Pruning Mock Orange

Mock Orange has a naturally vase-like form, but pruning the plant can maintain an appealing rounded shape. When and where you prune Mock Orange matters. Cutting the plant in the wrong place and at the wrong time can prevent this lovely shrub from blooming. While the lush foliage is beautiful, the striking, fragrant blooms are the main feature of this plant and what endears it to most gardeners. 


Pruning Mock Orange maintains a desirable look and helps the plant thrive. Overgrown plants struggle to support excess growth because air and sunlight are not accessible to the center of the shrub. Trimming your shrub annually keeps the plant looking and blooming its best.

When to Prune Mock Orange

Timing matters when it comes to shaping Mock Orange. Mock Orange blooms in the spring and into the early summer. Prune Mock Orange shrubs after they are done blooming, but before new branches start to appear. This plant blooms on the previous year’s growth, so the new growth that appears in summer will bloom next year. Thus, trimming the plant between late summer until early spring may reduce blooming.

You can trim Mock Orange anytime to remove dead or damaged growth. Getting rid of damaged growth enables the plant to redirect energy into new growth and help the plant do its best. Deadheading is unnecessary and does not extend the bloom cycle.


Why Prune Mock Orange

Mock Orange will become overgrown with time, which can limit flower production. Overgrown plants will have bare sections of branches that may not bloom well. Cutting back overgrowth allows the plant to access more sunlight and redirect energy into flowering. By removing old, nonproductive wood, trimming a plant can rejuvenate growth.

How to Prune Mock Orange

Step 1 - Identify old, overgrown branches

Remove up to one-third of old growth by cutting canes back to the base. Thin the interior of the shrub so that all branches have access to sunlight and air circulation.

Step 2 - Observe the plant for uneven growth

Cut back lopsided growth to create an even and well-rounded look

Step 3 - Trim the plant after the flowers fade

Mock Orange will push out new branches after it is done blooming, and these new branches will be where the plant sets flowers next year, so avoid removing new growth when pruning

Step 4 - Cut back damaged or dead growth

Damaged growth can be removed at any time


Mock Orange Pruning Tips

  • Mock Orange blooms on the previous year’s new growth, so prune Mock Orange after the shrub is done blooming
  • Shape the plant as needed to create a rounded look
  • Dead growth can be removed from Mock Orange shrubs at any time
  • Deadheading Mock Orange is unnecessary
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Author Alison Cotsonas - Published 01-23-2023