Mock Orange Companion Plants

Mock orange is a well-loved, early spring blooming shrub that has incredibly fragrant white flowers. This beautiful ornamental shrub is native to most of North America and is a strong magnet for beneficial pollinators. Finding the right location to plant mock orange is easy. They are easy going and do quite well in full sun to part shade. They are not picky about soil type as long as it drains well. Mock orange develops next year's flowers on the current year's growth. Pruning after flowering and providing the right amount of moisture in the soil is important to ensure a good bloom display. 


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Shrubs To Plant With Mock Orange

Native shrubs for your region make the best companion plants for mock orange. Ninebark, dogwoods of all sizes and forms, snowberry, serviceberry, aronia, and witch hazel would all grow well with mock orange and could be used to create informal mixed hedge at your property border. Wildlife will appreciate the dense foliage and berries that form late in the summer and autumn. 

Mock orange can also be used in more formal settings such as dedicated rose gardens or a white-themed garden. Contrasting a free-form mock orange with closely clipped evergreen hedging such as boxwood, yew, or Japanese holly can make a powerful minimalist statement with old-fashioned scents. Another classic combination utilizes early blooming forsythia, lilacs, and mock orange. The shrubs have a slightly staggered flowering period that takes the garden from spring into summer and then provides a dependable backdrop of medium-green foliage for the rest of the summer. As with most shrub plantings, well-drained soil and at least 6 hours of sun will allow these combinations to thrive. 


Perennials To Plant With Mock Orange

Mock orange works great as an anchor for mixed perennial garden borders. Use mock orange as the anchor for a pastel-colored border with peonies, daylilies, and coral bells. The contrasting foliage of all these plants will draw the eye even when plants are out of bloom. Many native perennials, such as prairie grasses, echinacea, false indigo, veronica, and blazing star, look fantastic as ornamental plants and combine well with mock orange. All are hardy in most gardening zones and easy to grow.  

Annuals To Plant With Mock Orange

Annuals can be used to provide temporary color with mock orange shrubs. Hardy annuals like pansies, violas, annual baby’s breath, and clarkia will bloom until the heat of summer sets in. Annuals that like a shadier exposure can be planted around mock orange to help disguise any bare branches. Wishbone flowers, fuchsia, and impatiens will provide long-lasting color and can be changed from year to year if desired. 

Adding a slow-release fertilizer to the planting bed will provide continuous nutrition through the season to promote flowering and deep green foliage color. Choose an organic type backed with the OMRI seal of approval with a higher level of phosphorus for blooming plants.

Best Companion Plants For Mock Orange in Containers

Smaller, dwarf varieties of mock orange are great for growing in containers and will be quite happy for many years. Choose interesting cultivars that have either variegated or evergreen foliage to provide an interesting centerpiece to the overall composition. Shallow-rooted annuals are the best choice to fill in the container. Dramatic plants in white and silver like dichondra, licorice plant, annual euphorbia, or bacopa will grow well with mock orange and require little maintenance. The combinations may require some time to mature in the planter and fluff up. 

Plants Not To Grow With Mock Orange

Mock orange requires moderately moist and rich soil but does not tolerate soil that remains soggy for long periods. Avoid using bog-loving or aquatic plants in a design featuring mock orange shrubs. Mock orange looks best when left to develop its natural fountain and spreading habit. Avoid planting it with vigorous suckering plants like sumac and trumpet vine, which can overpower mock orange and make maintenance of the garden bed laborious. 

Best Plants To Grow With Mock Orange

Mock orange is at home when planted with other informal but highly ornamental plants. A garden bed that features early spring color with shrubs and perennials is the perfect setting. Use mock orange as the centerpiece of a garden planted with shrub roses, peonies, and iris for a highly fragrant, romantic outdoor space.

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Author Robbin Small - Published 10-10-2023