Philadelphus 'Minnesota Snowflake'

How to grow philadelphus (mock orange)

Find out all you need to know about growing philadelphus (mock orange), in our practical Grow Guide.

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Plant
Plant

Do not Plant in January

Do not Plant in February

Do Plant in March

Do not Plant in April

Do not Plant in May

Do not Plant in June

Do not Plant in July

Do not Plant in August

Do not Plant in September

Do Plant in October

Do Plant in November

Do not Plant in December

Flowers
Flowers

Plant does not flower in January

Plant does not flower in February

Plant does not flower in March

Plant does not flower in April

Plant does flower in May

Plant does flower in June

Plant does flower in July

Plant does not flower in August

Plant does not flower in September

Plant does not flower in October

Plant does not flower in November

Plant does not flower in December

Take cuttings
Take cuttings

Do not Take cuttings in January

Do not Take cuttings in February

Do Take cuttings in March

Do Take cuttings in April

Do not Take cuttings in May

Do not Take cuttings in June

Do Take cuttings in July

Do not Take cuttings in August

Do not Take cuttings in September

Do not Take cuttings in October

Do not Take cuttings in November

Do not Take cuttings in December

Prune
Prune

Do not Prune in January

Do not Prune in February

Do not Prune in March

Do not Prune in April

Do not Prune in May

Do not Prune in June

Do Prune in July

Do Prune in August

Do not Prune in September

Do not Prune in October

Do not Prune in November

Do not Prune in December

Philadelphus is an elegant, classic flowering shrub.

Advertisement

It’s long been been a garden favourite for its white blooms, which are deliciously scented, giving it the common name of mock orange. These beautiful pure white flowers appear in late spring and summer against a smart backdrop of dark green foliage. A medium-sized deciduous shrub, philadelphus will suit most gardens with the right, sunny growing conditions.

It’s sometimes considered to be a one-hit wonder, as it does tend to fade into insignificance once the flowers have gone over. But if you have room, it’s worth including in any successional display of summer blooms and scent.

Take a look at our comprehensive philadelphus Grow Guide, below.


Where to grow philadelphus

Philadelphus 'Mexican Jewel'
Philadelphus ‘Mexican Jewel’

Philadelphus grows best in moist but well-drained soil in full sun. A mature philadelphus will look good growing in a mixed border. But it will also do well planted in a large container, near seating or near a doorway where you can make the most of the fragrant flowers.


Planting philadelphus

Plant philadelphus as you would any larger shrub. Dig a generous hole, adding a spadeful of well-rotted compost and a sprinkling of mycorrhizal fungi. Back fill the hole, firm the soil and water in well.

Related content:

Six ways to help shrubs and trees to establish quickly

Video: Monty Don offers tips on planting shrubs


Propagating philadelphus

Philadelphus shrubs can be propagated by softwood or hardwood cuttings.

How to take softwood cuttings

How to take hardwood cuttings


Philadelphus: problem solving

Philadelphus can be prone to aphids, but no other significant pests. Keep well watered in dry periods to avoid powdery mildew.


Caring for philadelphus

Pruning Philadelphus x lemoinei 'Erectus'
Pruning Philadelphus x lemoinei ‘Erectus’

To keep philadelphus shrubs in shape, cut back the shoots after flowering, down to a strong bud. Flowers appear on stems from the previous season’s growth, so if you have to hard prune an older, established philadelphus, be prepared to lose out on the flowers for a year or so while it recovers. Follow our step-by-step guide to pruning spring flowering shrubs.


Philadelphus varieties to grow

Philadelphus 'White Rock'
Philadelphus ‘White Rock’
Advertisement
  • Philadelphus ‘Minnesota Snowflake’ – with cascading stems of double flowers, this is a stunning example of philadelphus. It makes a great focal point in a border or large container
  • Philadelphus ‘White Rock’ – an upright shrub with cascading stems of fragrant, semi-double blooms. It’s well suited to growing in a large container
  • Philadelphus ‘Mexican Jewel’ – with a shrubby, open habit, the white flowers have a purple centre, and an intense fragrance
  • Philadelphus ‘Belle Etoile’ – a popular choice, this is a compact philadelphus with single white flowers with purple centres, appearing in late spring and early summer
  • Philadelphus coronarius ‘Aureus’ – the foliage of this philadelphus is a limey-golden green when young, giving it an added zing. Flowers are typically white and scented