Information About Choisya
Choisya Shrub Care: Learn About Choisya Shrub Planting
By Teo Spengler
If you are looking for tough, water-wise shrubs for your garden, consider choisya plants. Also called Mexican orange, is an evergreen shrub that bears clusters of fragrant, star-shaped flowers. Choisya shrub care is easy and this article will help.
MEXICAN ORANGE BLOSSOM
Article by David Marks
Mexican Orange Blossom (Choisya ternata) is grown not only for the masses of beautiful flowers in late April to late May but also for their foliage which, in the case of Choisya ternata Sundance, is a delicate yellow to lime green colour.
The foliage is evergreen although it looks at its best from March to November.
Choisyas originate from Mexico and surrounding areas and were introduced to Europe in 1826. They are named after Swiss horticulturalist Denis Choisy.
Close up of Mexican Orange Blossom flower
Use the checklist below to decide if a Choisya is suited to your garden conditions.
- They do best in full sun but will grow well in semi-shade.
- They are partially frost tolerant down to about -3°C / 26°F although read the main article below for more details about growing them in most areas of the UK.
- They have no real preference for soil type although they will not grow in extremely acid or alkaline soils
- Tolerate periods of drought especially when grown in the open ground. Their leaves are leathery and retain moisture well.
- Tolerate neglect well mainly because their nutrient requirement are low and they grow well with no pruning.
They produce attractive white flowers (citrus fragrance) from late April to early June and sometimes a second flowering in October / November.
How to grow lupins at home
Plant lupins in full sun to partial shade, in moist but well-drained soil. Protect young plants from slugs and snails. Cut the flowers back after blooming and propagate from basal cuttings in spring.
See below for more detailed advice on growing lupins.
Where to grow lupins
Lupins do best in full sun or dappled shade, in moist but well-drained soil. Like many other perennials with tall flowers, lupins benefit from a sheltered position.
Grow them towards the back of a border. Avoid planting them in containers as they grow weakly and can be susceptible to aphid attacks – they grow much better in the ground.
Although a traditional cottage garden plant, lupins can be planted in more contemporary planting schemes. Try growing them in large drifts among ornamental grasses, for an unusual effect.
How to plant lupins
Dig a planting hole in a well-drained soil. Plant and firm in place. Water and provide a plant support if planting in summer. Young plants tend to establish better in the garden than larger, more mature specimens.
How to propagate lupins
Lupins do not come true to type from seed, so lupins grown from seed are likely to flower in a mix of colours. Lupins can be divided in spring (not autumn) but division can be tricky as plants have a strong central tap root. The easiest way to propagate lupins is by taking basal cuttings in spring. Lupins will also self-seed in the garden, so lifting the seedlings with a garden trowel and potting them on, in is also a great way to generate new plants.
Growing lupins: problem solving
Spring shoots of lupins are prone to slug and snail damage, so be vigilant against attack. Protect lupins with copper tape or wildlife-friendly slug pellets, or pick slugs and snails off the plants every evening. The lupin aphid (Macrosiphum albifrons) can also be a problem for lupins. These grey aphids can form large colonies and gradually weaken the plant. Birds and other predators should manage aphid infestations naturally but if you don’t see signs of the colonies abating, cut off very infested flower spikes and spray with blast of water from your hose. You can use chemical control, but bear in mind that these chemicals also harm, and can kill, bees.
Caring for lupins
Deadhead lupins once flowers have faded and you should be rewarded with a second flush of flowers. In autumn, cut lupins right back to the ground after collecting seed. Lupins are not long-lived plants – expect to replace plants after about six years.
Watch this video featuring Debbie Copeman, from Glebelands Nursery, as she reveals her three top tips on caring for lupins, including how to keep away slugs and aphids:
Great lupins to grow:
- Lupinus‘Cashmere Cream’ – reaches 90cm. Creamy white flowers in June
- Lupinus ‘Rachel de Thame’ – a stunning white and pink lupin with June blooms. Reaching about 90cm
- Lupinus arboreus (pictured) – a beautiful evergreen shrub. Height 2m
- Lupinus ‘The Pages’ – dark maroon spires of flowers in May and June reaching an impressive 1.2m
- Lupinus ‘Russell Hybrids Mixed’ – a real favourite offering a wonderful range of mixed colours. Enjoy yellow, blue, red and pink flowers in May and June. Height 90cm
- Lupinus‘Terracotta’ – warm orange/red flowers in May to July. Reaches a height of 1m
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