The mockorange belongs to the Philadelphus genus and typically grows into a small or medium-sized shrub. There are several different species and cultivated varieties, or cultivars, of mockorange available, each with its own mature height and spread. Mockorange shrubs are beloved for their fragrant white flowers that resemble orange tree blossoms.
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Depending on the cultivar, mockorange shrubs can vary in size and other characteristics. The most common species is known as the sweet mockorange or Philadelphus coronarius, which typically reaches 10 to 12 feet tall and wide. This mockorange species grows fast, developing a rounded shape and blooming in spring with sweetly-scented, white, four-petaled flowers. Its leaves remain medium to dark green throughout the year. Another common species is the littleleaf mockorange, or Philadelphus microphyllus, which grows just 3 to 4 feet tall.
The two main cultivars of the sweet mockorange are Aureus and Variegatus. Aureus grows to only 5 feet tall and wide, with yellowish foliage, while Variegatus has variegated green leaves with creamy-white edges and reaches a mature size closer to the sweet mockorange species. One of the smallest mockorange cultivars is the Miniature Snowflake, which grows only 3 feet tall and wide. The Bouquet Blanc reaches just 4 feet tall and wide in a mound-like growth habit, while the Galahad grows 5 to 7 feet in height and spread. The hybrid called Lemoine, or Philadelphus x lemoinei, has the same mature size as Galahad, while Glacier variety grows up to 7 feet and the Minnesota Snowflake cultivar grows 7 to 8 feet tall and wide. Among the largest mockorange type is the hybrid Philadelphus x virginalis, or Virginal Mockorange, which reaches an ultimate height and spread of 10 to 13 feet.
Mockorange shrubs grow well in most types of soils, as long as they're well-draining. They prefer full sunlight exposure for optimal flowering and can tolerate winter temperatures as low as minus 25 to minus 30 degrees Fahrenheit. Mockoranges can tolerate wind and alkaline soils, and are suitable for growing as individual specimens, borders and screens. How you space your mockorange shrub will depend on the specific variety of mockorange you plant.
One of the most important elements of caring for your mockorange is annual pruning. Although most mockorange shrubs grow in a naturally rounded, upright form with arching branches, their growth forms can change in older shrubs. As the mockorange ages, the shrub can grow large and "leggy," requiring regular pruning every year to keep its shape, size and appearance. In fact, most mockorange varieties do well with regular renewal or "rejuvenation" pruning, which involves removing up to one-third of the oldest and largest stems, cutting them back to the ground.
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