En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Pruning a mock orange in Charleston WV

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

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
1 rating

Monday - March 30, 2009

From: Charleston, WV
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Pruning, Shrubs
Title: Pruning a mock orange in Charleston WV
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

How far back and when do I prune a "Mock Orange" in order to get it to bloom?

ANSWER:

The first thing we do when we get a question about a particular plant is to determine its nativity. At the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, we promote the care and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they are being grown. We learned that the genus name for mock orange is Philadelphus, a member of the Hydrangeaceae (hydrangea) family. There is no member of this genus native to West Virginia, according to our Native Plant Database, but two, Philadelphus inodorus (scentless mock orange) and Philadelphus pubescens (hoary mock orange) are native to Virginia. Close enough, as far as we are concerned. If you purchased this plant commercially, however, it's more likely that it is Philadelphus x virginalis, the "x" meaning it is a hybrid. We ordinarily don't consider hybrids true natives, because of the difficulty of determining their parentage and knowing how the hybridizing affected the qualities of the plant. In this case, we don't think that matters so much, as you are basically asking how to prune a particular woody plant. We found this website from Ed Hume Seeds  Mock Orange, from which we quote a paragraph on Pruning the Mock Orange.

"This is probably the most important step in the care of any mock orange variety. On an established plant one should prune out about one-third of the old growth. On newly planted shrubs, wait until after the second year to do any major pruning. Then at that point it is a good practice to remove old, flowered out wood each year after the plant has finished flowering. Newly developed shoots should be thinned, encouraging those that add best form to the structure of the bush. This pruning will help keep the plant healthy and vigorous and at the same time will confine its height."

Your question concerned pruning to encourage bloom. Of course, pruning the old wood away and clipping off smaller shoots will encourage more bloom on new wood the next year. One thing we might mention about encouraging bloom on a woody plant is that you should be careful to use a fertilizer that is formulated for roses, and avoid high nitrogen lawn-type fertilizers. Too much nitrogen will cause an abundance of leaves and divert energy from blooming. 


Philadelphus inodorus

Philadelphus pubescens

 

 

 

More Pruning Questions

Persimmon trunk grown around fence rail in Austin
November 08, 2012 - I have a Texas Persimmon in my backyard that is about 12-15 feet tall. It's been growing next to a chain-link fence and over the years, the top rail of the fence has cut into the bark on the trunk. A...
view the full question and answer

Winter trimming of Greggs mistflower
November 11, 2007 - Do I cut my gregg's mist back to the ground for the winter or just leave it alone?
view the full question and answer

Young oak damaged by falling tree from San Diego TX
June 27, 2012 - My neighbor's Palo Blanco tree was struck by lightning and fell over our fence and on to a young oak tree in our yard. We waited a few days to see if the neighbor would offer help, but he never did,...
view the full question and answer

Pruning lower branches of Cordia Boissieri from San Antonio
December 08, 2013 - My Texas Wild Olive Tree is about 6 feet high now. I bought it at the 2012 plant sale. This past summer it put on new branches near the base of the tree which I would like to cut off (to encourage u...
view the full question and answer

Getting a senna to fill out from Irvine CA
May 30, 2013 - I have a Senna of some kind, started from a seed by a friend. I got it as a small,six in high) seedling. After two years it is now blooming beautifully, but is a single thin stem 4 feet tall with ve...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center