Philadelphus (mockorange) never bloomed!

Auntbebe(z5 NY)May 23, 2005

I am not a patient person, and this plant is really breaking my tolerance limit. I have had a mockorange for 4 years now, and never had a single bloom. This winter, to keep the deer from making a meal out of it, I sprayed it with "deer off" and wrapped the entire plant in burlap.

It is now 8 feet tall and 3-4 wide, but still no buds.

Should I fertilize it (never have), move it (it is in a Western exposure) or give up?


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JustJoeyGirl(z5 NY)

I have four different Mock Oranges. Do you know the type you have? I do have one that has not bloomed for me yet, but it is in too much shade I think. How awful to have such a beautiful bush, and take care of it, and not to get to smell the fragrant blossoms. My mock oranges all bloomed within the second season I had them in the ground..and they were small. I have large and dwarf varieties...I'm curious to see what your solution is too! Good Luck.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2005 at 11:07AM
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Auntbebe(z5 NY)

Hi, I bought my mockorange from Wayside, it's a Philadelphus Virginal. My shrub gets filtered morning light, and direct afternoon sun from 2pm or so. I'm an organic gardener, and could foliar feed it with liquid seaweed/fish emulsion, but for the first time in 23 years, I'm tempted to buy Miracle Gro.

Where did you buy your plants? And, do you fertilize?

Thanks. Barbara

    Bookmark   May 25, 2005 at 7:15AM
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JustJoeyGirl(z5 NY)

Barbara, I bought two of my mockoranges from Wayside, the same ones you of them has not flowered. It has been in the ground a few years. The others I bought locally...One at Devitts a long time ago...the golden leaved (Aurea, I believe) IT is beautiful and full and is just about to flower now, covered in buds. The other I bought locally too,either Adam's or Plant Depot I think, but that was a while ago too. It is a dwarf, double Mockorange, Minnesota Snowflake I think...I'd have to look it up on the tags I have.

I don't fertilize them...I have added compost to the island that I have the dwarf double one is a white garden chocked full of shrubs perennials, bulbs, vines, and I do add some compost with a little 10-10-10 added in during the very early spring. The others I do not fertilize at all. I have stopped using Wayside Gardens, too many poor performers, wrong orders, and dead plants.. I don't even temp myself with their catalog, it goes right in the trash when it comes. I have gotten some good plants from them, but I am tired of there always being a problem on every order.

The golden leafed one is on the north east corner of my house it gets morning sun, then some shade and late afternoon sun. It is beautiful.. The double one is in morning shade and mid afternoon sun...then late shade again...dappled shade,under the canopy of high trees. It flowers profusely too. The only ones I have trouble with are the ones from Wayside..One in full sun, and one in too much shade I think...

The only problem I have with them is you have to watch out for the tiny black flies that lay eggs and hatch on the soft stems that the blossoms form on. I do have to spray for them. I keep a careful eye out for that this time of year. One day they aren't there, the next day they are.

Good Luck...JoAnn

    Bookmark   May 25, 2005 at 11:25AM
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Auntbebe(z5 NY)

Thanks JoAnn,

I really appreciate your advice. I think I'll give it some compost and fish emulsion, and guess what, my plant now has the black flies you mention. I'm going to try to knock them off with a hard blast of water today, if that doesn't work, I'll try safers.

I know what you mean about Wayside, I've stopped ordering from them too. I really have stopped ordering from a lot of nurseries, but I did try a new one this year. Ashdown Roses in SC. They sent me 4 beautiful plants in the best packaging I've ever seen. If the weather ever warms up, they should really take off. I told myself I wouldn't buy any more roses, but they are hard to resist. This time I bought 2 roses zoned for zones 3 and 4, and 2 for zone 5. But I'll wrap them all this winter, since 2 are ramblers, and 1 climbing.

Your white garden sounds wonderful. It must look spectacular when the Minnesota snowflake is in bloom.

Thanks again.


    Bookmark   May 27, 2005 at 9:05AM
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JustJoeyGirl(z5 NY)

Glad you found the flies so you can limit the damage. Your plan of fertilzing sounds good. I may even try it for mine.

The white garden is one of my favorites in my yard. They are all my favorites though.

I know what you mean about not ordering from nurseries, this is probably my first spring I didn't order from anyone.

Here's a shot or two of my mockoranges from last year.. good luck, JoAnn.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2005 at 12:15PM
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Dave_Lisa(z7b WA)

I have this same problem! Mine is a Philidelphus Virginal, as well. It gets morning sun and filtered shade in the afternoon. Mine is also in a Western exposure, shaded by trees in the afternoon. I bought it from a local nursery. It's a really healthy plant, and it gets loads of new growth every season, but no blooms. I know it's not too young, because it was in bloom when I bought it! It's been in the ground for three years.

I'm getting really frustrated, too, because I bought it for its wonderful fragrance!

Perhaps it's a problem with Virginal? Or maybe Virginal and Western exposures?

    Bookmark   June 8, 2005 at 11:10AM
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JustJoeyGirl(z5 NY)

Maybe we should post this on another forum and see if there are others with the same problem, and see what their planting sites are...

    Bookmark   June 8, 2005 at 1:45PM
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Dave_Lisa(z7b WA)

Good idea, JustJoeyGirl. I wonder which would be the best forum?

By the way, I realized after I posted that this is the Hudson Valley forum. Ooooops. Washington State isn't exactly the Hudson Valley. I just did a search of the entire site, found this post, and responded.

I guess it doesn't matter for Philidelphus Virginal. Looks like it doesn't bloom anywhere! :)

    Bookmark   June 8, 2005 at 10:34PM
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Help, my MO has never ever bloomed, either; planted 5 years ago. Used to get filtered sun, but since I lost a huge tree now gets direct sun all day. Seems to make no difference. Also, this year, it has some disgusting bug on it. Beyond the "black spots" or dust described in some other posts, it has these beetles that I've never seen. Narrow bodies, purple midsections, otherwise black. They are crawling all over it. I will spray tomorrow, but does anyone know what these are? Also I would like to find a link to a good website with photos of garden pests. Most sites it seems you need to know the pest's name to find a photo or info. I need to look at photos to ID this guy. Thanks in advance.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2005 at 9:49PM
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JustJoeyGirl(z5 NY)

I hate to give you more 'useless' information, but I think ORTHO sells a book on garden pests....sorry I don't know the name of it may be able to page through and find it. I don't know of any particular websites. If you have a digital camera and can post a photo somewhere on this website, I am sure there is someone who can identify the little critters. They have done wonders for me. Good the way, do you know the variety of MO that you have and where you purchased it from? Just curious....

    Bookmark   June 10, 2005 at 10:31PM
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I don't know the variety, obviously it's a non-blooming variety :^) I think I bought it at Bordine's, a big chain here in MI. I will go to the nursery by my house, they have the big ORTHO book and I should be able to figure it out. Duh - got so used to the web, forgot about using BOOKS!! Actually I sprayed with soap today, then got disgusted and completely hacked the whole thing back hard, to about 2 feet tall. If it comes back, great, if not I'll replace it. Thanks for the memory-jogging!

    Bookmark   June 11, 2005 at 4:23PM
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LAA668984(z4/5 ny)

Seeing those beautiful photos makes me long for mine to bloom. I've had it for 10 yrs, some years it blooms, and some years not. This year, I haven't seen any. It seems to have a lot of dead wood, should I cut all the dead wood out now? I am thinking that it may rejuvenate it.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2005 at 11:02AM
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martiparti(z8 Albany OR)

Hi. One may take one of the black bugs to a county extension office to have it identified by the horticulture agent. A treatment plant will be recommended. Also to get a stubborn plant to begin blooming, a root prune shocks the shrub just enough it will begin blooming. To root prune, just slice your shovel into the dirt straight down. You will cut the shrub's roots and just go around the shrub in a circle. Another helpful recommendation is to add superphosphate to the soil. Superphosphate is available at any garden store. You will likely get results by using these two methods to stimulate bloom. Good luck!

    Bookmark   November 8, 2006 at 12:50AM
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Auntbebe(z5 NY)

You will never believe this, but my Philadelphus bloomed!!! I never got around to fertilize it, but we did have a really mild winter 2005/2006, and that may have helped. Or, it decided to bloom because I told it I was going to pull it out and replace it with an arbovitae!!! TOUGH LOVE!!! I am looking forward to the blooms again this year, and will take a photo to add to the post. Thanks again for the good advice.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2007 at 2:42PM
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I too have a mock orange which has never bloomed since planting three years ago. Someone suggested pruning right after flowering, but what do you prune if it has never flowered???
Any auggestions?

    Bookmark   June 14, 2008 at 5:58PM
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terrene(5b MA)

When I moved to this house, I brought a small division of a shrub with white fragrant flowers from the previous house. I didn't know what it was, and couldn't really remember what the flowers looked like, but from the leaves and stems, thought it was Viburnum dentatum, Arrowwood Viburnum.

This shrub has been in the ground for five years here at this house, in a mostly full sun location. It is now 8-9 feet tall and very healthy, but no blooms all these years! Lo and behold, it has flowered for the first time this year. Turns out it's Philadelphus 'Virginal', not Arrowwood Viburnum. Not a lot of blooms, but at least it's flowering and yes it's very fragrant.

I was just telling the shrub it had better bloom soon, or it was getting moved to a less prominent location. :)

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 7:12AM
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I got mine as a seedling from Bluestone Perennials and it bloomed the second year at 2 feet tall. I believe that plants grown in southern nurseries don't do as well up here as those grown up north, so I stick to northern nurseries. Everything I've ever gotten from Wayside hasn't flourished, so I stopped ordering from down south. Just a thought.

Also, I have a motto that if it doesn't bloom in 3 years I throw it out and put in something that will bloom. My life is comparitively short!

    Bookmark   June 30, 2008 at 12:55PM
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JustJoeyGirl(z5 NY)

Hi, I haven't been at the GW in a while and decided I'd check back in and see what was going on...the garden bug is starting to strike this year. I am so glad your mock orange has bloomed! How's it doing now. ( well, not now, it's dormant) but the following year? The one mock orange of mine that hadn't bloomed finally did, even though I did not move it. It did finally put out a few blooms last year. We had some landscaping done last spring and I had to disturb my favorite golden mock orange, but it seems like it came through ok. Phew...ha ha Enjoy the rest of winter..JoAnn

    Bookmark   January 14, 2009 at 9:40AM
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For flowering shrubs/vines (lilacs, hydrangea, wisteria, mockorange etc.) if you aren't getting blooms, but have healthy, full foliage... you should root prune the plant and add some super phosphate.


    Bookmark   June 16, 2011 at 11:34AM
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