Philadelphus pekinensis
Common Name: mock orange 
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Hydrangeaceae
Native Range: Northern and western China
Zone: 5 to 8
Height: 4.00 to 6.00 feet
Spread: 4.00 to 6.00 feet
Bloom Time: May
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Hedge
Flower: Showy, Fragrant

Culture

Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to light shade. Prefers moist, organically rich soils. Tolerates a wide range of soils except poorly-drained ones. Flowers appear on the prior year’s growth, so prune as needed immediately after flowering.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Philadelphus pekinensis, commonly called mockorange, is a dense, compact, multi-stemmed, deciduous shrub that typically grows to 4-6' tall and as wide. It is native to mixed forests, thickets and mountain slopes in northern and western China and Korea. It is grown in landscapes primarily for its fragrant, creamy white, disc-shaped flowers which are lightly tinged with pale yellow. Flowers (each to 1" across) in small clusters (racemes of 3-9 flowers) cover the shrub with a fragrant and abundant bloom in spring (May in St. Louis). Each flower purportedly resembles the shape of an orange blossom, hence the common name of mockorange. Flowers give way to seed capsules. Ovate to lanceolate leaves (2-4" long) with serrate margins are glabrous beneath. Dark brown bark exfoliates with age.

Genus name comes from the Greek word philadelphus meaning loving one’s brother or sister. A Grecian and Roman family name. New York Botanical Garden suggests that the genus name instead comes from Ptolemy Philadelphus, a king of the third century B.C.

Specific epithet means of Peking (Beijing), China.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Some susceptibility to leaf spot, canker, powdery mildew and rust. Aphids, nematodes, scale and leaf miners are occasional visitors.

Garden Uses

Foundation plantings, hedges, shrub borders or low screens. This shrub has minimal ornamental interest when not in flower.