PNW Landscape Plant Guide

brought to you by the plant geeks at Calendula Farm

Mock Orange (Philadelphus lewisii)

You know summer has begun in the Pacific Northwest when you catch the scent of Mock Orange blossoms. This PNW native is a classic beauty, draped with 1 1/2 inch pure white, four-petaled blooms with a delightful spray of soft yellow stamen in the center from May too early July. As the name implies, the flowers’ scent is similar to orange blossom – very floral, slightly sweet, with a hint of jasmine.

Mock Orange grows to a widely variable size from 5 to 10 feet, though in most urban spaces you’ll find it typically around 6-8 feet tall. It can be pruned to size, but it flowers only on old wood so be sure to trim it within a few weeks after it’s finished blooming so you don’t lose next year’s flower buds. It grows naturally at the edges of woodlands and enjoys full sun to just a few hours of sun mixed with bright ambient light.

For millennia, the original stewards of this land used the very hard wood of its thin branches for all sorts of domestic tools like combs, arrows, bows, and fishing gear. We enjoy it now as a beautifully fragrant herald of summer.