Mexican orange

Choisya ternata

Family: Rutaceae (roo-TAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Choisya (CHOY-see-uh) (Info)
Species: ternata (ter-NAY-tuh) (Info)
View this plant in a garden



Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun


Grown for foliage



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)


6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)


USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Where to Grow:

Grow outdoors year-round in hardiness zone

Can be grown as an annual


Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:

White/Near White

Bloom Characteristics:

Flowers are fragrant

Bloom Size:

Under 1"

Bloom Time:

Mid Spring

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From semi-hardwood cuttings

Seed Collecting:

Unknown - Tell us


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Florence, Alabama

Hot Springs Village, Arkansas

Alameda, California

Canyon Country, California

Ceres, California

Hercules, California

Penn Valley, California

Red Bluff, California

Sacramento, California

Santa Clara, California

Temecula, California

Saint Petersburg, Florida

Carrollton, Georgia

Waxhaw, North Carolina

Beaverton, Oregon

Durham, Oregon

Austin, Texas

Cedar Hill, Texas

Bellingham, Washington

Olympia, Washington

Poulsbo, Washington

Puyallup, Washington

Seattle, Washington (2 reports)

White Center, Washington

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Apr 13, 2016, 8zoner from Vancouver, BC (Zone 8b) wrote:

I have a green choisya growing in a part sun bed that has taken off like crazy and requires much pruning to keep in check. Just putting on it's main flowering show now in mid-April. It's been moved once which didn't seem to harm it at all. One year, snow did split the top but it carried on after some pruning out of the ugly bits, and easily filled in.

I also have a Sundance, yellow-leaved variety, which is newer but seems to be a slower grower than the plain green version. Hopeful it will begin to take off more now it's been in the ground a year or two. (Memory fading LOL).

(I'm in Zone 8a - Vancouver BC)

This is a lovely evergreen plant that is nice in a foundation bed - responds well to pruning.


On Feb 8, 2016, nothingfails from YAMBOL UPPER THRACE,
Bulgaria (Zone 7b) wrote:

I got mine from Holland. Paid about 10 euro for it which is much for the Bulgarian standarts. Top growth was burnt during spells of minus 13C (~8F). Flowers were a bit fragrant but scent did not travel in the air as of the real orange and in general was nothing special. Leaves had a spicy scent when crushed. Disappointed on the whole. Had to dig it out to plant smth more exciting!!!


On Feb 17, 2015, beazert from Decatur, TX wrote:

I had great luck with this bush in Cedar Hill, TX, planted in a rose bed on a western exposure. It was vigorous and bloomed profusely, and the lime green coloration of new leaves was just beautiful. I have tried it a couple of times in Decatur, TX (about 80 miles NW of Cedar Hill), where it has not survived. Possibly the winters are just enough colder to where it won't make it.


On Nov 18, 2014, LazLo from Austin, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

Pronunciation: SHWAH-see-ya


On Jul 12, 2012, stephenp from Wirral, UK, Zone 9a,
United Kingdom (Zone 9a) wrote:

Choisya ternata is a very common landscape plant here and fully hardy. The leaves are glossy green and in late spring, white flowers emerge from the plant, with a faint scent, more noticeable at night. A lovely evergreen plant which will tolerate some frosts.


On Jun 28, 2011, d2436 from Canyon Country, CA wrote:

I ordered this plant from a seller in Oregon about three years ago. When I received it I planted it in an area that gets about two hours of sun each day. It has really taken off. It is now about 5 feet wide by about 4 feet high and counting. The soil around my house is very sandy and full of rocks so I first amended the soil with a sandy loam addition. It has been getting more flowers as it matures and of course more fragrance. The fragrance is very sweet and the evergreen glossy leaves are another plus. I love this plant so much so that I have started several air layers and cuttings. Arbor Day has my zone as 9. I hope my information will help anybody interested in growing this plant.


On May 16, 2011, fernfarmer from Poulsbo, WA wrote:

I have several Mexican orange plants and love the way they look, smell and re-bloom periodically from spring to late summer. The only problem we've had is that the branches tend to split if the plant gets more than an inch of snow on it. The branches often continue to grow, even after splitting, but it creates gaps that take a few years to fill in.


On May 6, 2011, cubkat from Florence, AL wrote:

Grew this plant when living on North Oregon Coast. Brought a plant with me when we moved to Florence, Alabama. I have to protect it on the very very cold winter nights but it is worth it. The fragrance of this plant is wonderful. Have rooted 3 new plants from the original plant by layering. It blooms every spring. Growing it in partial shade but still very bright area. Every year the Giant Swallowtail - Papilio cresphontes caterpillar appears on the leaves.


On Apr 10, 2008, ncdirtdigger from Waxhaw, NC wrote:

I purchased this shrub last spring and kept it in a large pot for a year so I could move it around to see what condition it liked in my yard. It grew fast and has lots of blooms on it this spring, although I can't pick up any scent on them. I am trying to decide where to plant it in the yard, because of the lack of scent I won't be putting it near the path I had planned for it, but it is an attractive shrub year round.


On Feb 23, 2005, drdon from Temecula, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

We've had a little success and some bloom, yet this plant really doesn't like our water at all. The chlorine in our tap water just has a tendency to put these plants into a stand still during our hot, dry summers. Spring does bring some bloom but nothing like the areas where summer rains are common.


On Jun 19, 2004, daslederman from Melbourne,
Australia wrote:

Very vigorous and maintenance free - I think the fragrance is more like honey than orange - doesn't need much water.


On Sep 2, 2001, eltel from Macclesfield, CHESHIRE (Zone 8a) wrote:

Choisya ternata is a native of Mexico, Texas and Arizona. The flowers of this shrub are fragrant and even the leaves when crushed smell slightly of oranges. Described as hardy to USDA zone 7, it is known to be extremely frost-resistant, showing some scorching of the leaves and short die back, but recovering again and not dying outright.