Genuine Versatility of the Mock Orange
Philadelphus, or the Mock Orange, can be very useful in the garden.
One of the most useful garden shrubs flowers during June and July and if your Philadelphus has just finished flowering it is now time to prune it.
Philadelphus; named after King Ptolemy Philadelphus are a Genus of some 40 species found in the wild throughout Eastern Europe and the Himalayas, also central and northern regions of the U.S.A.
Commonly known as Mock Orange the Genus Philadelphus is a group of deciduous shrubs that are very useful in the garden. How many shrubs will happily cope with both clay and chalky soils? Any reasonable soils are suitable, not just such extremes. They will also happily grow and flower quite happily in semi-shade, although I’m sure that as with most plants full sun is often the trigger for optimum flowering performance.
The majority of these shrubs are large usually growing 8-10ft. Philadelphus ‘Virginal’ is a popular example. Some will grow to 5ft tall, making them suitable for the medium sized garden. For the smaller garden, there are some useful smaller cultivars such as P.’Manteau d’Hermine’ which will grow to a maximum height of 75cm. P. microphyllus is slightly more vigorous, reaching 1metre.
Flowers are usually white, heavily scented, they can be single, semi-double or double. The are usually cup or bowl-shaped. The leaves are usually mid-green in colour and simply shaped. The species P. coronarius is an exception to the rule, it has two cultivars namely ‘Aureus’ and ‘Variegatus’ that have golden yellow and cream edged leaves respectively.
Compared to some other plants pruning a Philadelphus is quite straightforward. Simply wait for the flowers to fade and then cut out the shoots that bare spent flowers. These shoots are two years old and it is the younger non-flowering shoots that will bloom next summer. Also remove any weak or crossing stems.
With a little skill in the pruning department a Philadelphus can become a very useful shrub to have in the garden to fill that that gap between the early and late summer flowering shrubs.