Choisya ternata, the Mexican Orange Blossom, is a popular evergreen shrub known for its aromatic, glossy green leaves and clusters of fragrant white flowers. These bloom in late spring.
Plants reach a height of 6 to 8 feet (1.8 to 2.4 m), with aa spread of about 5 to 6 feet (1.5 to 1.8 m). Its fragrant blossoms and foliage, along with its compact shape and size, make it a favorite for garden borders or use it as a fragrant backdrop.
It grows well in USDA hardiness zones 7 through 10, so about RHS hardiness H4 (-10 to -5°C).
How to Grow Choisya ternata in the Garden
Choisya ternata is a relatively easy shrub to grow. It prefers a sunny or partially shaded location, that is protected from strong winds.
It adapts well to a variety of soil types but prefers a well-drained, fertile soil. It can tolerate a soil pH from slightly acidic to slightly alkaline.
Planting should be done in the spring or autumn. Dig a hole twice as wide as the root ball, and plant at the same depth as the root ball. Once planted in the hole, backfill with soil, and water thoroughly.
During the first year of planting, water regularly to establish a strong root system. Once established, Choisya ternata is reasonably drought-tolerant, but ideally water it during extended dry periods.
Apply a general-purpose fertilizer in spring to promote healthy growth.
Pruning isn't typically required, but if you want to maintain a nice shape or size, then prune after flowering has completed. Be aware that this shrub does not respond well to hard pruning.
While relatively disease and pest resistant, Choisya ternata can occasionally suffer from problems such as aphids or root rot (in poorly drained soils). Taking good care will help to keep your shrub healthy and robust.
With its aromatic blooms and easy care, Choisya ternata is an excellent choice for gardeners looking for a low-maintenance, highly attractive shrub, that creates year-round interest.
Quick Choisya ternata Growing and Care Guide
Scientific Name: Choisya ternata.
Common Name(s): Mexican Orange Blossom.
Growing Zone (USA / UK Hardiness): USDA Zones: 7-10.
Best Used For / Garden Location: Ornamental shrub in mixed borders, hedges, or as a standalone specimen.
Life Cycle / Plant Type: Evergreen.
Plant Height: 6-8 ft (1.8-2.4 m).
Plant Spread: 6-8 ft (1.8-2.4 m).
Blooms: Late spring, often with a lesser second flush in autumn.
Flower Details: Fragrant, white, star-shaped flowers.
Leaf Foliage: Dark green, glossy, aromatic when crushed.
Fruit: Not significant.
Growing Conditions and Location
Best Light Conditions: Full sun to part shade.
Suitable Soil Types: Well-drained soil; can tolerate clay, loam, and sand.
Sowing / planting: Not applicable. Plant young shrubs in spring or fall.
Germination time: Not applicable for shrubs.
Propagation: Semi-ripe cuttings in summer.
Plant Care: Water regularly; prune after flowering to maintain shape.
Growing in pots and containers: Suitable for large pots with good drainage.
Growing as a Houseplant: Not typically suitable as an indoor plant due to size and sunlight requirements.
Miscellaneous: Tolerant of urban pollution and coastal conditions. Attracts bees. Not known to be invasive.
Pests and diseases: Generally pest-free. Possible issues include aphids and snails.
Common Cultivars / Varieties: Choisya ternata 'Sundance' is known for its bright golden-yellow leaves, and Choisya ternata 'Aztec Pearl' has slender, finger-like leaves and a more compact form.
Family: Rutaceae, the Rue or Citrus family.
Native: Native to Mexico.
Does Choisya ternata make a good garden or landscaping plant?
Yes, Choisya ternata is a great choice for gardens and landscaping. It has evergreen foliage and produces bright, aromatic flowers, making it visually pleasing all year round.
Is Mexican Orange Blossom a fragrant plant?
Yes, Choisya ternata is highly fragrant. It produces sweet-smelling, citrus-like white flowers (this is why it gets its common name of Mexican Orange Blossom).
What is the perfect location to grow Choisya ternata?
This plant prefers an area with full sun to partial shade, that has a well-drained soil. It's not particularly frost-hardy, so it is best suited to warmer areas.
Is it invasive in the USA?
Choisya ternata is not considered an invasive plant in the United States.
How do I remove Choisya ternata from my garden?
To remove Choisya ternata, prune the plant down to its base, dig out the root ball, and ensure all remaining roots are removed. Smaller plants can be easily handled, but for larger specimens, you may want to get help from a professional gardener or landscaper.
Choisya ternata is an evergreen shrub, native to Mexico. It prefers a sunny or semi-shaded position with well-drained soil. The shrub produces fragrant, white flowers in late spring and sometimes again in late summer.
I hope that you have enjoyed reading this guide on how to grow Choisya ternata. You may also enjoy the following Rutaceae growing guides: How to grow Zanthoxylum Simulans, Zanthoxylum americanum, and Dictamnus plants in the garden.