The Choisya ternata [CHOY-see-uh ter-NAY-tuh] known as the Mexican orange blossom is an evergreen shrub with attractive foliage and aromatic flowers.
Choisya is a member of the family Rutaceae with the Murraya paniculata (mock orange jasmine), commonly known as the citrus family.
Many of the shrubs in this family produce edible fruit. However, Choisya is a flowering shrub with delicate white flowers.
Besides Mexican mock-orange, the plant is often listed with the common names:
- Mexican Orange
- Mexican Orange Blossom
- Mexican Orange Flower
Whichever variation of the name used, follow these care tips to keep this lovely plant in top shape.
Choisya Ternata Mexian Orange Flower Care
Size and Growth
The Mexican Orange is recommended for USDA hardiness zones 7 to 10 and may not survive freezing temperatures in the winter.
The plant produces thin stems with leathery, three-lobed leaves. After several years, it can easily reach heights of seven feet.
Flowering and Fragrance
As mentioned, this plant is commonly called the Mexican orange blossom.
The fragrant white star-shaped flowers contain five petals and resemble orange blossoms. They also produce an aromatic scent.
The bloom time is typically late spring, early summer – May or June. They grow in little clusters and may last into the fall.
NOTE: The orange blossom bush periodically re-blooms in late summer.
After the white flowers wilt, the aroma does not go away. The leaves are also very aromatic, filling a porch or room with a pleasant scent throughout the year.
Light and Temperature
This plant needs lots of sunlight throughout the year. Consider placing it on a patio where it gets plenty of full sun or partial shade or in a greenhouse.
In most cases, the plant is much too large for indoor growth.
The Mexican orange prefers warm temperatures and can tolerate cooler temps in the winter.
Make sure you avoid leaving it outdoors in freezing conditions. Setting it on a covered porch may protect it through the winter.
Watering and Feeding
Choisya ternata drinks up water, especially when grown in a tub or container. It may need watering every day during the summer.
In the winter, it only needs moderate water. Check the soil occasionally to keep it from completely drying out while avoiding overwatering.
Feed when the plant blooms and throughout the rest of the summer.
Soil and Transplanting
Place Choisya in a fertile, well-drained soil with a mixture of peat moss.
Transplanting is often needed until the plant reaches maturity, as it may outgrow smaller containers.
If the plant is too large to move or transplant, remove the top layer of soil and add fresh soil.
Maintenance And Grooming
Grooming is only needed to control the growth of the plant. As mentioned, it can reach heights of seven feet, which may be too big for a covered porch.
NOTE: When shaping the shrub, make cuts above the sprouts.
How to Propagate Choisya Ternata
Propagate Choisya from semi-hardwood cuttings, in the spring or early summer. Each cutting needs to be at least three to four inches.
The cuttings don’t always take root. To increase the chances of successful propagation, dip the cuttings in root hormone.
Place the cuttings in a peat moss and perlite mix and keep the soil moist. Cover the containers with a plastic bag with holes for ventilation.
Within a couple of weeks, the plants should hopefully take root. Remove the plastic bags and follow the standard Mexican orange care tips.
Mexican Orange Blossom Problems – Pests or Disease
There are no toxic effects reported for the choisya ternata. It’s safe for planting in areas where children or pets play.
Watch out for some of the usual pests, including aphids and whiteflies. The flies particularly are attracted to the pleasant aromas of the plant.
If you detect black, sooty deposits on the leaves, aphids are likely the culprits. The soot grows on their excrement and is easily wiped off using a damp cloth.
Both whiteflies and aphids can be dealt with using insecticide like Neem oil. With aphids, it’s also possible to wash the pests away with water.
Besides pests, pay attention to other signs of problems with the plant.
Some of the most common issues include pale leaves and leaves falling off.
Pale leaves typically mean the plant is not getting enough nutrients. Start using an acid-based fertilizer to solve the problem.
If the leaves fall off in the summer, the plant is not getting enough water. If the leaves fall off in the winter, it’s likely too warm.
Suggested Choisya Ternata Uses
The Choisya ternata is lovely when it’s in full bloom and deserves to be shown off in the garden design.
As it grows too big for indoor growth, the best spots include covered backyard patios, porches and greenhouses.
If you live in a warmer region, the plant may grow well next to a fence or around the inside border of a garden bed.