MEXICAN ORANGE

FAMILY: Rutaceae | GENUS: CHOISYa ternata

TYPE
  • Evergreen
  • Shrubs
SUN EXPOSURE
  • Full Sun
  • Partial Shade
WATER
  • Moderate Water
PLANTING ZONES
  • LS (Lower South) / Zone 8
  • CS (Coastal South) / Zone 9

Plant Details

This Mexican native grows quickly to 68 ft. tall and often slightly wider. Lustrous, rich green leaves are held toward ends of branches; each leaf is divided into a fan of three leaflets to 3 in. long. Fans give shrub a dense, massive lookbut with highlights and shadows. Clusters of fragrant white flowers, somewhat like small orange blossoms, open in late winter or early spring and bloom continuously for a couple of months, then intermittently through summer. Appealing to bees. Hardy to 15F. Sometimes called Mexican mock orange. Foliage of 'Sundance' is yellow when young, gradually turning green. 'Aztec Gold' and 'Aztec Pearl' (C. x dewitteana) are more compact at 36 ft. tall and have narrower leaves; white flowers open in spring and sometimes again in summer.

All make attractive informal hedges or screens. 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 conditionsdifficult to grow in alkaline soils or where water is high in salts. Under such conditions, amend soil as for azaleas (Rhododendron). Good in large containers. Prone to root rot and crown rot if drainage is poor. Subject to damage from sucking insects and mites, but not browsed by deer.

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