Last Updated on October 8, 2022 by Real Men Sow
Mexican Orange Blossom or Choisya ternata is a flowering, evergreen shrub native to Mexico and the southwest USA. This robust plant flowers in spring, and then again in the middle of autumn. This white flower cluster is fragrant with a sweet orange fragrance. Even the leaves release a scent when crushed.
Mexican Orange Blossom Growing Conditions
You can plant in spring and autumn in well-drained, fertile soil. You should water your plants regularly, especially in the first year. Although it can tolerate partial shade, those who receive full sunlight have higher flower yields. It will be best to have it in a sunny east-facing spot with afternoon shade from the hot summer sun. Burlap protection may be necessary if the area is exposed to bitterly cold winds in winter.
A balanced fertilizer is applied to the choisya in the early spring. Mulch added in spring can help conserve moisture.
Pruning Mexican Orange Blossom
Choisya shrubs can grow up to 1.8m (6 feet) tall, sometimes even more. But don’t let that scare you. You can prune them from a light trim to an extremely hard cut. It is a good idea to prune choisya every spring for new growth and to maintain aesthetically pleasing shapes. After the last hard freeze, you should prune choisya to restore its form or reduce its size. Also, remove all winter-damaged or dead stems.
In spring, young plants should be cut back to one-third. This encourages new shoots from the base to grow into a bushy, denser shape as it grows. To maintain a uniform, rounded appearance to mature choisya plants, it is important that they are pruned immediately after flowering. When the risk of frost has passed, trim the main stems to approximately 20-25 cm (8-10 in) above the ground.
In late spring, trim the flowers just below their flowerheads to remove any faded blooms. This will encourage another batch of blooms in the autumn.
Mexican Orange Blossom Care Guide
Size and Growth
The Mexican Orange is recommended to USDA hardiness zones 7-10. It may not survive freezing temperatures in winter. It produces thin stems and leathery, three-lobed foliage then it can reach seven feet in height after several years.
Flowers and Fragrance
This plant is also known as the Mexican orange blossom. Five petals make up the fragrant star-shaped white flowers. The blooming time is usually late spring or early summer, but may also be May or June. They can last up to a year and grow in small clusters.
The aroma doesn’t disappear after the white flowers have wilted. The aromatic leaves can also fill a room or porch with pleasant aromas throughout the year.
Temperature and Light
This plant requires lots of sun throughout the year. It is best to place it in full sun, partial shade, or in a greenhouse. Most often, the plant is too large to be indoor grown.
The Mexican orange is tolerant to cold temperatures, but prefers warm temperatures. It should be kept indoors and out of freezing temperatures. It may be protected by placing it on a covered porch in winter.
Watering and Feeding
Choisya ternata needs water to survive, especially if it is grown in a container or tub. It might need to be watered every day in the summer.
The plant only requires moderate water in winter. It is important to check the soil regularly so that it doesn’t dry out completely. However, you don’t want to overwater. You can feed the plant when it blooms, and all through the summer.
Transplanting and Soil
Choisya should be placed in fertile, well-drained soil containing a mixture of peat and moss. It is necessary to transplant the plant until it reaches maturity. If the plant is too big to move or transplant, you can remove the top layer and add new soil.
Grooming and Maintenance
To control the growth of the plant, you do not need to groom it. It can grow to seven feet in height, which is too high for a porch.