Fake orange is toxic to cats

No flowers on false orange: why a false orange blossom does not bloom

By: Darcy Larum, landscape architect

It's late spring and the neighborhood is filled with the sweet scent of replica orange blossoms. You check your mock orange and it doesn't have a single bloom, but everyone else is covered in them. Unfortunately you are wondering: "Why isn't my pseudo orange blooming?" Read on to learn why there aren't any flowers on Mock Orange.

Why a Mock Orange Bush Doesn't Bloom

Hardy in zones 4-8, replicated orange bushes bloom in late spring to early summer. When mock orange is pruned, it is important for future flower development. Like lilac, mock orange should be pruned right after the flowers have faded. Cutting too late in the season can cut off next year's buds. This will prevent a mock orange from blooming for the next year. Mock Orange benefits from pruning once a year after the flowers have faded. Also, remove any dead, diseased, or damaged branches to ensure the general health and good looks of your recreated orange bush.

Improper fertilization can also be a reason why a replicated orange bush does not bloom. Too much nitrogen from lawn fertilizers can cause a fake orange to grow tall and bushy, but not bloom. Nitrogen promotes beautiful, lush, green foliage on plants, but inhibits the blooms. If all of the plant's energy gets into the foliage, it will not be able to develop flowers. In areas where mock orange may be receiving too much lawn fertilizer, replant the planting site with mock orange or plant a buffer of deciduous plants between the lawn and mock orange. These plants can take up much of the nitrogen before it gets into the shrub. Also, use fertilizers high in phosphorusto to make a mock orange bloom.

Mock orange also needs sufficient light to bloom. When we plant our landscapes they are young and small, but when they grow they can cast shadows on each other. If your mock orange isn't getting full sun, you likely won't get many, if any, blooms. If possible, cut off any plants that will shade the mock orange. In some cases, you may need to dig up your mock orange and move it to a place where it can get full sun.

This article was last updated on

Read more about Mock Orange

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service offered by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and needs to take a break to catch up. We hope to answer new questions again soon. Many Thanks!

Do you need help with plant identification? Visit the plant identification page.

Rate this answer

Monday - March 3, 2008

Of: Austin, TX
Region: southwest
Theme: Diseases and disorders, pruning, shrubs
Title: Improvement in bloom on sham orange
Answered by: Barbara Medford



We typically comment on the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center's expertise in plants native to North America. However, we note that plants known as "mock orange" are not only native to North America but also to Asia and parts of Europe. So we're just going to single out one that shows up in our Native Plant Database and use it as an example.

We assume that possibly your shrub is Philadelphus microphyllus (Littleleaf Mock Orange) which is native to the southwest from Texas to California. It blooms with white flowers in March, April and May. The problem with flowering shrubs that don't bloom, native or not, is often too little sunshine or too much lawn fertilizer. Of course, if you have it in full sun in Austin, that's not the problem. Lawn fertilizer, which may be spread a little further than the lawn, will be high in nitrogen for green grass leaves (or leaves). A plant that you want to bloom but give too much nitrogen will go lazy and will not bloom. A plant has only one goal in life and that is to reproduce itself. In order to make seeds, it has to make flowers, but unless it feels a little insecure about its future, it will not use the considerable energy to create the flowers. Another suggestion concerns the way in which you prune your recreated orange bushes. The best time to prune most flowering shrubs is right after flowering. Pruning back the outer stems that have flowered with each cut should be done right above a strong outer bud or new shoot. From these buds, the next year's flowers appear.

So they say how can I prune it right after it blooms when it never blooms? We are now in bloom for your mock orange. If it's not bloated on nitrogen, hopefully some flowering attempts will be made so you can find the areas to prune. If that still doesn't work and you don't get satisfactory blooms next year, we'd vote to dig it up.

More questions about diseases and disorders

Dealing with live oak lollipops in central Texas
March 05, 2015 - Hello, I have some huge live oak trees in my garden. Logs are 4 'in diameter. These live oaks produce a lot of root shoots / suckers. It was always in my mind that the roots of a tree feed on water / oxyg.
See the full question and answer

Problems with Crossvine from Semmes AL
Jan 06, 2013 - I have a 3 year old cross vine (mandarin beauty) and the leaves are starting to turn black and fall off the plant. I have two plants growing on the same pergola (opposite ends) and the second plan.
See the full question and answer

Growth on Shumard Red Oak leaves from Katy TX
April 01, 2013 - Our beautiful Shumard Red Oak has developed many light green, grape-like growths on the leaves. Please let us know what this could be and how we should treat it.
See the full question and answer

Non-flowering Tecoma can be found in Fredericksburg, TX
Jun 30, 2008 - We have an Esperanza plant that was purchased from Walmart last year and planted outside before winter. It flowered brilliantly last year. Just before winter, we cut it back to about a foot. So much for this summer.
See the full question and answer

Yellowed leaves on Carolina Jessamine of Las Vegas NV
March 21, 2014 - Carolina Jessamine has yellow leaves. 3 years old, growing on the south wall, full sun. The same plant has green leaves in partial shade. Should I feed yellowish plants with nitrogen? When Yes, how much?
See the full question and answer


4801 La Crosse Ave.
Austin, TX 78739
Contact us

Plant mock orange

That's a good idea to plant your mock orange in the fall but you can too Plant in spring if you can water regularly for the first year after planting.

  • Choose a mostly sunny spot, but not too hot.
  • Mock-Orange can only withstand partial sun, especially in warm areas.
  • It likes light, well-drained soil and hates moist soil.
  • Follow our tips for planting shrubs.

Propagating mock orange, technology and timing

Mock orange can be easily propagated by cuttings, it is even the easiest way to produce new mock orange trees altogether.

  • Propagate your hard wood cuttings in February.
  • Propagate your cuttings from young shoots in spring and until June.

Mock orange scent

When I was a kid my mom had a large mock orange in the back yard. When it bloomed, it filled the courtyard with fragrance. It even grew in the shade, something I now have in abundance. I have been trying to recreate this fragrance for several years. I haven't had any luck taking cuttings from Mommy's Mock Orange, I'll try again this year. I bought a fancy mock orange at a local kindergarten. Firstly, it does not bloom in the shade, and secondly, having moved it to a relatively sunny place, when it blooms there are few precious flowers and no fragrance worth mentioning. Not what I was looking for. I looked around this website (grinned) and noticed many types of mock orange. My question is, regardless of what the flower looks like, would I want the most flavorful mock orange that I would buy. Ideas?

I have wild sparkling oranges around my house, but they don't have the scent that I remember. Years ago, however, I had a Mexican orange that smelled much stronger and has not found one since.

I take that back. I found one, but it was good for hardiness zone 6 and I now live in zone 5. When I had one before, I was in zone 8.

So I don't know anything about Maryland. That could be the killer there.

I was blessed with my first flowers this year - I can't say the scent blew me away, but after a few more openings and a pleasant scent - photo below. I have planted a different variety in my garden but will probably not have flowers until next year. My first mock orange was what Bluestone sells. The second was from Buggy Crazy and was called Philadelphus lewisii http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/520/

This message was edited on June 29, 2009 at 4:56 pm

I bought a very small replica orange "slip" which is arguably the term for an online kindergarten that has gone out of business and the name of the variety was "Innocence". If you google it you will find that many nurseries claim it is one of the most fragrant, if not the most fragrant, mock orange variety. It is very fragrant indeed - my main problem with it seems to be that the deer like to eat the new growth and buds. Otherwise it's going very well.

I wonder if your parents' pale orange was originally in the sun, but has become more shady as the area matured. I'm just wondering.

Thank you for your answer and very interesting. I have several cuttings of Mommy's Mock Orange and so far so good. But I have to say that I've had little to no luck in the past. But this time I'm something else, especially a pot with an overturned and taped acrylic bottle. A little gibberellic acid and we'll see.

You're right. When mom first owned the land, it was farmland and it was open and sunny. Now mother nature is taking over and the mock orange is in the shade. I'll keep trying. Let me know when you hear a little more about fragrant Mock Orange types.

Yes, that's what Bluestone has - they listed it as: "PHILADELPHUS INNOCENCE (x. Lemoinei)" - that's what I pictured above.

Chantell, what is the hardiness zone? I really love her, but may have to stick with the wild ones. They are the Idaho state flower just called Syringa.

Here is the Plantfile page http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/80959, although the DG file is sometimes wary of winter hardiness.

They are really nice. I've never seen a colorful one. I will try to take a picture of my wild one to show you.

Hmmm, now I'm going to ask for my ID. I don't think it's brightly colored.

I should know better than let Chantell lead me away like that. Not only will I be satisfied with the individual flowers of innocence, they also have a fragrant double, virginalis. I also spotted a single Kerria jaonica. Two weeks ago I brought home a fragrant olive tree because of this shape.

We have mock orange and last year I rooted some along with Figo, Kerria and others. Our mock orange has no scent and why would anyone grow such a plant when there are others that smell so good. We set up a timer for our spray system so I can root a higher percentage of the cuttings. If all goes well I would like to work out some trades with some of you on this form. I could send root plants of something you want for multiple cuttings of something I want. Why should we limit our gardens to plants that are only pleasing to the eye?

I have a replica orange Belle Etoile that I consider a choice. (I even named my first Cologne after it). It's not big enough to take cuttings, but maybe next year!

"I should know better than to let Chantell". What does that mean for a prayer? I do not lead. I just pass on my opinion about fragrances that I like. Unfortunately, my two sweet olives died. I just bought a big old one from our Lowes. I am determined to find out what they like and keep at least one alive.
Oh mercy Dabney. another one. I already have two. This forum will still be the death of me. LOL

Well, I took a picture of my mock orange today and the batteries in the camera were dead. Also, I've found that the plant is past its flowering time, so I'm not going to expose you all to an ugly plant. LOL, no, just not as nice as it was.

Alnwick Gardens has a wonderful 'Belle Etoile' shrub. It smells like chewing gum.

This is a very beautiful picture! I recognize a lot of 'grapes' from this one.

OT but Kenboy, how are your sweet olives that you bought? I'm trying to keep one alive just one and i will be happy.

Chantelle, did you get your olive from seeds? I have seeds but have never tried them. I gave something to my daughter a few months ago and I think she started it. That will be fun. I told her to use one for me. She has patience when they take a long time. Not me.

Me? Seed? I'm sure you're kidding! LOL I'm terrible at keeping up with them. sad but true. How neat your DD will be for you !!

When I first got my olive tree, it was spindle-shaped and root-bound. I put the pot where I wanted to plant it and forgot about it for a few days. When I found it, it had lost more leaves and looked stressed. I planted it where it would get filtered sunlight because it's hard to find fully sunny areas in my garden. As soon as I planted it, it perked up and sent out new growth and a small flower. It's seen several days with 100+ temperatures and seems fine. I didn't douse it just because there are too many other plants that need it. The picture was taken this morning.

Thanks for the KB update! I think I'll get mine in the ground ASAP then. Might even be able to divide it into 2-3 plants - I would love it if it did well in the soil versus pot - definitely.

What is the hardiness zone for them? I'm sure almost anything in the ground would be better than pots. Will it be okay in your Chantell zone? I see KB is in Texas.

How do you divide it into multiple plants?

Although my zone is 7A, I am blessed with a south-facing yard and brick front - I surprised myself with things that survived when planted in this area. I will probably try and see how she is doing. As for the layout - I picked the pot (a 3 gallon size) which contains 3 separate sturdy "stems".

Good for you, Chantell. Good luck dividing the plant up. Let us know how to do it.

Ahhh thanks! If she doesn't want to let go of her "sisters", I won't force it. Better to keep the plant and then injure it. bound and determined to get one of these going for me !!

That's the olive, isn't it? I hope. Jeanette

Sorry J. yes related to a sweet olive. I am causing confusion. Pooh.

No, you are not. I just wanted to make sure I was still in the right investment. LOL

LOL - thanks for the "save". You have a wonderful day too. I believe in the state I was born in, which I haven't seen since I was one year old. sad isn't it?

Sorry, I am new to this field.But what kind of olives do you grow from seeds and why? I don't remember an olive tree being particularly pretty. I don't remember what the flowers look like. . or is that just a personal challenge?

I tried growing mock orange from seeds. The seed germinated OK, but one thing is for sure, it does not breed! The flowers varied from ok to insignificant and none of them were fragrant.

Tucci - here is the link for those listed in Plantfiles: http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/b/Oleaceae/Osmanthus/fragrans/cultivar/0/ What "why?" - I would say 99% of my plants are not grown for visual reasons, but I enjoy their scent. If they're pretty, that's secondary to me. just my personal preference.
As for the mock orange. I haven't found them to be highly fragrant. but this year my first experience with flowers.

Chantell, I bet you could grow the Mexican orange. I had this in Seattle and it was so fragrant. I had it on my kitchen door and every time I went out it smelled really good. I wish I could grow it now, but I'm zone 5.

It is also an attractive plant.

Jeanette - is this the plant you are talking about? http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/1842/ I had never heard of it - until you mentioned it.

It sure looks like this. Especially the leaves. They are a very characteristic "floret" variety. If that's the word I'm looking for. The reviews are weird for that, however. They say it has no scent, they say it smells of honey, and of all people the "neutral" one says it smells of orange and even the leaves smell of orange.

So I would say if I really wanted one thing that I would do when they grew up here, I would check out a kindergarten like The Big Dipper's website. They are a kindergarten outside of Seattle. Only in your area.

Very wise suggestion. Nothing is more disappointing than expecting a plant to have a great scent and then. Nadda. I just have one of my tropics in full bloom that has absolutely NO smell to detect. I know scent is subjective. but NOT against some. Well Houston. we have a problem. LOL

Chantell - Thanks for calling me on the Sweet Olive. That’s fascinating. I'm tempted to try my luck with Sweet Olive even though I live in Maryland, winter might be a little too cool. I am assuming from your email day that you must live in the middle of Virginia. Is that right? What are you doing to bring the sweet olive through the winter? I noticed that the genus and species is Osmanthus fragrans, which is the same genus as false holly. Osmanthus heterophyllus (False Holly) is sold here, and I noticed today that one is being described as fragrant. I didn't ask, but I assume they will survive the winter as they are sold locally. Thoughts? That's great!

Tucci, don't assume they'll make it through the winter there. Check the plant files for the hardiness zone. Chantell will likely pick it up in winter. I think they only go to zone 8. Could be wrong but I would double check before buying one.

By the way, many kindergartens sell things that can't get winter to where they are. I think they should be honest and put a pretty big sign on the plant.

Hmmm good question. I think there is a cute olive that is supposedly tougher than some of the others, but I'm not sure how tough it is. other than the "generic" ones we find in our big stores. I bought one of these locally and plan to plant it in the ground. My front is facing south. I also have a brick front, so there is a bit of a microclimate. The others were brought in for the winter (unfortunately didn't make it. So I'll give each other a chance. Ugh) Here is the page with the harder Sweet Olive Osmanthus fragrans 'Aurantiacus'. By the way - great people and amazingly large plants. Kindergartens Caroliniana http://www.nurcar.com/cagtalogue/html/NurCarCatalogueStart.htm

I would like to buy Osmanthus fragrans 'Aurantiacus', but I have a question first. I've tried before to bring in tender plants for the winter. Finally a gardenia. The problem is that in my experience they tend to harbor whiteflies and similar insects. Of course, whiteflies are pretty easy to get rid of, but (and that's a big one, but) the whiteflies attack my wife's ming tree as well. It's an old, pretty tall plant with a story as long as my marriage was, in my case it is a long time indeed. The Ming is sacred in my home. My question about these different varieties of osmanthus that humans bring in for the winter tends to develop insect or disease problems during the winter months as they band together with the rest of us inside. (I have to say, however, that I know myself well enough to know that I will buy O. fragrans at my first opportunity.)

My experience (please remember that this was my first year wintering the sweet olives) is that THEY were not prone to insects - although the breasts I brought in were the culprits and I believe they were the culprits. These plants were bought in December so were in the house first. I will tell to myself that there was no beetle on arrival - no whitefly, no spider mites, no aphids.

Does Mock Orange Grow Fast?

Read here, you can find more details here. Also asked, does pseudo orange grow fast?

Then if you to do Get flowers, prune them immediately after they bloom, remove the stems the flowers were on and any obvious old or dead material. Ridicule-Oranges can take a pretty serious cut as they to grow quite fast. Pruning annually after flowering will help keep the shrub healthy and strong.

Also, is Philadelphus growing fast? Philadelphus is easy to to grow Shrub that blooms in late spring and early summer. Philadelphus has very attractive flowers and a wonderful scent, which is why it is also known as The Mock Orange Shrub. Philadelphus is glad to grow in most cases with a preference for sun or partial sun.

Do you also know how long it takes for Mock Orange to grow?

They are deciduous (lose their leaves in winter) and produce their flowers for about five weeks from mid-June to the end of August, depending on local conditions. They are often planted by councils in parks and on country estates for the simple reason that they look beautiful in flowers but require almost no attention.

Why is it called sham orange?

you are called "mock-orange"in terms of their flowers, which in wild species look similar to those of something Oranges and lemons (citrus) at first sight and smell of orange Flowers and jasmine (Jasminum).

Which is the most fragrant Philadelphus (mock orange) shrub

The enchanting citrus-like, fresh scent of the mock orange is often the first attraction to add this plant to a garden. And a frequently asked question is which fake orange has the strongest odor. While most types and strains have a strong odor, there are some that are stronger than others.

At the top of the list is that P. coronarius or "Sweet Mock Orange" that has a rich, intense fragrance. It is said to be the most fragrant of all kinds. It's a large shrub, up to 3.5 meters tall and just as wide when fully mature, so it may not be suitable for all gardens. The smaller one P. microphyllus or "Littleleaf Mock Orange" is also very fragrant and grows to only about 0.75 meters. There are also some cultivated hybrids with highly fragrant flowers, like this one P. "avalanche" and P. "Belle Etoile". Keep these names in mind and check your local gardening store to see what varieties of mock oranges are available in your area.

Allergen and poison

Philadelphus lewisii has a very strong orange blossom scent. It can be irritating to people with sensitive noses. The pseudo orange is classified as a mild allergen in the pollen library. There are no significant difficulties, but the pollen and smell of the plant can be responsible for mild hay fever reactions. Mock orange is poisonous to cats. Other pets and humans will have no problem, but the feline family members should be kept away from Philadephus lewisii.

  • Philadelphus lewisii has a very strong orange blossom scent.
  • There are no significant difficulties, but the pollen and smell of the plant can be responsible for mild hay fever reactions.

Watch the video: Tie a natural spring bouquet with flowers from the garden - IKO Flowers promo film