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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Wednesday - August 20, 2008

From: Manchester, England
Region: Other
Topic: Non-Natives, Shrubs
Title: Problems on mock orange plant in England
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a small mock orange plant that is about 3 years old. It is currently in a 12 inch plant pot in full sun. It bloomed beautifully this year but the leaves on both the new and old growth are starting to curl and have a brown spots. There appears to be no \\"bugs\\" and the plant seams to be growing ok.WE live in the north west of England. Any suggestions as to the cause??

ANSWER:

We have a little problem here. We love to hear from gardeners in England; however, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the use and propagation of plants native to North America, in North America. We really have no information on what the soils or hardiness zones or general climate in your area are. What we can do is find some websites on the plant itself and see if you can get some help from them.

Mockorange is, of course, a common name for a number of members of the Philadelphus genus. It is in the Hydrangeaceae family, as are the mockoranges native to North America. We believe that what you probably have is Philadelphus coronarius, which is not native to North America. It is a native of southern Europe, and other common names for it are English Dogwood and European Mock Orange. Perhaps you would be interested in seeing the webpage in our Native Plant Network on Philadelphus lewisii (Lewis' mock orange), which grows in the Northwestern United States and Western Canada. That's about as close as we can get to English climatic conditions.

This site from BackyardGardener.com Philadelphus coronarius had the most comprehensive information, including, if you scroll down, a section on Problems that hopefully will address what is happening to your shrub.

 

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