Philadelphus ‘Belle Etoile’

mock orange

  • © Richie Steffen / Great Plant Picks

  • © David Jones

Outstanding Qualities

Philadelphus 'Belle Etoile' is loved for its sensational, sweet fragrance, which flows through the garden like an unseen wave in midsummer. Its abundant flowers are single, creamy white with a maroon blotch at their centers and to about 2 inches across. It is a substantial shrub, requiring room to spread. Use it in a mixed border or as an informal screen. Plant it anywhere its fragrance will be appreciated in summer. It combines well with other plants that have purple foliage or flowers at the same time. Consider Penstemon 'Blackbird', Persicaria amplexicaulis 'Rosea' or one of the purple-leaf cultivars of Japanese barberry, such as 'Rose Glow' or 'Royal Cloak'. This shrub can also be used to support one of the many fine clematis that blooms on new wood, such as 'Madame Julia Correvon'. Mock orange's flowering branches can be cut for decoration, the lower leaves stripped off and stems pounded before they are placed in water. This is one of a group of hybrids developed by French plant hybridizer Pierre Lemoine in the late 1800s and early 1900s. This hybrid is noted for better fragrance, a longer flowering period and a more compact habit than other Philadelphus.

Quick Facts

Plant Type: shrub

Foliage Type: deciduous

Plant Height: 5 ft. 0 in. (1.52 meters)

Plant Width/Spread: 6 ft. 0 in. (1.83 meters)

Plant Height-Mature: 0 ft. 0 in. (0.00 meters)

Plant Width-Mature: 0 ft. 0 in. (0.00 meters)

Hardiness: USDA Zones 5 to 8

Flower Color: cream

Sun/Light Exposure: full sun to light or open shade

Water Requirements: drought tolerant when established, but appreciates occasional watering

Colors & Combos

Great Color Contrasts: purple, gold, bronze

Great Color Partners: dark green, variegated, chartreuse

Culture Notes
Mock orange prefers a moist to well-drained soil in full sun to light or open shade, but it will tolerate sandy or clay locations. In too much shade the flowering is greatly reduced. Once established, it is drought tolerant, but appreciates occasional watering during prolonged dry weather. Remove old, twiggy growth after the shrub finishes flowering, leaving robust canes. If it becomes leggy, it can be cut right back to ground level and allowed to regrow. Hard pruning is best done in winter.
Geek Notes
Both Dirr and Graham Stuart Thomas use the accent egout on etoile. I assume The Plant Finder to be wrong on this. CJ Nov 05