Philadelphus (Mock Orange)

Philadelphus White Single Flowers

A lovely genus of large deciduous shrubs, mainly grown for their strongly scented pure white flowers. Reliable, undemanding and easy to grow. Most varieties have single flowers but there are several good double forms.

Family: Hydrangeaceae
Botanical Name: Philadelphus
Common Names: mock orange

Foliage: Deciduous, medium sized, ovate green leaves.

Flowers: Bowl or cup-shaped, fragrant flowers. Usually creamy or brilliant white, with yellow stamens. Can be single, double or semi-double.

Flowering Period: Summer.

Soil: Moist but well-drained soil (chalk, clay, sand or loam). Any pH.

Conditions: Full sun or partial shade. Grows well in any aspect, in either a sheltered or exposed location.

Habit: Upright, bushy.

Type: Shrub.

Origin: Europe, North America.

Hardiness: Hardy in most regions of the UK.

Planting and Growing Philadelphus

Plant out in autumn or winter. Grow in an open sunny position in any good, well drained, moderately fertile garden soil. Although tolerant of partial shade, they flower much better in full sun. The golden leaved forms prefer light shade.

The main species grow to a height of between 6 to 16ft (2-5m), with a fairly upright habit. The white flowers have a sweet scent resembling that of orange blossom, hence its common name.

Loved by flower arrangers when in season. Cutting a stem or two to include in a bouquet will fill your home with beautiful scent.

They make good specimen plants or can be planted in groups or as a background for later flowering plants. Taller forms look very affective with a late-flowering clematis climbing through. They will make a reasonable hedge but they are best as sited a solitary specimen, where they will bear a greater profusion of flowers.

Still a very popular shrub for parks and gardens throughout the UK. If you are interested in growing Philadelphus, there is an impressive selection of varieties growing at Kew Gardens in London.

Taking Care of Philadelphus

Water thoroughly during dry weather until well established. Mulch with organic matter in spring and apply a general fertilizer suitable for shrubs.

Pruning Philadelphus

Prune after flowering by removing some of the old and weaker wood.

Pests and Diseases

Susceptible to attack by aphids.

Can be affected by powdery mildew or leaf spot.

Propagating Philadelphus

Take softwood cuttings in summer or hardwood cuttings in the autumn.

Popular Varieties of Philadelphus Grown in the UK

There are very many cultivars, differing mainly in height, and size and style of flower.

Philadelphus 'Albatre' is a medium sized shrub with fragrant, semi-double blooms. Height to 6ft (2m), spread to 5ft (1.5m). Available at Thompson & Morgan.

Philadelphus 'Beauclerk' is a popular hybrid with fragrant single white flowers with a central pink flush. Height to 8ft (2.4m), spread to 6ft (1.8m).

Philadelphus 'Belle Etoile' is a good bushy hybrid with prolific, fragrant, single white flowers in summer. Height to 10ft (3m), spread to 12ft (3.6m). Available at Thompson & Morgan.

Philadelphus 'Bouquet Blanc' is a lovely double/semi double form with white flowers in early summer. Height to 6ft (2m), spread to 5ft (1.5m). Available at Thompson & Morgan.

Philadelphus 'Burfordensis' is a tall, vigorous variety, with large, scentless flowers. Height to 10ft (3m).

Philadelphus 'Burkwoodii' is a medium-sized shrub with very fragrant blooms.

Philadelphus coronarius 'Aureus' is a good golden-leaved form with single fragrant flowers. Prefers a lightly shaded corner. Available at Thompson & Morgan.

Philadelphus coronarius 'Variegatus' has green leaves with lovely creamy white margins. Available at Thompson & Morgan.

Philadelphus 'Enchantment' provides a good show of fragrant double blossoms in summer. Height to 8ft (2.4m).

Philadelphus 'Manteau d'Hermine' is a dwarf form that produces a mass of flowers. Height to 3ft (1m). Available at Thompson & Morgan.

Philadelphus microphyllus is an excellent dwarf dense form, with dainty leaves that provides a good show of fragrant flowers in summer. Height to 3ft (90cm).

Philadelphus 'Silver Showers' is a small shrub with very fragrant single white flowers. Height to 3ft (1m).

Philadelphus 'Sybille' is a small shrub with very large white flowers. Height to 5ft (1.5m), spread to 8ft (2.4m).

Philadelphus Virginal' is a tall upright form with pure white, strongly scented, double or semi-double flowers. Height to 10ft (3m), spread 5ft (1.5m). Available at Thompson & Morgan.