moist and cool, and water the plant properly. Also, make sure that proper weeding is done in order to ensure good growth.
Care and Pruning
A low-maintenance plant, it does not need constant attention. If you spot yellowing of leaves or stunted growth, make sure you fertilize it. The best time to do this would be in late February or early March.
Regular pruning is important. The trick here is to understand the right time for it. When your shrub has completed its flowering cycle, cut a third of the length of all the stems that had flowers. New ones will be produced soon enough with flowering buds for the next year. Also prune old stems, with one in three being pruned right to the base. This will help stimulate the plant to produce new basal growths.
Mock orange plants are quite the favorite for landscaping, generally grown near patios, driveways, or walkways. If you are someone who does not have a green thumb, you can still choose to plant this shrub as it is very easy to care for.