Choisya (Mexican Orange Blossom)
Common name: Mexican orange blossom
During mid-spring these aromatic evergreen shrubs clothe themselves with masses of starry white. They are noted for their strong orange-like fragrance, hence their common name. In most dry seasons these are followed by a second, albeit smaller, flush of blooms in autumn.
They are happy in full sun or a lightly shaded area, in most fertileconditions, and are ideally suited to town gardens.
As the common name indicates, Choisya ternata (AGM) is a native of Mexico. It was first introduced to European gardens in 1825. The dark, shiny leaves are three-parted, a perfect foil for the cluster of pure white flowers. Ideally it should be grown in a position where it is not subjected to cold winds, as the foliage can be damaged in the winter. One impressive form that made its debut in 1986 is ‘Abundance’ (AGM), with bright yellow foliage. This should be grown in a sunny spot, and is a more compact shrub than the species.
One noted for its free-flowering habit is ‘Aztec Pearl’ (AGM). It has elongated leaves of rich green, and the backs of the white petals are flushed with pink.
Soil type These shrubs are happy in most humus-rich soils.
Planting This is best done in the spring when they will become established quickly as soil temperatures rise. Autumn planting leads to the possibility of damage to the young foliage during the winter. In cold districts it is wise to plant them where they will receive shelter from a south-facing wall.
Maintenance Nois required. Any straggly shoots can be removed after flowering. Any growth damage by frost should be cut out during late winter. New shoots will soon appear.
Propagation Root semi-ripe cuttings in an equal peat/sand mix, and place them in a garden frame.
Pests and diseases They are generally trouble free.