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Mexican orange tree: a fragrant invitation to the garden!

2023-12-10T17:07:47.665Z

Highlights: Mexican orange tree is an ornamental shrub that is easy to care for. The most compact varieties, which are only 1m tall, like to be planted in pots, the others like planting in the ground. Fall and spring are the ideal times to plant a Mexican orange tree. This prevents your young plant from suffering from the heat of summer or the extreme cold of winter. In spring, the intoxicating and delicate scent of its flowers will charm your senses to better attract you to the balcony.


In containers, isolated or in a free hedge, the Mexican orange tree is an ornamental shrub that is very easy to care for. Its flowering is abundant and perfect


Plant ID card

Botanical NameChoisya ternata.
Common NameOrange tree from Mexico.
FamilyRutaceae.
OriginLatin America, Mexico.
SizeThe Mexican orange tree can grow up to 2.5m tall and about 1.5m wide.
FoliageThe foliage is evergreen, fragrant, mostly green, or golden. It smells like orange peel when crumpled up. The leaves are lanceolate.
FloweringIn April-May, sometimes with a new bloom in August-September, the Mexican orange tree is covered with small, pure white, softly scented flowers reminiscent of orange blossoms. They have a lovely star shape of 3cm in diameter.
ExhibitionPartial shade, shade or sun depending on the variety.
GroundNeutral, light and drained.
RusticityDown to -10°C or -15°C, depending on cultivar.


With its evergreen foliage, the Mexican orange tree offers the advantage of being decorative all year round. But that's far from its only asset. In spring, the intoxicating and delicate scent of its flowers will charm your senses to better attract you to the balcony or garden!

How to plant your Mexican orange tree?

The most compact varieties, which are only 1m tall, like to be planted in pots, the others like planting in the ground. Fall and spring are the ideal times to plant a Mexican orange tree. This prevents your young plant from suffering from the heat of summer or the extreme cold of winter.

When it comes to location, check with your favourite nurseryman or read the label of your Mexican orange carefully. This is because exposure requirements vary enormously from one cultivar to another. In any case, choose a location that is protected from the wind. If your soil is naturally rich, deep, and well-drained, that's great. If not, loosen it up and enrich it with a special planting potting soil.

Fall and spring are the ideal times to plant a Mexican orange tree. Copyright (c) 2019 Charlotte Bleijenberg/Shutterstock. No use without permission.

For planting in the ground:

  • Dig a hole three times as wide and deep as the root ball and, in the meantime, soak it in a bucket of water;
  • Then, untangle the roots and place your plant in the hole;
  • Fill with a mixture of garden soil and potting soil;
  • Water thoroughly;
  • Mulch the base to limit watering and prevent weeds from growing.

For planting in pots, provide a wide and deep container that will not limit root growth. Also remember to put clay pebbles in the bottom to avoid stagnant water.

How to care for your Choisya?

  • Watering: For the first two years, water your young plant regularly to encourage rooting. Then, water especially during the summer period. Preferably do it in the evening, drip by drip, this will allow you to save water while avoiding unnecessary evaporation. Water potted Mexican orange trees more frequently as they are more water-intensive, especially if they are in the sun;
  • Fertilization: Fertilize in the fall every two years if your soil is depleted. A few handfuls of compost may be enough, no need to put a lot of compost. For potted plants, enrich the substrate with a fertilizer specially designed for flowering shrubs. Don't hesitate to repot every three years to completely renew the substrate;
  • Waist: The Mexican orange tree has a naturally elegant habit so it is not necessarily useful to prune it, unless you want to limit its development. In this case, do a light pruning in autumn, after flowering;
  • Protection against the cold: In winter, mulch the base of your plant generously. For the first two years, depending on the hardiness of your plant and the climate of your region, wrap your orange tree in a winter veil.

How do you propagate the Mexican orange tree?

Choisya is very easy to propagate thanks to the simple technique of cuttings. To do this, wait until August or September and cut 10cm long stems, especially the semi-august stems of the year. Keep only two or three leaves at the end and remove the ones at the base.

The Mexican orange tree has a naturally elegant habit so it is not necessarily useful to prune it, unless you want to limit its development. Copyright (c) 2018 nnattalli/Shutterstock. No use without permission.

In a pot, prepare a light mixture with one third sand, one third garden soil and one third special potting soil. Push your cutting into it to a depth of about 4cm. Spray water on the soil and place the pot in a dry, bright place, without putting it in direct sunlight.

The following spring, give your cutting a larger pot. Your new plant will be able to develop new roots that will make it easier to set up the following fall. For this last act, consider using a biodegradable pot that you can plant directly in the ground without dislodging your young plant.

Mexican orange tree, which variety to choose?

Choisya ternata is certainly the most widespread. It is a beautiful shrub with a rounded habit that is covered with fragrant flowers in April. It is up to 2.50m tall. The Choisya ternata 'Sundance' variety is stocky and has beautiful golden foliage.

In clumps or isolated, the Mexican orange tree stands out for its foliage and its elegant immaculate white blooms. Copyright (c) 2018 nnattalli/Shutterstock. No use without permission.

Choisya 'Aztec Pearl' stands out above all for its abundant flowering in May and June, and for its narrow, long and jagged foliage: it is a compact variety, perfect for growing in pots. The Choisya 'Moondance' will surprise you with its dark green foliage, especially if paired with a Choisya 'Goldfingers' with yellow foliage!

In clumps or isolated, the Mexican orange tree stands out for its foliage and its elegant immaculate white blooms. Once you get close to it, its sweet and discreet scent will catch your attention!

Source: leparis

All news articles on 2023-12-10

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