Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
3 ratings

Tuesday - March 29, 2011

From: St. Petersburg, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Container Gardens
Title: Can Mock Orange be grown in a container?
Answered by: Guy Thompson

QUESTION:

Can the Mock Orange Shrub be grown as a container "plant"? I have seen apricots and apple trees (certain varieties, of course); grown this way.

ANSWER:

There are several species of mock orange, and I am not certain which one you are thinking of.  In Texas alone Philadelphus texensis (Texas mock orange)Philadelphus ernestii (Canyon mock orange)Philadelphus microphyllus (Littleleaf mock orange)Fendlera rupicola (Cliff fendlerbush), or False mock orange,  Philadelphus hitchcockianus (Hitchcock's mock orange), and Philadelphus pubescens (Hoary mock orange) all can be found.  These are the only native species in the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center data base that might be found in Florida.  Could one of these be the plant you have in mind?

Another species, Philadelphus floridus (Florida mock orange), does not even seem to be commonly grown in Florida.  Perhaps the most common species found in gardens is Philadelphus corinarius (Sweet mock orange).  This species has been employed in creating numerous horticultural varieties. Click on the underlined species names for more information about them.

Mr. Smarty Plants knows of no common usage of Philadelphus species as container plants.  The problem is that they rather quickly become lanky, which is nice in the outdoor garden but would require frequent pruning in a pot. It might be hard to maintain an attractlive shape.

There are other plants sometimes given the common name mock orange, including the non-natives Murraya-paniculata and Pittosporum tobira.  These can be grown successfully in containers.

If it is the Philadelphus corinarius type that you have in mind, your best bet is to study its growth habit and culture conditions and judge for yourself whether it would be worth the effort to keep it in the confinement of a container.  If you choose to try, it would be better to obtain your starting plant material while it is in bloom to make certain that it has the enticing perfume that is not always found in mock oranges.

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas mock orange
Philadelphus texensis

Canyon mock orange
Philadelphus ernestii

Littleleaf mock orange
Philadelphus microphyllus

Cliff fendlerbush
Fendlera rupicola

Hitchcock's mock orange
Philadelphus hitchcockianus

Water tupelo
Nyssa aquatica

More Container Gardens Questions

Suitable container plants for Austin
October 23, 2012 - Hi, I see some info on native house plants, but not much. I live in an apartment that doesn't get much direct sun (maybe 2 hours a day) -- is there anything for me native-wise (Austin) if I have to h...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for container gardens in Central Texas
March 11, 2008 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants: I moved to TX last year, for now living in an apartment with a good-size but shady deck; my garden in VA was full of VA native plants. What TX natives, if any, can I grow in ...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for container gardening in Houston
April 26, 2008 - Hi, we live a townhouse community in Houston, TX and have a decent sized backyard. I plan on devoting part of that to plant some potted flowers which are less than 6 ft tall (we can't plant anything ...
view the full question and answer

Container plants for deck in Maine
May 18, 2009 - I live on the ocean in Maine. Fourth floor deck. I want to plant containers and boxes with annuals that can withstand a lot of wind. We get mostly sun but some shade as well. Of course, there is the s...
view the full question and answer

Container plants for terrace in New York City
April 25, 2009 - What flowering plants would you recommend that will grow well on a 16th floor terrace ,with all day sun in NYC?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.