Mock Orange Isn't Blooming

The showy, white flowers of the Mock Orange shrub bloom from late spring into early summer. The lovely blooms smell faintly of oranges, inspiring the name. This easy-care plant grows quickly and boasts oval-shaped green foliage that provides a lush burst of greenery after the flowers fade. The fragrant flowers are a showstopper and the reason why gardeners include this perennial shrub in their space.


While this is a low-maintenance plant, Mock Orange bushes may not bloom if the conditions are not right. Usually the problem is an easy fix, allowing you to get back to enjoying the striking flowers of the Mock Orange.

Common Reasons Why Mock Orange Isn’t Blooming

  1. Sunlight

Mock Orange shrubs need partial shade to full sun to bloom adequately, which works out to at least 4 hours of direct sunlight during the day. Too much or too little light may impede blooming. Help your Mock Orange thrive by planting this shrub in a spot that receives morning sun and afternoon shade, especially in the southern reaches of its growing zones. Deep shade will prevent bud formation, and too much intense afternoon sunlight may be more than this plant can handle.

  1. Water

Established Mock Orange plants are drought tolerant, but letting the plants completely dry out during a dry spell can be damaging. Make sure to give your plant a drink during hot, dry weather. On the other hand, plants grown in a wet area, like near a marsh or pond, may fail to thrive due to soggy conditions. 

  1. Pruning

Pruning maintains a tidy shape and prevents Mock Orange plants from becoming overgrown, but timing is important. Flowers are set on the previous year’s growth, so if you prune too late in the season, the plant will not bloom or will not set as many flowers next spring.

  1. Fertilizer

Fertilizers can help plants thrive by providing the necessary nutrients to support abundant growth. Plants with a nutrient deficiency may not bloom well and should be supplemented with compost or fertilizer. On the other hand, using too much fertilizer can be damaging. Fertilizers high in nitrogen will encourage the plant to push out more foliage at the expense of flowering. Feed Mock Orange once each spring using a balanced fertilizer.


Pruning Mock Orange To Help It Bloom

Overgrown plants may not bloom because the shrub has to expend too much energy supporting excess branches that are not able to receive adequate sunlight. Mock Orange grows quickly and can become overgrown quickly. Giving the plant a rejuvenating trim can help it start over and push out more blooms the following spring. Prune Mock Orange after the flowers fade, but before new branches begin to grow. Cut the oldest canes at the base to open up the center of the shrub. This plant blooms on new growth, and removing this year’s new branches will mean fewer flowers next spring.

Fertilizing Mock Orange To Help It Bloom

Mock Orange bushes are not heavy feeders, but giving this plant a well-timed application of fertilizer will support healthy growth and flowers. There are a couple of ways you can feed Mock Orange shrubs. Amend the soil during planting or top-dress the soil of established plants using organic compost or manure. During the spring, apply a balanced, slow-release fertilizer. Avoid fertilizers high in nitrogen, which reduce flowering by causing the plant to focus on foliage production.


Get Mock Orange To Produce More Blooms

The lovely, sweet-scented flowers of the Mock Orange make this plant popular. You can help your plant produce more blooms by providing excellent care and conditions. Select a spot that receives full sun to partial shade, and amend the soil with organic compost or manure. New plants need consistent water, but established plants only need water during a drought or dry period. Fertilize each spring using a balanced, slow-release plant food. Avoid removing new growth when pruning since Mock Orange blooms on the previous year’s new growth.

Why Mock Orange Isn’t Blooming

  • Inadequate sunlight
  • Too much or not enough water
  • Lack of fertilizing or incorrect fertilizer
  • Ill-timed pruning
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Author Alison Cotsonas - Published 01-23-2023