Virginal mock-orange

Leaves of virginal mock-orange.

Mock-orange is an old-fashioned, back of the border, late spring to early summer flowering shrub with sweetly scented white flowers. Dark green foliage makes an attractive background for pure white flowers.  It has limited ornamental value in other seasons, but the double-flowering cultivars are bringing popularity back to this plant. 

This plant has some cultivated varieties. Go to list of cultivars.

Botanical name:

Philadelphus x virginalis

All Common Names:

Virginal mock-orange, mockorange, mock orange

Family (English):


Family (Botanic):


Tree or Plant Type:

  • Shrub


  • Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)

Native Locale:

  • Non-native

Landscape Uses:

  • Hedge,
  • Mixed border,
  • Screen,
  • Specimen

Size Range:

  • Medium shrub (5-8 feet),
  • Small shrub (3-5 feet),
  • Low-growing shrub (under 3 feet)

Light Exposure:

  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily),
  • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)

Hardiness Zones:

  • Zone 5 (Chicago),
  • Zone 6,
  • Zone 7

Soil Preference:

  • Moist, well-drained soil

Season of Interest:

  • Mid spring,
  • Late spring

Flower Color & Fragrance:

  • Fragrant,
  • White

Shape or Form:

  • Mounded,
  • Multi-stemmed,
  • Upright

Growth Rate:

  • Fast

More Information:


Typically a 5 to 8 feet high and wide shrub with a loosly upright habit.
Cultivars are more compact and smaller in size.

Tree & Plant Care

Best in full sun to part shade. Prefers moist, well-drained soil with plenty of organic matter added.
Best placed at the back of the border; smaller plants work well in perennial gardens, foundations or shrub borders.
Prune after flowering.  Annual pruning is recommended to remove stems that tend to become leggy.

Disease, pests, and problems

Scale, rust, powdery mildew

Native geographic location and habitat

Virginal mockorange is of hybrid origin

Bark color and texture 

Orange to red-brown, older stems have exfoliating bark.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Opposite, 1 1/2 to 4 inches long and 2 inches wide, dark green with pointed tips.
Fall color is yellow-brown.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Four petaled, 1 1/2 inches across with many yellow stamens;  bright white; fragrant.
Many cultivars have bright white double flowers

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

Small, 4-valved dry capsule, persistant into winter months

Cultivars and their differences 

Minnesota Snowflake Mockorange (Philadelphus x virginalis 'Minnesota Snowflake):  Compact, 2 to 3 feet high and 1 to 2 feet wide; fragrant, white, double flowers; larger than those of the species (up to 2 inches). Flowers of the cultivar 'Minnesota Snowflake'

Minature Snowflake Mockorange (Philadelphus 'Miniature Snowflake'): Dwarf, compact 2 to 3 feet high and 1 to 2 feet wide; double white, fragrant  flowers.

Snow Belle Mockorange (Philadelphus 'Snow Belle'): Mounded, 3 to 4 feet high and wide; fragrant, double, pure white flowers.

Snow White Sensation Mockorange (Philadelphus 'Snow White Sensation): Vase-shaped, 5 to 6 feet high and wide; clusters of 2-inch wide, double white fragrant flowers


Location of Philadelphus x virginalis (Virginal mock-orange) at the Arboretum

We do not seem to have this in our living collection.