The Q&A Archives: Mock Orange problem

Question: This is my second year with a Philadelphus virginalis ?Dwarf Snowflake

Answer: Mock oranges flourish in lean, well-drained soil and full sun. Your mock orange is very likely a vigorous young shrub that is producing non-flowering whips. Excessive vegetation grows at the expense of the reproductive (flowering) process when the plant is fertilized. Leave it alone for a year or two, hold back on the fertilizer and avoid pruning it. The lifespan of a good mock orange branch is about four years. Look for and retain the little twiggy growths. These will produce flowers. If needed, prune immediately after flowering by cutting back the outer stems that have just bloomed. Make each cut just above a strong, outer-facing bud or new shoot. Next year?s blooms will appear from these buds. When pruning, remove some of the old wood close to the plant?s base to allow more light to the central shoots and encourage the development of new branches for subsequent bloom.

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