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Extension > Garden > Yard and Garden > Trees and Shrubs > Mockorange

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Mockorange (Philadelphus spp.)

Beth Berlin and Kathy Zuzek

Plant description

Mature height: 2 to 10'
Mature width: 2 to 10'
Growth rate: Medium
Plant form: Oval, rounded
Deciduous or evergreen: Deciduous
Native range: See text below
Native to Minnesota: No
Invasive in Minnesota: No


Light: Full sun to light shade
Soil texture: Sand, loam, clay
Soil pH: prefers 4.0 - 7.0, tolerates higher
Soil moisture: moist, well-drained
Hardiness zone: 3 to 8
Pests and stresses: None serious. Visit What's wrong with my plant? – Mockorange for a list of the most common mockorange pests in Minnesota.
Other: Japanese beetle tolerant

Mockorange in the landscape

Mockoranges are fragrant, white-flowering shrubs that are used in border plantings or in screen plantings. They are adaptable across a wide range of soil textures and soil pH levels. Mockoranges perform best in moist, well-drained soils and wet soils with poor drainage should be avoided. Best bloom occurs when mockoranges are planted in full sun. Regular rejuvenation and occasional renovation pruning is necessary to maintain attractive plant habit in the landscape. Prune immediately after bloom ends. Hardiness among mockoranges varies and it is important to select cultivars that are hardy enough for survival in Minnesota.

Most mockoranges used in Minnesota landscapes are hybrids of sweet mockorange (P. coronarius) from southwestern Europe, little-leaved mockorange (P. microphyllus) native to the southern U.S. and Mexico, and/or Lewis mockorange (P. lewisii) native to Alberta, British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and California. Sweet mockorange provides fragrant flowers, little-leaved mockorange provides floral fragrance and small plant size, and Lewis mockorange is a source of fragrant flowers and winter hardiness.

Mockoranges have one season of interest and are grown for their profusion of 1 - 2", white, sweetly-fragrant, four-petaled flowers in June. Cultivars with double flowers have 8-30 petals. Flowers are produced against a backdrop of 1 ½ - 4" coarse-textured leaves that are dark green from spring through autumn. Seed capsules are small, non-ornamental, 4-valved woody capsules.

Native range of P. lewisii

The native range of P. lewisii in North America, USDA, NRCS Plants Database

Native range of P. microphyllus

The native range of P. microphyllus in North America, USDA, NRCS Plants Database

Plant habit and bloom of Blizzard

Plant habit and bloom of 'Blizzard', Bailey Nurseries

Single flower of 'Waterton'

Single flower of 'Waterton', Kathy Zuzek, UMN Extension

Double flower 'Snowbelle'

Double flower of 'Snowbelle', Kathy Zuzek, UMN Extension

Dark green foliage

Dark green foliage, Kathy Zuzek, UMN Extension

Flowers and yellow spring foliage

Flowers and yellow spring foliage of 'Aureus', Kathy Zuzek, UMN Extension

Seed capsule

Seed capsule of Philadelphus, Kathy Zuzek, UMN Extension

Traits of cultivars grown in Minnesota:

  Cultivar traits:
Cultivar Gold spring foliage Double flowers Repeat bloom Compact or dwarf habit
'Aureus' X      
'Blizzard'       X
'Buckley's Quill'   X   X
'Miniature Snowflake'   X   X
'Minnesota Snowflake'   X    
'Snowbelle'   X   X
Snow White™   X X  
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