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TREES & Plants

Virginal Mock-Orange

Mock-orange is an old-fashioned, back of the border, mid-to-late spring flowering shrub with sweetly scented white flowers. Dark green foliage make 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. 

Botanical name: 
Philadelphus x virginalis
All Common Names: 
Virginal Mock-Orange, Mockorange, mock orange
Family (English): 
Hydrangea
Family (Botanic): 
Hydrangeaceae
Tree or Plant Type: 
  • Shrub
Foliage: 
  • Deciduous (foliage falls off)
Native Locale: 
  • Non-native
Hardiness Zones: 
  • Zone 5
  • Zone 6
  • Zone 7
Growth Rate: 
  • Fast
Light Exposure: 
  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
  • Partial sun (4-6 hrs light daily)
Tolerances: 
  • Occasional drought
  • Alkaline soil
Soil Preference: 
  • Moist, well-drained soil
Flower Color & Fragrance: 
  • Fragrant
  • White
Size Range: 
  • Medium shrub (5-8 feet)
  • Small shrub (3-5 feet)
Shape or Form: 
  • Multi-stemmed
  • Upright
Landscape Uses: 
  • Specimen
  • Hedge
  • Mixed border
  • Screen
Time of Year: 
  • Mid spring
  • Late spring
More Information: 

Size

Typically a 5 to 8 feet tall and 5 to 6 feet wide shrub with loosly upright habit.

Tree & Plant Care

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

No serious disease or insect problems

Native geographic location and habitat

Virginal mockorange is of hybrid origin

Bark color and texture 

Peeling bark, orange to red-brown

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Leaves simple arranged oppositely (in pairs), oval, 1 1/2 to 4 inches long

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

White flowers with four petals; fragrant, 1 1/2 inches across

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

Small, dry capsules (not ornamentally important)

Cultivars and their differences 

Minnesota Snowflake  (Philadelphus x virginalis 'Minnesota Snowflake):  Fragrant, white, double flowers; larger than those of the species (up to 2 inches)