Common Name: mock orange

Scientific Name: 
Family: Hydrangeaceae
Genus: Philadelphus
Species: spp.

Hardiness Zone: 4 to 9
Height: 2 to 10 ft
Width: 2 to 10 ft

Common Characteristics:

Mock orange is a flowering native shrub. The bark on the shrub is reddish-brown with the older stems having exfoliating bark. The leaves are in an opposite arrangement, sometimes with finely serrated edges. They are dark green and lighter underneath. The showy fragrant white flowers bloom in early summer and some cultivars have double white blooms. A dry 4-valved woody seed capsule follows after the blooms and persists into the winter.

Where it Grows:

Mock orange will grow in a wide range of soils except for wet, poorly-drained soils. It prefers full sun to part shade, but the best condition for flower blooming is in full sun. This shrub can tolerate occasional-drought and road salt. 

How it's Used:

This shrub is typically used as a specimen plant in borders or groupings. It should be pruned right after blooming to maintain an attractive form. 

Ecosystem Services:

Insect pollinators are attracted to the white fragrant flowers.

Where it is Native to:

Mock orange is native to Canada, Europe, and the northwestern and western United States.

Known Varieties and Their Traits:


  • Aureus Mock orange (Philadelphus 'Aureus'): 6 feet tall by 5 feet wide, gold spring foliage, fragrant single flowers, compact growth

  • Blizzard Mock orange (Philadelphus 'Blizzard'): 5 feet tall by 3 feet wide, fragrant single flowers in clusters, compact growth, good winter hardiness

  • Buckley's Quill Mock orange (Philadelphus 'Buckley's Quill'): 6 feet tall by 4 feet wide, fragrant double flowers

  • Minnesota Snowflake Mock orange (Philadelphus x virginalis ‘Minnesota Snowflake): A compact (2 to 3 feet high and 1 to 2 feet wide) cultivar with fragrant, double white flowers. The flower is larger than those of the species (up to 2 inches across).

  • Miniature Snowflake Mock orange (Philadelphus ‘Miniature Snowflake’): A dwarf, compact (2 to 3 feet high and 1 to 2 feet wide) cultivar with double white, fragrant flowers.

  • Snowbelle Mock orange (Philadelphus ‘Snowbelle’): This cultivar is mounded, (3 to 4 feet high and wide) with fragrant, double, pure white flowers.

  • Snow White Sensation Mock orange (Philadelphus ‘Snow White Sensation): A vase-shaped (5 to 6 feet high and wide) cultivar with clusters of 2-inch wide, double white fragrant flowers.


Powdery mildew can be an issue for this shrub. Japanese beetle resistant.



University of Minnesota Extension

'Virginal mock-orange' The Morton Arboretum

'Sweet mock-orange' The Morton Arboretum