Content Detail

Sweet mock-orange is a large, upright shrub with delightfully sweet, fragrant white flowers in early summer. An excellent shrub to use as a backdrop for smaller shrubs.

  • Family (English) Hydrangea
  • Family (botanic) Hydrangeaceae
  • Tree or plant type Shrub
  • Foliage Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
  • Native locale Non-native
  • Size range Large shrub (more than 8 feet)
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), Partial sun / shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 4, Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7, Zone 8
  • Soil preference Acid soil, Alkaline soil, Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Alkaline soil, clay soil, Occasional drought, Road salt
  • Season of interest late spring, early summer, midsummer, late summer
  • Flower color and fragrance White
  • Shape or form Multi-stemmed, Oval, Round, Upright
  • Growth rate Fast

Size & Form:

Sweet mock-orange is an upright, large shrub reaching 10 to 12 feet high and wide.

Native geographic location and habitat:

Native to southern Europe and Asia Minor.

Bark color and texture:

Slender, young stems are light brown to reddish brown with raised leaf scars. Older bark is light brown to orange and exfoliates into strips.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture:

The simple, opposite leaves are oblong and 2 to 4 inches long. They are coarsely to lightly serrated on the margins; green above, lighter below. No significant fall color.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size:

White flowers have four petals and yellow anthers. They are 1 inch across, very fragrant, and appear in early summer.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions:

Dry, four-parted capsule, 1/2 inch long, persist into winter.

Plant care:

Sweet mock-orange grows best in full sun to light shade. It will grow in most soil types except extremely wet. Prune after flowering to remove dead wood and to keep in bounds. Overgrown shrubs can get leggy and can be cut to the ground to start over.

List of pests, diseases, and tolerances: 

Cankers, leaf spots, powdery mildew and rust can be problems on this plant. It is tolerant of salt.


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