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CHOISYA ternata

Image of Choisya ternata

James Burghardt

Family

Rutaceae

Botanical Name

CHOISYA ternata

Plant Common Name

Mexican Orange, Mexican Orange Blossom, Mock Orange

General Description

Sweet, citrusy-smelling white flowers adorn the branches of Mexican orange from very late winter to autumn. An evergreen subtropical shrub from the higher elevations of Mexico, it has glossy, compound foliage, each leaf composed of three, oval leaflets that are fragrant if crushed. In late winter, clusters of five-petaled white blossoms cover the plant, emitting an intoxicating fragrance like that of orange blossoms, and attracting honeybees. The first blooming season lasts for weeks, and then flowering recurs intermittently in summer and early autumn.

Mexican orange needs a well-drained, acidic soil for best performance, and seems to be unhappy if too close to lime-based concrete paths or salt-touched soils. For best flowering and dense foliage, grow it in full sun, but in very hot climates provide shade from brutal afternoon sunshine. It will falter in regions with intensely hot or humid summers.

This is a terrific shrub for foundations, patio containers or a hedge. Prune branches and use as cutflowers. The cultivar 'Sundance' rarely blooms but has brilliant lemony yellow leaves and the compact, small-leaved selection 'Aztec Beauty' has white flowers opening from pink buds.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    10 - 7

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    8 - 11

  • Sunset Zone

    6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Shrub

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    5'-8' / 1.5m - 2.4m

  • Width

    6'-8' / 1.8m - 2.4m

  • Bloom Time

    Early Spring, Spring, Late Spring, Late Summer, Early Fall, Late Winter

  • Native To

    Mexico

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Drought

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Drought Tolerant, Average Water

  • Habit

    Oval/Rounded

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Light Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Dark Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    Yes

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    Yes

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    Yes

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Smooth

  • Usage

    Container, Cutflower, Feature Plant, Foundation, Hedges, Mixed Border, Rock Garden / Wall, Topiary / Bonsai / Espalier, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    No