Philadelphus is an elegant, classic flowering shrub.
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 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.
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.
Philadelphus shrubs can be propagated by softwood or hardwood cuttings.
Philadelphus: problem solving
Caring for philadelphus
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 ‘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