philadelphus

One of the loveliest, but remarkably underused, natives of the late spring/early summer is our native Mock Orange, Philadelphus lewisii.

The state flower of Idaho, it was discovered by Meriwether Lewis and gets its common name from the delicious orangey scent that makes it attractive to bees and humans alike.

Flowering for several weeks starting in late May or early June, the tall, arching branches are covered with a multitude of snow-white blossoms of usually four petals, pale yellow in the center. After the petals fall, the sepals remain in a way that looks like a second, different type of flower, providing some longer seasonal interest.

The oval leaves start out in the spring as a soft green and turn yellow in the fall. Note: during May and June the gloriousness of Philadelphus lewisii can be seen (and smelled) in Portland at Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge, SE 7th & Sellwood Blvd.

Mock Orange

Philadelphus lewisii: Mock Orange

Philadelphus lewisii is tolerant of a wide variety of conditions, from full sun to partial shade, from moist to dry. It can survive well on available rainfall here in the valley and is known to be quite drought tolerant, though sometimes a little additional water can help it to thrive and flower more vigorously.

Mock OrangePhiladelphus lewisii makes a good garden candidate for both its startling beauty and fragrance but because of its attractiveness to bees, it isn’t the best candidate for placement near a door. Its height and arching branches make a good backdrop for other plants, adding a sense of structure and stature to the garden.

Regular light pruning will help keep your Philadelphus filled out and denser; plant a few together to provide your garden with a sweet –smelling summer privacy hedge. In any case, it is beneficial to occasionally do a rejuvenating pruning (see side bar) to keep it at its best.

Find Natives for your garden

We offer a great selection of Northwest Natives from spring through fall. The plants featured are highlighted favorites, but they do not represent ALL of the plants we carry. For a more complete list, see our Northwest Native Plant List.

Natives

Abies: Native Fir

Natives

Acer Circinatum: Vine Maple

Natives

Actaea: Bugbane

Natives

Aquilegia: Columbine

Natives

Arbutus: Pacific Madrone

Natives

Asarum: Wild Ginger

Natives

Asclepias: Milkweed

Natives

Attracting Butterflies

Natives

Camassia: Camas

Natives

Ceanothus: Wild Lilac

Natives

Cornus sericea

Red Twig Dogwood
Natives

Corylus cornuta

Beaked Hazelnut
Natives

Dodecatheon: Shooting Star

Natives

Edible Fruits

Natives

Erigeron: Fleabane

Natives

Eriophyllum: Oregon Sunshine

Natives

Native Ferns

Natives

Fragaria: Wild Strawberry

Natives

Gaultheria shallon: Salal

Natives

Holodiscus: Oceanspray

Natives

Attracting Hummingbirds

Natives

Native Iris

Natives

Lewisia: Bitterroot

Natives

Mahonia: Oregon Grape

Natives

Malus fusca

Western Crabapple
Natives

Osmaronia: Indian Plum

Natives

Penstemon: Beard Tongue

Natives

Philadelphus: Mock Orange

Natives

Physocarpus

Western Ninebark
Natives

Pinus: Native Pine

Natives

Quercus: Garry Oak

Natives

Rhamnus: Cascara

Natives

Ribes: Wild Currant

Natives

Rosa: Wild Rose

Natives

Rubus: Salmonberry

Natives

Sambucus: Elderberry

Natives

Sedum: Stonecrop

Natives

Sidalcea: Checker Mallow

Natives

Sisyrinchium

Blue-eyed Grass
Natives

Solidago: Goldenrod

Natives

Symphoricarpos: Snowberry

Natives

Synthyris: Native Figwort

Natives

Trillium: Wake Robin

Natives

Vaccinium: Huckleberry

Natives

Vancouveria: Inside-out Flower

Natives

Viburnum trilobum

Cranberrybush
Natives

Viola: Violet

Natives

Winter Interest