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9 June 2015

Choisya Ternata - Mexican Orange Blossom

We have a Choisya ternata - Mexican Orange Blossom - in our garden, which has been covered in white flowers throughout May and into June. You might consider growing one in your garden.

As you might expect, they were discovered in Mexico, and were first introduced to Europe in 1826.

C. ternata is a rounded, medium-sized bushy evergreen shrub, with glossy green leaves divided into three broad leaflets. It's flowers are pure white, scented, appearing from April to June and sometimes again in October/ November.

They are slow-growing, with an ultimate height and spread after 10 - 20 years of 1.5 - 2.5m.

They will grow well in semi-shade but perform best in a sunny position. Their leathery leaves retain moisture well, helping them to tolerate dry periods, especially when grown in open ground.

They are partially frost tolerant down to about -3C / 26F although they will survive lower temperatures if sheltered from strong winds.

They are not particular about soil type provided that it isn't extremely acid or alkaline, though they prefer it to be well-drained.

They don't require much in the way of regular care and can put up with neglect. However if you do need to prune a Choisya, it should be done after flowering in mid-June.

They can be used to make excellent low hedges, and are happy grown in containers as well as in open ground. However, if growing your Choisya in a container, you will need to protect it through the winter, placing it in a porch, garage or in a protected position against the house wall. If a really cold spell is predicted, they can be temporarily moved into a garage for a week or so, though the lack of light isn't ideal.

Prpogation is by semi-hardwood cuttings.

They are generally pest-free.

I would certainly recommend a Choisya. They are evergreen, look beautiful when in flower, don't need much attention and grow to a sensible size. Make room for one in your garden.
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