- Author: Jutta Thoerner
- Editor: Noni Todd
Wild Mock Orange
By Jutta Thoerner UCCE Master Gardener
Size of Shrub: 1-3 feet high, growth habit like a Lilac bush.
USDA hardy zone: 5-10
Bloom description and season: white, 2 inch showy and abundant flowers in March- May. Fragrant orange scent.
Pruning needs: after flowering for shaping as desired.
Exposure: part sun to partial shade.
Water needs: drought tolerant, but watering produces more flowers
When we bought our neighbors property in the fall, much of the landscape was stressed. Come spring, we were surprised by the explosion of white fragrant flowers from the Wild Mock Orange that, with some irrigation, spread quickly in all directions. Today, it is one of the showiest shrubs I have ever owned. The Wild Mock Orange is native to the northwestern USA. It does well in central oakwood lands and in pine forests. The name comes from its resemblance to flowers of an orange tree and, of course, from the lovely orange scent. Butterflies will flock to the bush during flowering. It adapts well to gardens, it's drought tolerant and in the hotter inland areas, it likes part sun and part shade. In coastal areas, full sun is best.
This plant is a fast grower, up to 24” per year. Prevent an out of control look by cutting back branches after bloom approximately 1/3 to 2/3 and cut all dead branches to the ground. Another way to keep this plant in check is to restrict water. The amount of growth and flowers can be directly traced back to how much it's watered. There are many different Mock Orange cultivars. For zone 2-8, check with your local nursery if you want to try a different cultivar than the wild Mock Orange. This is a wonderful background shrub, has no affinity for diseases and will delight you with its early and lasting flowers.