Tips and Tricks for Successfully Growing and Caring for Mock Orange Bushes

Tips and Tricks for Successfully Growing and Caring for Mock Orange Bushes

Mock orange bushes, also known as Philadelphus, are a popular choice for gardeners due to their beautiful and fragrant flowers. These versatile shrubs can be grown in a variety of zones and are relatively easy to care for, making them a favorite among both beginner and experienced gardeners. Whether you’re looking to add a pop of extra color to your garden or create a stunning focal point in your landscape design, mock orange bushes are a fantastic option.

One of the key reasons why mock orange bushes are so beloved is their delightful fragrance. When they’re in full bloom, the flowers emit a sweet scent that is reminiscent of oranges, hence the name “mock orange.” This incredible smell attracts butterflies, bees, and moths, making your garden a haven for these beneficial insects.

The flowers of mock orange bushes can vary in color, with most varieties producing white or cream-colored blossoms. However, there are a few varieties that produce yellow or even pink flowers. No matter the color, these flowering shrubs will bring a touch of elegance to your garden and create a stunning display for years to come.

In addition to their beautiful flowers, mock orange bushes are also known for their healthy and vigorous growth. These shrubs typically have a full and dense habit and can reach heights of up to 10 feet. Their dark green leaves spruce up the garden, and they can tolerate a wide range of soil types, as well as drought conditions.

Caring for mock orange bushes is relatively simple. They require regular watering, particularly during dry spells, and benefit from an annual application of fertilizer. Pruning is also important to maintain the shape and health of the shrub. Mock orange bushes should be pruned immediately after they finish blooming, as they produce flowers on old wood.

Propagation of mock orange bushes can be done through cuttings or by purchasing young plants from a nursery. If you’re propagating your own, it’s best to take tip cuttings in early summer when the shrub is in a state of active growth. These cuttings should be lightly treated with a rooting hormone before being planted in a well-draining soil mix. Keep the cuttings in a humid environment until they develop roots, typically within 4-6 weeks.

Mock orange bushes are a cost-effective and low-maintenance addition to any garden. Their tolerance for a wide range of conditions and their beautiful flowering habit make them a desirable choice for many gardeners. Whether you’re looking to attract birds and insects, create a stunning focal point, or simply enjoy the sweet fragrance of their blossoms, growing mock orange bushes is a rewarding and enjoyable experience.

So, if you’re looking to add some beauty and fragrance to your garden, consider planting mock orange bushes. With their easy care requirements and stunning blossoms, you can enjoy the beauty of these shrubs for many years to come.

“Cathy was growing mock orange bushes in her garden and couldn’t be happier with the results. The sweet fragrance of the flowers and the vibrant blooms always make her smile whenever she walks down her garden path.”

How to Grow 5 Mock Orange Varieties

Mock orange bushes are a popular choice for garden enthusiasts, thanks to their beautiful and fragrant blossoms. If you’re interested in growing these lovely shrubs, here are five mock orange varieties to consider:

  1. Cathy’s Mock Orange (Philadelphus x virginalis ‘Cathy’) – This variety is known for its vigorous growth and large white blossoms. It can easily reach a height of 10 feet and a width of 8 feet.
  2. Minnesota Snowflake Mock Orange (Philadelphus x ‘Minnesota Snowflake’) – This variety is a bit more compact, reaching heights of 6 to 8 feet. Its white blossoms are tinged with pink and have a lovely fragrance.
  3. Midget Mock Orange (Philadelphus x ‘Midget’) – As the name suggests, this variety is smaller in size, growing to a height and width of about 3 feet. It’s perfect for smaller gardens and can also be grown in containers.
  4. Aureus Mock Orange (Philadelphus coronarius ‘Aureus’) – This variety is prized for its beautiful golden foliage, which adds a pop of color to any garden. It also produces white blossoms with a delightful fragrance.
  5. Snowbelle Mock Orange (Philadelphus ‘Snowbelle’) – This variety is known for its compact size and abundant blooming. It reaches a height and width of about 2 to 3 feet and produces lovely white flowers.

Regardless of the mock orange variety you choose, here are some general tips to help you grow these shrubs successfully:

  • Plant mock orange bushes in a location with full sun to partial shade.
  • Make sure the soil is well-draining and rich in organic matter.
  • Water the plants regularly, especially during hot and dry periods. Mock orange bushes prefer moderate moisture levels.
  • Apply a balanced fertilizer, such as a 10-10-10 NPK formula, in early spring to promote healthy growth and blooming.
  • Prune mock orange bushes immediately after they finish blooming to maintain their shape and promote better blooming next year.
  • Mock oranges are generally hardy and can tolerate a wide range of temperatures. However, they may suffer from winter damage in extremely cold climates. Consider protecting them with a layer of mulch or burlap if necessary.
  • Mock oranges are known for their vigorous growth, so give them enough space to spread out. Plant them at least 6 to 8 feet apart.
  • Keep an eye out for common problems such as leaf spot, powdery mildew, and aphid infestations. These can be treated with appropriate fungicides or insecticides.
  • If you desire more mock orange bushes, they can be propagated through cuttings or layering. Simply take a cutting or bend a branch down to the ground and cover it with soil. After a period of time, the branch will create its own root system.

With proper care and attention, your mock orange bushes will reward you with beautiful flowers and a delightful fragrance for many years to come!

Mock Orange Varieties

There are several varieties of the mock orange shrub that can be planted and grown in a variety of conditions. The most common variety is the Philadelphus coronarius, which is also known as the “sweet mock orange” or “English dogwood.” This variety is known for its fragrant white flowers that bloom in the late spring or early summer.

Another variety, the Philadelphus lewisii, is native to western North America and is commonly known as the “Lewis’ mock orange.” This variety has smaller, yellow flowers and a more compact growth habit compared to the Philadelphus coronarius. The Philadelphus lewisii is particularly well-suited for dry conditions and can tolerate drought.

The Philadelphus x virginalis is a hybrid variety that is a cross between the Philadelphus coronarius and the Philadelphus lewisii. This variety produces large, double white flowers and is known for its strong fragrance. It is also more resistant to diseases and pests compared to other varieties.

In addition to these three main varieties, there are several other mock orange varieties available to gardeners. The Philadelphus microphyllus, for example, has smaller leaves and blooms earlier than other varieties, while the Philadelphus inodorus has a more open form and produces pink flowers.

When choosing a mock orange variety for your garden, consider factors such as the growing conditions in your area, the desired size and shape of the shrub, and the specific features or characteristics you are looking for.

Mock orange bushes are easy to care for and require minimal maintenance. They can be grown in full sun or light shade and prefer well-draining soils. Mock orange shrubs are tolerant of a wide range of soil types, but they perform best in loamy or sandy soils.

Mock orange shrubs should be pruned immediately after flowering to maintain their shape and encourage new growth. Pruning can also help to control the size of the shrub and remove any dead or damaged branches. Fertilizer can be applied in the spring to provide the shrub with an extra boost of nutrients.

Mock orange shrubs are also known for attracting birds and butterflies to the garden. The fragrant flowers provide a source of nectar for bees and other pollinators, while the dense foliage and branching structure provide nesting sites for birds.

In conclusion, mock orange shrubs are a versatile and beautiful addition to any garden. With their fragrant flowers, attractive foliage, and easy care requirements, they are a popular choice for many gardeners. Whether you choose a compact variety for a small garden or a larger variety to provide a focal point in your landscape, mock orange shrubs are sure to bring beauty and enjoyment to your outdoor space.


When growing mock orange shrubs, it is important to choose the right location to ensure healthy and vigorous growth. Mock orange bushes prefer full sun to light shade and well-drained soil. They can tolerate a wide range of soil conditions but perform best in moist, fertile soil.

If you live in a windy area, consider providing some form of support for your mock orange shrub to prevent the branches from breaking. Mock orange shrubs have a natural sprawling habit, so regular pruning is necessary to maintain their compact shape and promote blooming. Prune the shrub immediately after it finishes blooming, leaving somewhat of a natural shape.

One common problem with mock orange shrubs is poor flowering. If your shrub is not blooming well, it may be due to a variety of factors, such as insufficient sunlight, poor soil conditions, or improper pruning. To encourage abundant blooms, make sure that your mock orange shrub is getting at least 6-8 hours of sunlight per day and is planted in well-drained soil.

Mock orange bushes are generally easy to care for and do not require a lot of maintenance. They are relatively drought-tolerant once established but prefer regular watering, especially during hot and dry periods. Applying a balanced fertilizer in early spring can also help promote healthy growth and blooming.

If you are interested in propagating your mock orange shrubs, it can be done through stem cuttings or layering. Stem cuttings taken in early summer and rooted in moist soil can quickly establish new plants. Layering involves bending down a low-growing branch and partially burying it in the soil so that it forms roots. Once rooted, the new plant can be separated from the parent plant and transplanted to a new location.

In conclusion, mock orange shrubs are a beautiful addition to any garden or landscape design. With proper care and attention, they can provide years of vibrant blooms and fragrance. Remember to choose a suitable location, provide support if needed, and regularly prune to maintain a compact shape. Keeping these tips in mind will help ensure the health and blooming of your mock orange shrubs.

✿ Read More About Woody Shrubs.

Dr Heidi Parkes

By Dr Heidi Parkes

Senior Information Extension Officer QLD Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries.