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Choisya ternata (photo courtesy of Linda Lamb Peters)
Choisya ternata (photo courtesy of Linda Lamb Peters)

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Zone
Zones 6-9, 14-31
Full SunPartial Sun
Full, Partial
Regular WaterMinimal Water
Moderate, Minimal

Choisya ternata

Mexican Orange, Mock Orange
Rutaceae
Evergreen, Shrubs

Mexican native hardy to 15°F/°9°C. Fast growing to 6–8 ft. tall and wide. Lustrous, rich green leaves held toward ends of branches are divided into fans of three leaflets to 3 in. long. Fans give the shrub a dense, massive look—but with highlights and shadows. Clusters of fragrant white flowers, somewhat like small orange blossoms, open in late winter or early spring and are in bloom continuously for at least two months, then intermittently through summer. Appealing to bees. Sometimes called mock orange.

Attractive as an informal hedge or screen. During growing season, thin out older branches in plant’s center to force leafy new interior growth. Cut freely for decoration when in bloom.

Touchy about soil conditions—difficult to grow in alkaline soils or where water is high in salts. Under such conditions, amend the soil as for azaleas. They are prone to root rot and crown rot if drainage is poor. Subject to damage from sucking insects and mites.

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