Philadelphus for Pretty White Blooms

Philadelphus lewisii 'Blizzard' (mockorange) lots of flowers
Philadelphus lewisii 'Blizzard' (mockorange) lots of flowers

Philadelphus lewisii ‘Blizzard’ (Blizzard mockorange) makes a wonderful hardy shrub for part shade in a cold climate. They have pretty white blossoms and a wonderful fragrance. My Philadelphus has been a reliable bloomer, even after cold winters and spring frosts.

Philadelphus lewisii 'Blizzard' (mockorange) white buds
Philadelphus lewisii 'Blizzard' (mockorange) white buds

This Philadelphus lewisii ‘Blizzard’ (Blizzard mockorange) is an especially hardy version of mock orange that grows well in a northern garden. Even after a cold zone 3 winter, the shrub is full of these pretty white blooms. I thought that I might not get flowers this year, since we had a number of late spring frosts, but the blizzard mockorange has excelled itself with an abundance of these pretty blossoms. This has been a very reliable bloomer for me.

Philadelphus lewisii 'Blizzard' (mockorange) with Campanula
Philadelphus lewisii 'Blizzard' (mockorange) with Campanula

This closeup shows how many gorgeous flowers there are on the end of each Philadelphus stem. Behind there are flashes of blue peeking through from the Campanula poscharskyana (Serbian bellflower) and a frond of Osmunda regalis (royal fern).

Philadelphus lewisii 'Blizzard' (mockorange) pretty blooms
Philadelphus lewisii 'Blizzard' (mockorange) pretty blooms

In the above photo you can see the pure white petals with the golden centres. The mockorange blooms come after the spring flowering shrubs, but before the Hydrangea. In my zone 3 garden that is at the end of June, beginning of July. They are a good choice if you are looking for an early summer flowering shrub.

Philadelphus lewisii 'Blizzard' (mockorange) branching structure
Philadelphus lewisii 'Blizzard' (mockorange) branching structure

My Blizzard mockorange is about over a metre tall (4 feet) and 1.5 metres (5 feet) wide. It might grow a bit more still, but this shrub maintains a compact size. The branches of Philadelphus lewisii ‘Blizzard’ have a very nice red colour, that remains attractive after the leaves have fallen off the shrub in fall. The branching pattern of  ‘Blizzard’ is more elegant than my Philadelphus virginalis (basic mockorange). It has a number of shorter branches, with the smaller branches coming off at right angles opposite to each other, whereas the Philadelphus virginalis tends to have a smaller number of very long branches, in a looser shape, that come off at awkward angles, looking ungainly.

Philadelphus lewisii 'Blizzard' (mockorange) blooms closeup
Philadelphus lewisii 'Blizzard' (mockorange) blooms closeup

Almost every branch end has a set of pretty white flowers. This shrub has a multitude of blooms, even in part shade. This garden bed gets about 2 hours of sun a day, and some dappled light as the trees sway overhead. I’ve been very pleased with its performance here.

Philadelphus lewisii 'Blizzard' (mockorange) branch patio
Philadelphus lewisii 'Blizzard' (mockorange) branch patio

The flowers of Blizzard mockorange has a faint scent that is beautiful, but it is not strong enough to perfume  a large area of the garden. The fragrance is not quite as powerful as other Philadelphus. You have to bend over and sniff the blossoms to enjoy the sweet smell. The shrub is planted right next to my patio by my back door, so it is easy to enjoy the flowers and scent up close.

Philadelphus lewisii 'Blizzard' (mockorange) shrub
Philadelphus lewisii 'Blizzard' (mockorange) shrub

Philadelphus lewisii ‘Blizzard’ is a prolific bloomer, with beautiful white flowers, even after extra cold weather. With its attractive branching pattern, and overall shape, it looks good, even when not in bloom. I can recommend this for a zone 3 garden, if you are looking for a compact, early summer flowering shrub. In the photo below, you can see how Blizzard looks as the buds are just opening.

Philadelphus lewisii 'Blizzard' (mockorange) lots of blooms
Philadelphus lewisii 'Blizzard' (mockorange) lots of blooms

You can read more information about this mockorange shrub in this post.

22 thoughts on “Philadelphus for Pretty White Blooms”

  1. Beautiful pictures! I recently planted a Blizzard mockorange, it was covered in buds when I bought it, and they’ve just opened. The flowers are beautiful, I prefer the classic shape of the single flower to the double flowers which some mockoranges have. Mine is somewhat ungainly, but I will prune it this fall for a better shape. Northern Shade, have you ever had to prune yours? :)

  2. Rebecca, this is the fourth summer in my garden for this Blizzard mockorange and I haven’t pruned it yet. It has kept a nice shape, and fits the space well. If you do prune it, I would prune it right after it finishes blooming.

  3. Hello there NS . This was a great post. I haven’t had good luck with flowers blooming from two different mock oranges I have had. I have Philadelphus coronarius ‘Aureus’ right now and it is a pretty ornamental shrub even without the flowers .. I’ve had it about 4 or 5 years now and I’m wondering why it just doesn’t want to bloom for me .. no flower buds , good growth but after I wait as long as i can to see if there are flower buds, I eventually trim it back to the size I want it to be where it is .. I’m wondering about fertilizing it ? Do you have any suggestions ?

    1. Joy, although they can take part shade, I think that too much shade really cuts into the blooms of some mockorange. I suspect that this particular version, Philadelphus lewisii ‘Blizzard’ is just a more reliable bloomer. It seems to take the shade and the cold better, and still put on a great flower show. My Philadelphus virginalis just does not bloom well.

      I actually don’t fertilize mine, but I don’t fertilize any of my plants, except with the recycled garden plant matter, mostly leaves, tree debris, and decomposing mulches.

      Jackie, I really like this shrub for early summer. It is making a wall of white blooms now, and it’s a delight to walk by.

    1. Joanne, I noticed the fragrance from the Philadelphus much more today, and the scent seemed to be carrying farther. It might be because it’s been raining off and on, or perhaps more flowers are fully open. It was very sweet.

    1. Swimray, as I was working in the garden today, I kept walking by this Philadelphus, and I really enjoyed the fragrance, and pretty blooms.

      Shady Gardener, I know they can take part shade, but I don’t know if other types of mockorange take as much shade as this one. I’ve been very pleased with how well Blizzard has accepted the conditions and flowered so prolifically.

  4. Northern Shade, I’ve never had a mock orange. They’re very pretty, aren’t they? I didn’t know these would tolerate so much shade. I’m going to have to look into them. Thanks! :-)

  5. Your ‘Blizzard’ mock orange does seem much more floriferous than the taller mockoranges I remember as a child. If I recall, those mock oranges grew under on an elm-shaded avenue (back when there were elms); I don’t know how much shade contributed to the scanty flowering, but they were tall healthy plants.

    Does Blizzard make mock orange fruit? I remember playing with them as a kid, they looked like baseballs made of green squiggly brains. Rather heavy and hard, so if you have the tall kind, don’t plant them in a place you’d sit under.

    1. Pomona, my P. virginalis (common mockorange) has very few buds on it, which are just about to open. It hasn’t had any flowers up to now, so no chance to make mockorange fruit.

      Whereas the Blizzard mockorange is a real focal point right now in the garden with all of its petals. It has bloomed every year.

      Edmonton is one of the few places that still has a healthy elm population. Some of the older neighbourhoods still have elm lined streets.

  6. Could someone please tell me how to prune my blizzard mockorange? First time I’ve had it and can’t seem to find advice. All comments welcome – thank you in advance! Sheila

    1. Hi# 13, I haven’t had to prune my blizzard mockorange yet, as it is relatively young, has a nice shape and is blooming well. I would take out dead, damaged or diseased branches any time I saw them, by cutting them back to where they branch from.

      For more regular pruning, I would prune it just after the flowers fade. In my garden that’s around mid to the end of July, but might be earlier where you are. If there were any awkward branches that stick out unusually in the way, I would prune those back to where they branch from. If the shrub is older, crowded or tangled, you can prune a few of the oldest branches (thicker and more established) right back to their base.

  7. I planted some kind of Mock Orange around 4-5 years ago. It has NEVER flowered. I don’t know what kind of Mock Orange it is, but I got at the Local Garden center here in North Dallas.

    I am about to yank it out of the ground as a “waste-of-money plant”.

    Can anyone convince me otherwise? Or.. tender advise as to what I may be doing wrong. It sets in the northeast corner of my house, gets morning sun. I pruned it occasionally, when it get irritating to pass by when I mow. The trunk of the biggest stem coming out of the ground is almost 1 inch diameter.

    It’s a little early here to expect flowers on it yet (early April). But it has been a no-go for several years.

    Without fruitful advise… this “flowering” shrub is in the next take out bin…

    Thanks for any thoughts!


    1. Tom, I’ve had great success with my Philadelphus lewisii ‘Blizzard’(a type of Lewis mockorange), which is totally covered in masses of blooms every year. I do not have to pamper it at all, and it cheerfully puts out a fantastic show.

      However, my Philadelphus virginalis (common mockorange) is not nearly as reliable. It does perform better when I cut it back a bit. If you were still inclined to try a rejuvenate it, you could try cutting 1/3 of the older stems right back to the ground each year for the next three years to get new growth.

  8. Lovely photos. I have a dozen Blizzards that I ordered bare root. They are now after 20 years never been pruned & still bushy mass of thousands of flowers. I put one on a hill and it is now a hanging mock orange about 10’X 10′ long trails. A show stopper for sure. A great plant to grow. I found the doubles do not grow well at all. I do not feed them now only the 1st 2 years just hand throw some kelp/seaweed or gaia green organic fertilizers. Now at such a good size they fertilize themselves with their leaves falling. It is not a windy area but protective areas house & sheds. They do travel just a little but very nicely not invasive. I think I will do some pruning this season, thanks.

    1. Lyn, they do put on a great show when they are in bloom. My one Blizzard gives off a terrific fragrance, so your dozen Blizzards must really perfume your property.

  9. I have had a Philadelphus coronarius for 4 years and no blossoms yet !!!!
    How should I prune it to encourage blossoms next year? It should have bloomed in our area already.I think it is time to prune it back. should I prune all the branches back to the ground now?
    thanks for any suggestions

    1. John, usually you can prune them after they have bloomed, but it doesn’t sound like your shrub has ever flowered. You could try pruning out some of the older wood now, and see if it does better next year. My Philadelphus virginalis took about 5 years until it first bloomed, whereas my Philadelphus lewisii was an excellent bloomer from the first year I planted it.

  10. Help, the blizzard mock orange I got for the mother in law has no scent. Any idea why?
    We live in Winnipeg, Manitoba and planted it in 2012.
    Thanks for any info I can get on this matter

    1. Karen, did it just start blooming? I find that mine has only a bit of scent when it very first opens, but then the scent grows much stronger after a few days. By the end of the first week it perfumes the whole patio and the scent comes in through the window.

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