Mock Orange Shrub

Growing Advice for a Mock Orange Shrub

The mock orange shrub is officially called Philadelphus but it is also known by other names to include Minnesota Snowflake, Natchez, and Buckley’s Quill.  However, the Philadelphus coronarius is another type of shrub very similar but a sweet mock orange shrub, also called the English Dogwood.  Regardless of the name, this deciduous shrub produces beautiful flowers and makes a great addition to any property.

The one thing you would notice with a mock orange shrub is the subtle aroma of citrus.  The leaves are light green and during the late spring and into early summer, beautiful white flowers bloom.  This particular shrub can grow to eight feet tall and eight feet wide whereas the sweet mock orange is the larger version, reaching twelve feet tall and twelve feet wide.

You will find that the mock orange shrub can be planted and grown successfully in zones four through eight, which means it is a great choice for many parts of the country.  This shrub does require full sunlight to partial shade and the soil needs to be well-drained.  Keep in mind that shrubs planted where they get more sunlight than they do shade generally produce larger blooms and the shrub blooms more often.

Because of the size, the mock orange shrub can be planted as a standalone plant or arranged in a row, providing privacy.  Therefore, if you live near a noisy street or have neighbors nearby, having a privacy hedge would be ideal.  As far as the blooms, you can leave them on the shrub to be enjoyed by passersby or they can be cut and arranged in a vase to enjoy indoors.

Although this plant is called a mock orange shrub, it does not actually produce edible fruit but as mentioned, the flowers produce a citrus like aroma, thus the name.  One of the benefits of this plant is that it naturally attracts butterflies, which is a nice bonus.  You will even find that certain birds are drawn to the mock orange shrub because of the citrus fragrance it produces.

It is important that the mock orange shrub be pruned annually to ensure it continues to produce beautiful and healthy blooms.  The key is to wait until the shrub is about three years old before you start pruning.  At that point, you would prune after each time the plant blooms, only on the stems that just flowered.  The goal is to prune back the growth just above the location outer facing buds are seen.  Additionally, any dead or dying blooms need to be deadheaded, which means pulled off.

Remember that the mock orange shrub can grow out of control, almost having a wild look.  If you prefer a cleaner, more organized appearance, simply use hand or electric shears to reshape the shrub but if you prefer it to grow naturally, then you would simply remove the blooms, again to encourage new blooms for the next flowering season.  That way, you have a gorgeous shrub that would be enjoyed to the fullest.