Mexican Orange Blossom – Choisya

The popular name of Choisya ternata, Mexican orange blossom, describes both the appearance and the scent of its white flowers, most freely produced in late spring, though usually there are some more to follow in summer. The leaves are evergreen, divided and bright shining green, making this a very decorative shrub even in winter. Unfortunately, though it will withstand quite a lot of frost, it is not completely hardy, so it should be given a sunny place sheltered from north and east winds. It is not fussy about soil, does well in town gardens and can be pruned in early summer when the first blossoming is over, at which time stems can be shortened by up to 1 ft.

The Mexican orange blossom bears its white, orangeblossom-like scented flowers on and off right through the summer, and even into the winter if it is mild; its main flowering is in May. It is evergreen and hardy, but should be grown as a wall shrub in the north, and even in the south it does better on a wall, reaching a height of 2.7-3m (9-10ft). Not only the flowers are fragrant: the leaves, too, give off scent when crushed.Mexican Orange Blossom - Choisya

General care: Choisya is tolerant of most soils, but not heavy day. In the north it should be given a south-facing wall. In the south it is not so fussy, and will tolerate some shade, but shelter is important. Plant in April. Regular pruning is not needed, but any tidying up should be done in June. Any frost-damaged shoots should be cut right out in the spring.

Propagation: From semi-hardwood cuttings taken in the summer and struck in a 50-50 sand and peat mixture.

Pests and diseases: Generally trouble-free.

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