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Mexican orange flower is a wonderful flowering and fragrant potted plant for balcony and garden

Orange flowers originated in Mexico and surrounding areas and were introduced to Europe in 1826. They are named after the Swiss gardener Denis Choisy. The Mexican orange flower (Choisya ternata) is grown not only for its beautiful flowers in late April to late May, but also for its evergreen leaves. They are pale yellow to lime green in color and bloom from March to November.

Is Mexican orange flower right for you – read this list

Follow these instructions to plant the Mexican orange flower in the garden 

Read the following checklist to decide if Choisya ternata is right for the conditions in your garden or balcony.

  • They do best in full sun, but can also grow in partial shade.
  • The plants are partially frost resistant to about -3°C.
  • They have no preference for a particular soil type, but will not grow in extremely acidic or alkaline soils.
  • Orange flowers tolerate periods of drought, especially when grown outdoors. Their leaves are leathery and hold moisture well.
  • They tolerate neglect well, mainly because their nutrient requirements are low and they grow well without pruning.
  • They produce attractive white flowers (with a citrus scent) from late April to early June and sometimes a second bloom in October/November.
  • Choisya ternata can be grown outdoors and in containers and are also excellent for low hedges.
  • The plant usually reaches a height and width of about 1.8 m, but can reach up to 2.5 m under ideal conditions.

What are the types of Mexican orange flowers

Choisya ternata blooms more than the other varieties

Choisya ternata: The original plant that flowers more than the other varieties. The leaves are green and the flowers are pure white. It is also the one most likely to produce a second flower in the fall. The best variety if you have only a semi-shaded place available.

Choisya dewitteana Aztec Pearl loves a partial shade place

Choisya dewitteana ‘Aztec Pearl’: like Choisya ternata above, but best in full sun.

Choisya ternata Sundance forms masses of flowers in late April to late May


Choisya ternata ‘Sundance’: This variety has been available for many years and also produces masses of flowers in late April to late May, but not as many as Choisya ternata. The second flowering in autumn is also less frequent. The advantage, however, is the attractive lemon-green color of the new foliage.

Choisya dewitteana White Dazzler is considered to be winter

Choisya dewitteana “White Dazzler”: The leaves are dark green (lighter when they first appear), long and thin. Flowers are pure white and form on the entire plant in late April to late May, with a second, weaker bloom in September. In the center of each flower are attractive and conspicuous stamens of golden color. The flowers have a specific citrus aroma.

In many ways it is similar to ‘Aztec Pearl’ above, but grows lower and does not need to be cut back. Both of these varieties of orange flowers are considered hardy. The shrub is very easy to care for and grows to about 1.2 feet wide and tall. It is the hardiest of all the varieties and survives the harshest northern winters.

“White Dazzler”, like the other varieties, is not picky about soil conditions and will grow almost anywhere as long as it gets a good dose of sunlight.

Instructions for planting all varieties Choysia in the garden.

What are the species of Mexican orange flowers


All orange flowers require the same care, which fortunately is very minimal once they are established! They are great for containers and pots. The key to planting them is choosing the right location:

  • Choose a bright spot.
  • Mexican orange flowers are cold tolerant down to -3°C, but will tolerate a few degrees less if protected from wind. The combination of wind and cold are the real enemies of this shrub.
  • Improve the soil by incorporating well-rotted compost, and provide enough space for the plants to grow up to 1.8 m wide and tall (more compact varieties are also available).

The flowers of Choisya dewitteana White Dazzler have a specific citrus aroma

  • Water them well and make sure they don’t dry out the first year, and from then on they will take care of themselves.
  • If you want to maintain their shape or size, the best time to prune them is shortly after flowering, usually in mid-June.

Follow these steps to make sure your shrub is planted properly

Choisya ternata Sundance forms many flowers in late April to late May

  • This shrub should be planted in a full sun or light shade location.
  • If the soil is heavy or not well-drained, add plenty of well-rotted compost and dig it in well.
  • It can be planted year-round if the ground is not frozen, and watered well during dry spells. Mid-March to April and mid-September to October are the best times to plant this shrub, as natural rainfall is sufficient for it to become well established.
  • Dig a hole twice as wide as the root ball. Place the plant in the hole and fill it with soil so that it is the same depth as in the pot. Fill in the soil around the root ball and press firmly. Water well to firm up the soil around the root ball.

Potted plant for balcony – Mexican orange flower is perfect for this purpose.

All varieties of Mexican orange flowers are excellent for containers

Mexican orange flowers can be grown in containers, but they need a little care in the winter. The tub plant is more susceptible to frost damage than a plant in the garden. Therefore, we recommend planting the Mexican orange flower in containers from November to March on a balcony protected from the wind. If very cold weather is expected, they can be temporarily brought indoors for a week or so. The lack of light is not ideal, but it will not visibly affect them if it is only for a short time.

Is the Mexican orange flower right for you

Another factor in cultivating this flowering shrub in containers is size – both of the container and the plant. The larger the planter, the better for the flower, as larger containers require less frequent watering. When choosing a variety for the balcony, we recommend one of the slower growing varieties, such as Choisya dewitteana “White Dazzler”. It requires much less pruning than some other varieties.

Mexican orange flower can be grown outdoors and in containers

Plant in ordinary all-purpose soil and use a container about 40 cm wide. Plants grown in containers dry out easily in warm weather and may need watering two or more times a week in very warm weather. A handful of blood, fish, and bone fertilizer monthly from April through September provides sufficient nutrients for a healthy crop.

Pests and diseases of Choysia ternata.

The Mexican orange flower tolerates neglect well

This container plant is remarkably free of pests and diseases . Leaf dieback problems are almost always due to the cold weather. In most cases, the Mexican orange flower fully recovers in the spring. Sometimes slugs attack the bark and leaves, and the solution is to apply slug pellets.

Another option is to spread dry multipurpose compost around the base of the plant. Slugs hate this because it rapidly dries out their slime and prevents them from moving.
Other low-maintenance shrubs and perennials in this series include camellia, hellebore, skimmia, hebe, mock orange, lilac, potentilla, pittosporum and Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus).