How to Trim a Mock Orange


The fragrant white flowers of mock oranges (Philadelphus coronarius) have a scent similar to orange blossoms. They bloom in late spring to early summer, followed by brown seedpods with four parts in the fall. Mock oranges grow 10 to 12 feet tall and wide in a vase shape with a rounded or arching top. Some varieties have double flowers or gold leaves. Mock oranges should be pruned after flowering to promote new growth and more blooms and to maintain the plant's shape.

Step 1

Trim limbs up to 3/4 inch in diameter with hand pruners. Use lopping shears for larger limbs up to 1 1/2 inch in diameter. Cut limbs at a 30 degree angle just above a bud or joint.

Step 2

Trim 1/3 of the old nonproductive limbs at ground level to encourage fresh growth. Old limbs are darker in color and have fewer leaves than young limbs.

Step 3

Remove broken, damaged, diseased or dead limbs. Cankers, split bark or wood, oozing lesions and dying or dead foliage are symptoms of disease.

Step 4

Trim twiggy and wayward growth to enhance the natural vase shape of the plant.

Step 5

Rejuvenate scraggly or misshapen plants by cutting all the limbs off at ground level. The plant will produce strong fresh growth that can be trimmed as desired. Flowers will not bloom the year you rejuvenate the plant but will resume blooming the following year.

Things You'll Need

  • Hand pruners
  • Lopping shears


  • Michigan State University: Philadelphus coronarius
  • Purdue University: Pruning Ornamental Trees and Shrubs
  • Washington State University: Pruning Deciduous Shrubs

Who Can Help

  • Virginia Tech: Philadelphus coronarius
  • North Dakota State University: Questions On Mock Orange
Keywords: trim mock orange, mock orange, Philadelphus coronarius

About this Author

Melody Lee worked as a newspaper reporter, copywriter and editor for 5 years. In addition, she has edited magazine articles and books. Lee holds a degree in landscape design and is a Florida master gardener. She has more than 25 years of gardening experience, which includes working at nurseries and greenhouses.