Mexican Mock Orange: Everything About The Choisya Ternata

Blooming mexican mock orange next to a wooden bench

The Mexican orange tree plays on the register of discreet elegance until the time of flowering when its powerful but delicate perfume perfumes the whole garden. Hard to resist!

In this article, I have gathered for you all the information about the Mexican mock orange shrub, its main characteristics, and what you need to know to plant and grow it.

Characteristics of the Mexican mock orange

Scientific nameChoisya ternata
Rusticity-7°C (-45°F)
ExposureSun or light shade
USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:7 to 10

The interest in this shrub of 2,50 to 3 m is due to its very decorative and aromatic glossy foliage, and to the orange blossom perfume of its white flowers, which appear as early as March in some areas. A rise can be observed in October-November. Its growth is moderately fast.

It is necessary to avoid planting another very scented species in the direct vicinity of the Mexican orange tree: the scents would be likely to blur. On the other hand, bloomings with complementary dates are to be sought.

How to grow a choisya ternata

close up view of mexican orange white flowers

Respect the cultural needs; otherwise, this rather capricious species risks vegetating or even dying. Pay attention to the good drainage of the soil and to the watering, which must be followed by a perfect drying of the ground, especially as the Mexican orange tree is sensitive to Phytophthora. It would be a pity to sin by an excess of water because it is resistant to drought.

Pruning after flowering should be measured, to maintain full growth. Remove a quarter to a third of the length of the year’s shoots.

How to grow a Mexican orange shrub in a pot

Give a large volume to the Mexican orange tree: a container of 30 cm of side or diameter at least for a small plant bought in container of 3 or 4 liters. Mix 1/4 of heather soil with potting soil and place a 5 cm layer of clay balls in the bottom.

Place in a good exposure, away from draughts, and make sure to water regularly.

Where to plant a Mexican orange shrub

The Mexican orange tree is a perfect background for your decor.

You can also plant it alone but not too isolated, and dress its foot with flowering perennials.

You can cultivate it in big pots – 50 cm in diameter approximately – for some years.

Little tip: Marry it with plants that grow in rounded clumps, such as rockroses, santolina, and lavender.

Our selection

close up view of choisya ternata white flowers

In addition to the standard species, some English varieties are available, such as:

  • Sundance‘, with bright light green to almost yellow foliage, suitable for lighting up beds
  • Aztec Pearl‘, with smaller and finer foliage than the type and larger flowers.
  • Goldfinger‘ is distinguished by its thin, almost yellow leaves.


The Mexican orange tree is a hidden gem that deserves more attention. Its glossy evergreen leaves and white flowers, which emit a powerful yet delicate scent, make it a must-have for any garden. But like any capricious species, it requires special care and attention to thrive. Proper soil drainage, watering, and pruning are essential for a healthy Mexican orange tree.

Whether you choose to plant it in the ground or in a pot, this shrub is sure to add a touch of understated elegance to your outdoor space.

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