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How to Start a Mock Orange Tree

By Katelyn Lynn ; Updated September 21, 2017

Mock orange are grown as deciduous or evergreen shrubs, depending on the variety. Some varieties of mock orange, such as evergreen mock orange (philadelphus mexicanus), can reach heights of 15 to 20 feet. All varieties prefer full sun and most varieties produce white, 1½- to 2½-inch wide fragrant flowers.

From a Cutting

Snip off a 5- to 6-inch long section of a mock orange branch right below a leaf. Remove the leaves from the bottom half of the cutting and cut the rest of the leaves in half. This helps prevent the cutting from losing water. Put the cutting in a few inches of water until you’re ready to pot it.

Place a growing medium of 60 percent perlite and 40 percent peat moss mix into 4-inch pots. Make sure the medium is well-moistened. Push a cutting into the soil in each plastic pot to a depth of 2 inches. Pat the soil gently around the mock orange cutting.

Soak the pots with water using a slow, steady stream of water until water is coming out of the drain holes of the pot. Place the pots into a plastic bag. Seal the bag.

Place the pots into an irrigation tray. Put the tray in a warm location, between 65 and 70 degrees F but not in any direct sunshine. Every day, check the pots to open the plastic bag for a few minutes for ventilation.

In 10 to 14 days, new growth should begin appearing. In six weeks, transplant the cuttings into larger growing receptacles.

From a Transplant

Fill 5- or 6-inch pots halfway with a mixture of 80 percent potting mix and 20 percent perlite. Water the growing medium in each pot thoroughly.

Remove a mock orange transplant carefully from its pot by gently tapping the rim of the pot with your trowel. Place the mock orange transplant into the larger pot. Add or remove growing medium to ensure the root ball is sitting firmly on the soil and that the base of the stem is just slightly below the rim of the pot, approximately 1 inch.

Add growing medium until the soil is 1 inch below the rim of the pot. Make sure the mock orange transplant is sitting level and straight in the pot as you fill it up with soil. Firm down the soil around each transplanted mock orange gently.

Use a balanced liquid based fertilizer, such as 8-8-8, to water each transplant thoroughly. Follow the directions on the label for strength per gallon, or quart of water.

Place the transplants in a protected location that will provide eight to 10 hours of light, but no direct sunlight, every day. Once transplanted cuttings have grown to 5 to 6 inches in height, harden them off by placing them in a protected location outside for two to three hours a day for 10 to 14 days prior to planting them permanently outside.


Things You Will Need

  • Mock orange cuttings
  • Potting mix
  • Perlite
  • 4-inch pots
  • Fertilizer
  • Snips
  • Plastic bags
  • Peat moss


  • Sunset Plant Finder suggests cutting back orange after blooming, removing dead growth and excess growth at its base.

About the Author


Katelyn Lynn has been writing health and wellness articles since 2007. Her work appears on various websites. Lynn is a certified holistic health practitioner who specializes in orthomolecular medicine and preventative modalities. She is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in health sciences from TUI University and has extensive experience in botany and horticulture.