Choisya ternata: a useful and pleasingly attractive evergreen shrub
Also known by the common name of Mexican Orange Blossom, Choisya ternata is an extremely useful plant for any garden. It has a pleasant rounded growth habit, and tends not to get too large (1.5-2m is fairly standard).
C. ternata has dark green slightly glossy leaves which are attractively divided into three leaflets (hence the name ternata), and pretty clusters of fragrant white flowers from late spring. It is hardy for British winters and is largely maintenance free, only really requiring pruning to size if it starts to out-grow its allocated space.
It is a versatile shrub that will grow happily in full sun or partial shade, and can cope with a wide variety of soils providing they are reasonably free-draining. It prefers a relatively sheltered position away from very strong winds, but is brilliant grown against a fence or wall.
When I design planting plans for our garden design customers I love to use C. ternata singularly or in groups of three as part of a mixed planting scheme. As for companion planting, I think C. ternata looks particularly attractive alongside the purple foliage of Cotinus ‘Royal Purple’ or the spiky leaves of Mahonia ‘Charity’.
Its pleasant rounded shape also makes C. ternata ideal for a textural contrast alongside plants with different growth habits. Favourite combinations for me include the lower growing glaucous blue Euphorbia wulfenii, and the light and airy Foeniculum ‘Purpureum’ (bronze fennel).
So, if you are looking for a low-maintenance and easy to grow evergreen shrub that looks fabulous alongside a number of other popular garden plants then you really could do a lot worse than Choisya ternata. I certainly wouldn’t want to be without one in my own garden.
Tythorne Garden Design provides professional fixed-fee garden design solutions for customers in Grantham, Stamford, Newark and surrounding areas. Let's see how we can help you to enjoy your garden more. Call us on 07900 224 239 or 01529 455 355.