June 18, 2018

Growing the Wonderful Philadelphus


Growing the Wonderful Philadelphus

Botanical Name: Philadelphus.    Common Name:   Mock Orange .

The common name gives away its secret. It has a powerful fragrance similar to orange blossom. Imagine the smell of cutting into the peel of an orange. In full sunshine when the tree is in full flower the scent can be detected from many metres away.

A wonderful Philadelphus grown by my neighbour

It is a very ordinary shrub – in winter it has bare branches and in summer its leaves are a very plain green colour, but during the month of July it becomes an amazing sight. It is covered with white, tinged pink blossom, which have a fragrance that isn’t found in other shrubs. I would therefore leave it at the back of the border where it will not be too conspicuous during the rest of the year, and will still be noticeable during its flowering period.

Buying and planting guide.

The shrub can be found for sale in garden centres all the year round but it is an easy shrub  to propagate yourself. Over the next two months cut a few twigs from a friend’s bush, and plant it in good quality soil or compost in a shaded space or a cold frame.  They should take root before the onset of winter. When you see new growth on your bare twigs next spring, you will know that you have cracked the trick of propagating new plants, saving you the cost of buying new plants.  After a month or two, dig it out with as much soil as possible and replant it in its permanent position in your garden. In its second year it should already be flowering. It grows quite quickly and can reach 2-3 metres , so make sure you prune it well, especially during the first few years to make sure it retains a bushy form.

Philadelphus needs very little care, neither the problem bugs nor diseases seem to like it, just cut it back after flowering and you have a shrub for life. When in flower there is an abundance of long flowering stems to spice up your home with their scent. Keep changing them every few days. No need for citrus air freshener this week!


About The Author

Profile photo of Boris Legarni

Boris inherited his green fingers from his mother, who was still planting potatoes and rhubarb in the sixties as she was afraid that they would once again be rationed. As a teenager he used to plant radishes in the corner of the school garden and sell them during break time for sixpence, to give his classmates a healthy crunchy snack. He and his wife both have had an allotment for years, but there is no competition – he does the planting and she does the harvesting and cooking. With a passion for growing anything edible, Boris has planted dozens of named fruit trees in his orchard. Nevertheless he is an avid flower arranger, and assists local communities and charities with his flower arrangements. Boris tells us that after so many years on the allotment he has made all the mistakes possible, and he will share with you his practice to make yours perfect!

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