Mexican Orange Blossom or Choisya ternata: A wonderful flowering and fragrant plant for containers, balconies, and garden
Originally from Mexico and surrounding areas, orange flowers were introduced to Europe in 1826. They are named after the Swiss gardener Denis Choisy. The Mexican orange flower (Choisya ternata) is not only grown for its beautiful flowers in late April to late May, but also for its evergreen foliage. They are pale yellow to lime green in color and bloom from March to November.
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Is the Mexican Orange Flower right for you – read this list
Read the checklist below to decide if Choisya ternata is right for the conditions in your garden or balcony.
- They do best in full sun but can also grow in partial shade.
- Plants are partially frost hardy to around -3 °C
- They have no preference for any particular soil type but do not grow in extremely acidic or alkaline soil.
- Orange flowers tolerate periods of drought, especially when grown outdoors. Its leaves are leathery and hold moisture well.
- They tolerate neglect well, mainly because their nutritional requirements are low and they grow well without pruning.
- They produce attractive white flowers (citrus-scented) and sometimes a second bloom from late April to early June in October/November.
- Choisya ternata can be grown outdoors and in containers, and is also excellent for low hedges.
- The plant normally reaches a height and width of around 1.8m but can reach 2.5m in ideal conditions reach.
Instructions for planting all varieties of Choysia in the garden
All orange flowers require the same care, which thankfully is very minimal once established! They are ideal for tubs and pots. The key to planting is choosing the right spot:
- choose a bright spot.
- The Mexican Orange Flower is cold tolerant down to -3°C, but will also tolerate a few degrees less if protected from the wind. The combination of wind and cold are the real enemies of this shrub.
- Improve the soil by incorporating well-rotted compost and provide enough space for the plants to grow up to 1.8m wide and tall (there are also more compact varieties).
- Water them well and make sure they don’t dry out for the first year and they will take care of themselves from then on.
- If you want to maintain their shape or size, the best time to prune is just after flowering, usually mid-June.
Follow these steps to ensure your shrub is planted properly
- This shrub should be planted in full sun or slightly shaded spot. When the soil is heavy or not well-drained, add plenty of well-rotted compost and bury it well.
- It can be planted year-round as long as the soil is not frozen and is well watered during drought. Mid-March to April and mid-September to October are the best times to plant this shrub as natural rainfall is sufficient for it to become well established.
- Dig a hole twice the width of the root ball. Put the plant in the hole and fill it with soil so that it is the same depth as in the pot. Fill in the soil around the root ball and press down firmly. Water well to solidify the soil around the root ball.
Container plant for balcony – Mexican orange flower is perfect for this
Mexican orange flowers can be grown in containers but will need a little care during the winter. The container plant is more susceptible to frost damage than a plant in the garden. We, therefore, recommend planting the Mexican orange flower in tubs from November to March on a wind-protected balcony. If very cold weather is expected, they can be brought indoors temporarily for about a week. The lack of light isn’t ideal, but it won’t visibly affect them if it’s only for a short period of time.