Taxonomy of Mock Orange Plants:
Characteristics of Mock Orange Shrubs:
Planting Zones for Mock Orange Shrubs:
Sun and Soil Requirements for Mock Orange Shrubs:
Uses in Landscaping:
Origin of the Name, "Mock Orange," or "Mockorange":
As the "mock" in its name suggests, mock orange is not a true orange. But the citrusy smell of its blossoms was enough to invite comparison, thus accounting for the origin of the shrub's common name.
But common plant names are notorious for being potentially misleading, which is why scientific plant names are preferred. And here we have a good example. For other plants have citrusy fragrances, too, earning them the common name, "mock orange" -- Pittosporum, for instance. So if you're interested in planting the "mock orange" discussed in the present article, be sure the nursery tag reads, Philadelphus.
Wildlife Attracted by Mock Orange Plants:
Caveat in Buying Mock Orange Plants:
Pruning Mock Orange Shrubs:
Let's distinguish between 3 kinds of pruning for established (i.e., planted for 3 years or more) mock orange plants:
- Yearly pruning
- Rejuvenating mildly overgrown plants
- Drastic rejuvenation pruning
Your yearly pruning needs to take into account that mock orange blooms on the prior year's growth. Therefore, to avoid missing out on flowering next year, prune immediately after the blooming period. On stems that have just finished flowering, prune off growth above where you see outer-facing buds. Also prune off any dead, badly-positioned or ill-formed branches, while you have the pruners or loppers handy.
As your mock orange matures, at some point you'll probably decide that it's becoming mildly overgrown. It's time to apply the one-third rule, as you would when pruning lilacs. Each year, as you're doing your yearly pruning, prune the oldest one-third of the branches down to ground level. After 3 years of such pruning, the shrub should look healthier.
Even when mock orange becomes wildly overgrown, all is not lost, because the shrub, if healthy, will respond well to drastic rejuvenation pruning. Again, you'll prune in spring -- but, this time, before new growth begins. Prune all the branches right down to the ground. You won't enjoy blossoms that year, but all the plant's energy will be channeled into the healthy new branches that will soon be rocketing out of your soil.
Back to: Late Spring Blooming Shrubs