Are you thinking about bringing some unique plants into your garden this season? The mock orange is a great choice for your flowerbeds this summer. The Mock orange (Philadelphus coronarius) goes by several monikers, including the sweet mock orange and the English dogwood.
This deciduous shrub displays a dense, rounded foliage growth, with a shorty, stocky appearance in the garden. The dark-green oval leaves have serrated edges with cup-shaped flowers featuring four white petals. The mock orange blossoms from late spring through to the early summer, stretching around an inch or two across.
The flowers on the mock orange produce a sweet fragrance, and many gardeners love the citrus scent wafting in the breeze in the garden. Gardeners state that the showy flowers of the plant resemble orange blossoms, which is how the shrub earned its title.
The orange blossom is a must-have for gardeners wanting to attract pollinators into the yard. Planting a mock orange in your flowerbeds attracts the hummingbirds and bees into your yard. The mock orange is a fast-growing shrub, with a growth rate of around 2-feet per year, depending on soil and climate conditions.
This guide gives you everything you need to know about growing mock orange in your garden this year.
Growing Mock Orange
The mock orange does well in USDA Zones four through eight. As a native European plant, it like growing in cooler climates, but it grows in warmer areas with the right care. The shrub is at its most visually appealing in the springtime, but they don’t offer much to look at throughout the rest of the year.
The mock orange doesn’t offer enough of an ornamental look to make it suitable for indoor growing, so it’s best for planting out in the garden. Gardeners can benefit from the bushy structure of the mock orange by planting it in tight groups to form a privacy hedge around the yard’s borders.
Many gardeners enjoy the scent of the flowers so much that they choose to use them for cut flower displays. The citrus aroma of the mock orange makes it a top choice for gardeners looking to bring fragrance into their yard.
The mock orange can grow in almost any sunlight condition, from the full sun to partial shade. They need at least four to six hours of sunlight during the summer to start flowering. Those shrubs planted in the full sunlight will bloom profusely compared to those planted in the shade.
The mock orange can grow in infertile soils. However, it requires soils that drain well to prevent the roots from developing root rot. The mock orange prefers slightly acidic soils in the pH range of neutral to 5.5. Add some perlite and compost to your planting site to improve drainage and add nutrients, and you’re good to go.
The mock orange prefers moist soil conditions for optimal growth. However, it’s a relatively drought-resistant plant. Those shrubs that don’t get enough water may survive the growing season, but they probably won’t flower. It’s best to keeps young shrubs moist all the time and only let adult bushes dry out between watering.
Temperature and Humidity
The mock orange prefers lower humidity conditions and cold weather for best flowering results in the summer. These shrubs can overwinter if you cut them back and mulch over them in the late fall.
We recommend adding some high-quality compost to the planting site, along with some perlite and bark chips on the top of the soil to limit evaporation. Avoid using nitrogen-based fertilizer formulations as they can slow flower production.
As a perennial, the mock orange will return each year to bloom. To overwinter the plant, prune it at the end of the fall. It takes around three years for a seedling to mature into a bushy plant that’s easy to shape.
Propagating Mock Orange
If you want to grow mock orange, you can do it from seeds or cuttings. Let’s unpack the best propagation techniques for your plants.
Stem cuttings are the best choice for propagating mock orange plants. Take your softwood cuttings after the plant finishes blooming until mid-June. It’s best to take your cuttings in the early morning when temperatures are cool, and there’s less stress on the plant.
Take your cutting using a sharp knife or scissors, and snip around four inches from the stem tips, taking around two or three sets of leaves. Make sure you cut below the last leaf node and take the cutting at a 45-degree angle.
Remove the bottom sets of leaves on the cutting, leaving the top set. Place the cutting in a jar filled with fresh water, and don’t let them dry out. Take several cuttings at a time because not all of them will end uprooting.
Fill a seedling tray with potting soil and place the cutting around an inch or two deep into the soil. Keep the seedling tray moist using a spray mister until the cuttings root.
Typically, the cuttings don’t require any rooting formula for this propagation technique. However, you can accelerate the rooting process using a hormone product design to fast-track root development in cuttings.
Create a propagation tray to keep humidity levels high and increase the chances of your cuttings rooting. Add a dome over the top of the seedling tray to let in light while trapping moisture. High humidity in the rooting phase helps to fast-track the process.
Keep the seedlings out of direct sunlight. Leave the cuttings in a well-lit room, or place the tray under an LED grow lamp to give the cuttings light. Typically, it takes around three to four weeks for the cuttings to root. If you’re not using rooting hormone, you could end up waiting as long as three months for the cuttings to root.
After the cuttings root, you can remove the propagation dome and let the soil dry out a little between watering. Plant the cuttings out into one-gallon pots after the plants develop two or three new sets of leaves. This process could end up taking as long as two months.
After you see new signs of growth in the leaves, it’s time to plant the mock orange out in the garden.
- This gorgeous shrub produces beautiful white and yellow blooms
- Flowers have a fragrant, citrus scent
- Attracts butterflies, bees and hummingbirds
- Grows well in zones 3-9 and prefers full sun to partial shade
- Mock Orange Sweet English Dogwood Philadelphus Coronarius Shrub Flower Jocad (20 Seeds)
- NAME: Mock Orange | OTHER COMMON NAMES: Sweet Mock Orange / English Dogwood / Mockorange | SCIENTIFIC NAME: Philadelphus Coronarius | COLOR: White | PLANT SEEDS: Outdoors after frost / Indoors weeks before last frost / Cold stratify | BLOOM TIME: Late Spring - Early Summer | HARDINESS ZONE: 4 - 8 | PLANT HEIGHT: 8 - 10’ | PLANT SPACING: 6 - 8’ | LIGHT REQUIREMENTS: Sun - Part Shade | SOIL & WATER PREFERENCES: Average | QUANTITY: 20 Seeds
The mock orange produces seeds in the late summer. The seed pods dry up and split open, spreading the seeds around the base of the plant. Some of them are so light that they spread in the wind if there’s a breeze in the garden.
If you’re growing two varieties of mock orange in the garden, the resulting plants grown from the seeds bear the hybrid characteristics of both plants. Mock orange seeds require stratification through cold before germination.
You can let the seeds overwinter in the flowerbeds or collect them before the seeds pods open and store them in the fridge until the following planting season. The seeds require average temperature conditions of 40°F for optimal stratification.
To propagate your seeds, fill a seed tray with a high-quality potting mix. You can add some vermiculite to improve water retention in the soil or perlite to add airflow to the stem. Sow your seeds into the seedling trays and cover lightly with the potting substrate.
Spray down the soil until moist using a spray mister, and you can always use the propagation tent method we talked about when taking cuttings.
Keep an eye on your mock orange seeds. Germination can be slow to happen, but the plants reach seedling height quickly after sprouting. Typically, you can expect to wait around two weeks for the plants to develop their first sets of leaves after germination.
When the seedlings reach around two inches in height, you can remove the propagation tent and expose them to the air. Reduce your misting to once a day to keep the soil moist; it’s okay if they dry out a bit after they sprout leaves.
Introduce the seedlings to sunlight slowly, giving them around an hour each morning for the first week. After two months in the seedling trays, your mock orange shrubs should be ready for planting out into the garden.
Pests and Diseases Affecting Mock Orange
If you decide to grow mock orange in your garden this year, be on the lookout for the following pests and diseases affecting your plants.
These tiny critters typically have a black color. They suck the juices out of the plant, causing stunted growth. Spray diluted neem oil on your plants to get rid of the bugs.
These larvae come from various pests, and they start eating your plant after hatching on the underside of the leaves.
This pathogen takes up residence on your plants in cold, damp conditions. Plants that don’t have airflow around the foliage are at the highest risk of developing this infection.
Blight kills the plant quickly. Remove dead plants and don’t throw them in the composts heap. Dispose of the damaged plant material in the trash.