Philadelphusis an ancient group of shrubs named by Linnaeus in honour of King Ptolemy Philadelphus, 300 B.C., the King of "brotherly love".
All 60 species and many hybrids are covered in clusters of cream or waxy white flowers with a sweet citrus smell giving rise to their common name, Mock Orange.
The fragrance of a single mature bush can scent an entire garden on a sunny afternoon or humid, still evening.
Some species are sprawling, others stoutly erect, but most produce graceful, arching canes with drooping branches.
Philadelphus bridge the gap between the last spring flowering shrubs and budding summer colour.
Most are extremely hardy to freezing, temperature extremes, moderate drought and variable soil and Ph.
They thrive in deep, rich, loam and composted garden soil with extra lime in sun or part shade.
Mulch them with a mix of compost laced with blood and bone in summer.
Most varieties are deciduous but P. mexicanus is a large, semi-weeping species that usually remains evergreen to minus 8 C degrees.
Mock orange is a favourite for the shrub border or foundation planting by windows or pathways to catch the fragrance.
They make excellent hedge plants, can be espaliered against a wall, trained as an arch or floral tunnel over a walkway.
Philadelphus are easily moved bare-root in winter or from containers now. They respond well to extra watering over dry periods in summer.
Prune, thin, and shape directly after flowering. Next years flower buds will form on the new growth produced this year.
Severe pruning will not eliminate next years display if the job is completed early enough to encourage strong, new growth.
New plants can be started from summer tip cuttings, half-ripe wood cut in early autumn, succouring shoots, layered branches and from seed.
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