A noble group of varieties has gathered within the handpicked plant species called Orange Flower. What they all have in common is an enchanting scent that not only emanates from the delicate, white spring blossoms, but also from the shiny green foliage. As evergreen shrubs, Choisya ternata decorates the conservatory and the summer terrace in the tub. In regions with mild winters, they give the perennial border an elegant touch as a spring-blooming hedge or as an opulent specimen. The following lines explain in detail which varieties the Mexican orange flower can come up with, how they are cultivated and propagated.


  • Plant family of the rue family (Rutaceae)
  • Genus: Orange Flowers (Choisya)
  • Species: Mexican Orange Flower (Choisya ternata)
  • Evergreen flowering shrub
  • Growth heights from 100 to 300 centimeters
  • White flowers in umbrella racemes from May to June
  • Fresh green, later shiny, tripartite leaves
  • Flowers and foliage give off an intense fragrance
  • Popular bee and butterfly pasture

While the orange flower can reach heights of 3 meters in its natural distribution area, southern North America and Mexico, its growth height in cultivation is limited to 80 to 100 centimeters.

Note: A reader reported to us that the Choisya ternata in southern Hesse (climate zone 7b/8a) overwinters outdoors in the open air and reaches a height of over 2 meters. The important thing is that the location must be protected.

Popular Varieties

The genus Choisya is already very sparsely populated with 8 species. As part of the further systematization, the number of varieties within the pure species Chiosya ternata is reduced to four specimens. This circumstance does not detract in the slightest from the fascination of orange flowers. Rather, the manageable number of breeds underlines the elite character of the ornamental shrubs.

Orange flower ‘Aztec Pearl’ (Choisya ternata ‘Aztec Pearl’)
The gem scores with particularly narrow leaves, which underlines the extravagant fullness of the appearance. Given the right location, Aztec Pearl with proper care will encourage a second bloom in summer. In addition, experienced hobby gardeners agree that this variety has the best winter hardiness.

  • Growth height 80 to 100 cm
  • Growth width 50 to 60 cm

Orange Flower ‘Brica’ (Choisya ternata ‘Brica’)
This variety boasts yellow foliage throughout the summer. As a rule, Brica remains a little smaller in stature, making it perfect for the small garden.

  • Growth height 50 to 80 cm
  • Growth width 40 to 70 cm

Orange Flower ‘Sundance’ (Choisya ternata ‘Sundance’)
Its light green to yellowish foliage contrasts nicely with the white flowers. Sundance comes into its own with an almost dramatic charisma against the backdrop of dark trees.

  • Growth height 80 to 100 cm
  • Growth width 60 to 70 cm

Orange Flower ‘White Dazzler’ (Choisya ternata ‘White Dazzler’)
This new hybrid was specifically bred to develop a more robust winter hardiness as well as a second flowering in autumn. Since White Dazzler also grows taller than the other varieties, the orange flower is ideal for cultivation as an ornamental hedge.

  • Growth height 100 to 150 cm
  • Growth width 80 cm to 100 cm

location and soil conditions

The orange flower thrives best in sunny to partially shaded places. Although it is native to the warm regions of Mexico, it does not like to get caught in a summer heat build-up against the south wall of the house. Thus, a gentle breeze can blow at the selected location from time to time, such as at the edge of a wood.

  • Nutrient-rich soil, humus and loose
  • Fresh, moist and well-drained
  • Slightly acidic, with a pH of 4.5 to 6.5

In a planter, a Choisya ternata thrives in high-quality potting soil that is adjusted to the low pH value with rhododendron soil. A few handfuls of perlite, expanded clay or sand create the desired permeability.

Tip: You can easily determine the pH value of the garden soil yourself. Simple test sets are available in garden centers and hardware stores, which show the result by means of a color reaction.


A balanced water regime is of significant importance for lush growth of a Choisya ternata. The soil should be kept constantly slightly moist without causing waterlogging. Ideally, you should check the substrate daily during warm summer periods. Just enough water is poured so that the soil is soaked up to the root tips. It is not enough to water the upper substrate layer while the layers below get nothing. Orange flowers in the bed are therefore not content with a light summer shower. In addition, the ornamental shrubs are watered thoroughly once or twice a week, otherwise the roots will dry up and die.

Tip: A mulch layer made of grass clippings, leaves or compost keeps the soil warm and moist for longer.


In order for an orange flower to develop its enchanting blooms, glossy foliage and enticing scent, it needs a good dose of energy. This means that the nutrient supply is just as relevant for successful care as sufficient watering.

  • Add liquid fertilizer to the irrigation water every 14 days from March to August
  • Fertilize the bed regularly with mature compost and horn shavings
  • Alternatively, apply a slow-release fertilizer in March

The application of fertilizer should end by August at the latest. From this point on, the orange flower has enough time to mature before winter. This is especially true for specimens that stay outdoors during the cold season.


Orange flowers in tubs ideally overwinter in a bright, cool room, such as a frost-free garage or an unheated stairwell. However, if such accommodation is not available, the following measures must be taken:

  • Place the bucket in a protected corner of the wall
  • Stand there on a block of wood or styrofoam to protect against ground frost
  • Wrap the planter in bubble wrap
  • Put a burlap sack over the branches

In mild wine-growing regions, the orange flower survives the winter outdoors if the temperatures do not drop below -10 degrees Celsius for a long time. Protection against the icy cold in the form of jute or garden fleece is recommended. The root area should be heaped up with soil, leaves and straw.

An orange flower’s need for moisture persists throughout the winter; then at a reduced level. Thus, experienced gardeners always have a watchful eye on their ornamental shrub and water it on a frost-free day if it is obviously dry. Pay particular attention to this aspect of care when it is freezing without snow falling. As a shallow root, the Choisya ternata can no longer reach deeper water supplies even if the ground is frozen on the surface. It quickly comes under drought stress because the supply of moisture from above also fails when there is a frost. Fertilizers are not used at this time of year.


With an annual increase of 10 to 20 centimeters, a Choisya ternata only slowly increases in height and girth. It follows that repotting is only part of the care plan every few years. If a planter is completely rooted, spring is the best time to transplant an orange flower. The new bucket should be no more than 3-5 centimeters larger in diameter and have an opening in the bottom for water drainage. Above this is a drainage made of a coarse, mineral material, such as pebbles or crushed potsherds. Experienced hobby gardeners spread a water- and air-permeable fleece over it so that it does not immediately become clogged again with finely crumbly substrate. The work continues in the following steps:

  • Fill the bucket to a third with substrate
  • Insert the orange flower in the middle
  • Surround with the rest of the soil, press and water
  • Leave a pouring edge of a few centimeters

Before you plant the potted Choisya ternata in the fresh substrate, a look at the root ball provides information about the condition. If you discover dried or rotten root pieces, these are cut out with a sharp, disinfected knife.

To cut

Orange flower naturally branches into a compact, dense habit. A regular shape cut is therefore unnecessary. If, on the other hand, you are aiming for a second flowering in late summer, pruning immediately after the first flowering in spring is recommended. In this case, shorten the faded branches by a third. If dried or frozen shoots appear, they are completely cut out. When making the cut, make sure to position the scissors just above an outward-facing eye at a slight angle. In this case, rainwater and irrigation water run off faster.

If the Choisya ternata falls victim to an unexpectedly harsh winter, a radical pruning can save the flowering shrub. In spring, trim all branches to within 15 or 20 centimeters of the ground. The flowering for this season then fails; On the other hand, there are good prospects that the orange flower will sprout again in order to bloom in its usual splendor the following year.


A pruning after flowering provides a wealth of valuable propagation material in the form of cuttings at the same time. Since ready-grown shrubs from the specialist trade are not an inconsiderable burden on the budget, propagation by cuttings is an attractive alternative. A perfect offshoot is 15 centimeters long and half woody. The cut is made just below a bud because the orange flower is supposed to develop a new root system here later on. In addition, all leaves and flowers should be removed, except for the top pair of leaves. Use a low-nutrient composition such as peat sand, perlite or coco coir as a substrate. This gardening trick encourages the cuttings to start looking for food. As a result, they drive out new root strands intensively for this purpose. How to proceed:

  • Fill the substrate into small growing pots and moisten
  • Use two-thirds of each cutting
  • Place in a semi-shady, warm spot on the balcony
  • Optionally place in the room on the window sill

Rooting is encouraged when the offshoots thrive in a warm, humid microclimate. Therefore put a plastic bag over each pot, which is supported by small wooden sticks. The material must not touch the cutting because mold or rot could form. During the summer, the substrate must not dry out at any time while rooting takes place underground. As soon as the growing pots are completely rooted, repot the small orange flowers in lightly fertilized soil.

Tip: Spread a thin layer of mature compost on the bottom of the nursery pot. The little orange flowers will try even harder to stretch their roots there.

diseases and pests

The Mexican orange flower proves to be pleasantly resistant to diseases. If there are problems in this respect, there are usually omissions in care. Waterlogging causes destructive root rot within a short period of time. Therefore, check the saucer after each watering, especially on potted plants, and remove the water that has collected in it after 30 minutes at the latest.

Among the pests, it is mainly aphids that cause problems for Choisya ternata. They are on the spot in spring and colonize the undersides of the leaves. Therefore, connect each watering with a precise control of the foliage and the leaf axils. If you see small green, brown or black insects here, take immediate countermeasures to keep the infestation under control:

  • Treat infested potted plants upside down with a strong jet of water
  • Spray infected orange flowers repeatedly with a soft soap solution
  • Alternatively, mist every 2-3 days with a milk-water mixture in a ratio of 1:1

If hobby gardeners want to expand their plant combination in the ornamental garden with a fragrant component, they are well advised to use an orange blossom. Although the name suggests a herbaceous plant, it is actually an evergreen flowering shrub. The Choisya ternata not only exudes an enchanting scent during the enchanting, white blooms in spring. Its glossy green foliage also turns into a natural perfume when rubbed between fingers. The rare plant species only has a few varieties to offer, but they are excellent specimens. At the same time, this reduces the agony of choice by cultivating all breeds without further ado. In view of the very easy propagation by means of cuttings, you quickly have a sufficient stock.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *