How to grow Choisya

Choisya in bloom

How to grow Choisya the Mexican Orange blossom shrub

  Choisya is one of the best evergreen garden shrubs and so easy to grow. It has the great combination of lush, evergreen foliage together with beautiful scented flowers and its a medium sized shrub suited to an average sized garden. To me, it is one of the must have shrubs. Every time I walk around the garden in May and June I can enjoy it's sweet scent. 

Choisya is one of the best scented flowering shrubs with good foliage. The two most popular varieties are Choiysa 'Astec Pearl' illustrated above and right Choisya ternata common name Mexican Orange Blossom. The difference is mainly in the leaf, Astec Pearl has a narrower leaf and C. ternata, I think, the more handsome glossy foliage. There is also a variety Choisya ternata ' Sundance' which has very attractive yellow foliage which is usually grown in semi shade for it's leaf colour as it hardly ever flowers.

Choisya has lots of plus points, easy to grow, tolerant of most soils and settings, although Choisya flowers best when planted where there is plenty of sun in well drained soil. Choisya has lush shiny foliage and one thing these images cannot show is the wonderful perfume. Choisya is a highly scented shrub which gives rise to it's common name of Mexican orange blossom. The scent is wonderful, especially on a warm evening and a good shrub to plant close to a patio enjoy it's perfume.

Choisyas are fully hardy and for best scent and flowers plant in a sunny spot. In late May/June Choisyas are covered in white flowers, as the image illustrates and very scented. The two most commonly found Aztec Pearl which has RHS award of garden merit which is compact spreading up to 2.5m (8ft) and ternata, again with RHS award, of a similar size. In a year of good growing conditions Choisya may flower again in late summer. Choisya is categorised as green wheel barrow, there is no necessity to prune, stake or feed; an ideal garden shrub.

How to Prune Choisya

For general maintenance, if you wish Choisya can be pruned after flowering.

What if the Choisya has become to large,  or has lost growth becoming bare at the bottom of the plant, leggy and the leaves yellowing despite feeding. In the image below the Choisya, which has been growing in the same spot for many years and mostly looking good, is looking a bit tired. You can hard prune Choisya in a similar way to Rhododendrons cutting hard, into the wood and really be quite savage. It will grow back and be healthier with new glossy foliage although it may take a season or two. The middle image shows cutting back the Choisya, low down to the ground. The final images shows the Choisya after cutting back, it looks quite denuded but it will grow back, and better.