Mock orange (Philadelphus coronarius)
• Climate zones 2-17, 30-41
• Full sun or partial shade
• Regular to moderate watering
Like sweet olive (Osmanthus fragrans), mock orange is a favorite of many gardeners for its sweet-scented blossoms. A fast-growing shrub with arching, fountainlike form, it reaches 10 feet tall and wide and fits especially well in corners. Oval, pale green, 1 ½- to 4-inch-long leaves emerge in early spring; showy white, 1- to 4-inch, single or double blooms follow in early summer. ‘Minnesota Snowflake’ is a 6- to 8-footer that survives colder winters (reported hardiness to -30 °F/-34 °C); a smaller cultivar of this hybrid is ‘Miniature Snowflake’, to 3 feet tall and broad.
Give mock orange partial shade in the warmest areas. It tolerates ordinary garden soil but must have good drainage. After bloom is over, thin and neaten plants by cutting older, tattered stems to the ground. To rejuvenate an entire plant, cut it to the ground in early spring, before leaves appear.