Sweet smelling Mock orange.

Philadelphus coronarius
pic: Esther

Twenty years ago when we moved to Knysna I brought along a very small Mock orange, now after all these years it has grown into a handsome monster.  For the last two years we had no flowers due to the devastating fire of 2017, however this year it is splendid.

As the “mock” in its name suggests, mock orange is not a true orange. But the citrus smell of its blossoms, just like the orange jasmine plant  is enough to invite comparison and inspire the common name. In the world of common plant names, “false” typically indicates that one plant is similar in some way to another while being, nonetheless, botanically distinct from it.

It is very free flowering, clothed with a profusion of extremely fragrant, creamy white cup-shaped single flowers in late spring.  It thrives in dry soil, is suitable for sun or shade, can grow in heavy clay and nutritionally poor soils. Use compost, bark humus, or manure when planting mock orange. In late spring, you can add more compost around the plant. Do not use a nitrogen-rich fertilizer. It can significantly increase leaf growth, which will hinder, or even stop, blossom growth.

The flowers last well in a vase provided that it has been conditioned before arranging.



Philadelphus coronarius (sweet mock-orange, English dogwood) is a species of flowering plant in the family Hydrangaceae, native to Southern Europe.

It attracts a range of insects but is especially loved by bees and butterflies.

Named for a Greek king of Egypt; also means brotherly love fil-uh-DEL-fuss
Crown, wreath or garland kor-oh-NAR-ee-us