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How to Grow Choisya — Mock Orange

Choisya ternata
Choisya ternata, Mexican orange blossom

Choisya–commonly called Mexican Mock Orange –is an evergreen subtropical shrub cultivated both for its attractive foliage and long-lasting clusters of white flowers. The fragrant star-shaped flowers resemble orange blossoms.

Choisya is fast growing to about 8 feet (2.5m) tall and wide. Choisya can be planted as an informal hedge or massed as a screen. It can also be trained against a wall.

Choisya’s clusters of white flowers stand out against the plant’s bright green foliage. Where summers are hot Choisya should be planted in filtered sun.

Choisya is a genus of eight or nine species of these evergreen shrubs. Choisya is native to canyons and rocky slopes in the southwest United States and Mexico. Only one species, Choisya ternata, called Mexican orange, is commonly cultivated in gardens.

Choisya ternata shrub  Mexican Mock Orange
Choisya ternata shrub Mexican Mock Orange

Get to Know Choisya

  • Plant type: Evergreen shrub 
  • Growing zones and range: Zones 8 to 10. 
  • Hardiness: Hardy to about 10°F (-12°C)
  • Height and width: 9 feet tall and wide.
  • Foliage: Lustrous rich green leaves, held toward ends of branches, are divided into fans of three leaflets to 3 inches long.
  • Flowers: Clusters of fragrant white flowers, somewhat like small orange blossoms.
  • Bloom time: Early spring to early summer, also late summer
  • Uses: Shrub border, attractive informal hedge or screen.
  • Common name: Mexican mock orange 
  • Botanical name: Choisya ternata 
  • Family name: Rutaceae 
  • Origin: Southwestern United States and Mexico

Where to Plant Choisya

  • Plant Choisya in full sun, light shade in hot climates 
  • Choisya grows best where nights are cool.
  • Choisya grows best in light but humus-rich, well-drained soil.

When to Plant Choisya

  • Plant Choisya in the garden in spring or autumn.

Planting and Spacing Choisya

  • Space Choisya 8 feet (2.5m) apart.

How to Water and Feed Choisya

  • Give Choisya moderate water.
  • Fertilize Choisya with a balanced liquid fertilizer during the growing season.
Mexican orange leaves - Latin name - Choisya ternata
Mexican orange leaves – Latin name – Choisya ternata

Choisya Care

  • Choisya grows best with ample air circulation. Water sparingly in winter.
  • Prune Choisya anytime to reshape; remove old branches from semihard cuttings in summer. 

Choisya Pests and Diseases

  • Choisya is prone to damage by slugs and snails.

Choisya Propagation

  • Root semi-ripe cuttings in summer.

Choisya Varieties to Grow

  • Choisya ternata. Mexican orange blossom. Compact shrub to 9 feet tall and wide. Glossy, aromatic bright green leaves form fans of three leaflets and to 6 inches across. Flat-topped clusters of white 1-inch flowers appear in early spring and bloom until early summer. Cultivar ‘Sundance’ grow to 5 feet tall with yellow-green foliage, rarely flowers. 


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