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Choisya: the ideal evergreen shrub for flowers, fragrance and foliage

If Ladybrook Nursery could choose one ideal plant for the garden, it would probably be the choisya. Choisyas, or Mexican Orange Blossoms, are grown not only for the masses of beautiful flowers they produce in late April to late May, but also for their evergreen foliage which, in the case of Choisya ternata Sundance, is a delicate shade of yellow to lime green. Choisyas are reliable plants which tolerate full sun and semi-shade and are reasonably tolerant to drought conditions.

Is a choisya is the right shrub for your garden?

The following information should help you decide if a choisya is the right choice for you:

  • Choisyas grow best in full sun, but will grow well in semi-shade.
  • Choisyas are partially frost tolerant down to about -3°C / 26°F so are suitable for most areas of the UK.
  • Choisyas have no real preference for soil type although they will not grow in extremely acid or alkaline soils.  
  • Choisyas can tolerate periods of drought especially when grown in the open ground. Their leaves are leathery and retain moisture well.
  • Choisyas tolerate neglect well mainly because they require few nutrients and do not need pruning. 
  • Choisyas produce attractive white flowers (citrus fragrance) from late April to early June and sometimes a second flowering in October / November.
  • Choisyas are adaptable and can be grown in the open ground, containers and also make excellent low hedges.
     

Ladybrook Nursery Choisya stock

Choisya ternata

Choisya ternata is an RHS AGM award-winning plant which produces flowers more easily than ‘Aztec Pearl’ and ‘Sundance’. Its leaves are green and the flowers pure white and fragrant in spring. It’s also the most likely plant to produce a second flush of flowers in autumn. Choisya ternata is the best variety if your garden is semi-shaded. Choisya ternata will reach a height of 2.5m and a spread of 2.5m after 10-20 years. Grow in well-drained soil ideally in full sun, though the plant will tolerate semi-shade.

Type: shrub

Height: 2.5m

Foliage: evergreen – dark green

Flower colour: fragrant white

Flowering: late spring then again in summer or autumn

Aspect: full sun to partial shade

Choisya ternata ‘Aztec Pearl’

Choisya x dewitteana ‘Aztec Pearl’ is an RHS AGM award-winning evergreen shrub with slender, glossy, dark green leaves, and clusters of fragrant, pink-tinged white flowers in late spring. ‘Aztec Pearl’ is a more compact alternative to the more popular Choisya ternata. Choisya x dewitteana ‘Aztec Pearl’ will reach a height of 2.5m and a spread of 2.5m after 10-20 years. Grow in well-drained soil in a sheltered, sunny site.

Type: shrub

Height: 2.5m

Foliage: evergreen – dark green

Flower colour: fragrant pink-tinged white

Flowering: late spring then again in summer or autumn

Aspect: full sun to partial shade

Choisya ternate ‘Sundance’

Choisya ternata ‘Sundance’, or the Mexican Orange blossom, is loved for is bright gold evergreen foliage. Grow it in full sun for the very best colour. This Mexican Orange Blossom is reliable and easy to grow, with a neat, compact habit that requires little maintenance. Choisya ternata plants are also very tolerant of difficult growing conditions, and will happily grow in coastal gardens. This RHS AGM variety is ideal for adding a splash of year-round colour to mixed borders. Height and spread: 2.5m.

Type: shrub

Height: 2.5m

Foliage: evergreen – bright yellow becoming yellow green

Flower colour: fragrant pink-tinged white

Flowering: late spring then again in summer or autumn

Aspect: full sun to partial shade

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