Friday, December 30, 2011



A small genus of 8 species of evergreen shrubs that are part of the Rutaceae family that are native from Arizona to Texas in the U.S and also Mexico.
They generally prefer a sunny site with fertile, well drained soil. They are generally not bothered by insect pests, disease or deer.
Many species are more cold hardy than their native range might suggest. Some dieback may occur during severe coldwaves however will usually grow back during spring.
Propagation is generally from semi-ripe cuttings taken during summer.

Choisya arizonica
An attractive, dense, small, evergreen shrub, reaching a maximum size of 5 x 3.5 feet, that is native to Arizona.
The pinnate leaves are composed of 3 or 5 narrow leaflets.
The aromatic foliage is deep green.
The fragrant, white flowers are borne on clusters during spring.
Hardy zones 7 to 10 in full sun. It requires hot summers and will need to be grown against a south facing wall in cooler climates.

Choista 'Aztec Pearl'
A fast growing, graceful evergreen shrub, reaching a maximum size of 8 x 8 ( rarely over 5 ) feet, that is a hybrid between Choisya arizonica and C. dumosa. Makes a great specimen plant or informal hedge.
Some records include: fastest growth rate - 2 feet.
The leaves, up to 3 inches in length, are composed of 3 or 5narrow leaflets. The fine-textured foliage is luxuriant deep green.
The very fragrant flowers are pink in bud, opening to white. They are borne from spring into early summer.
Hardy zones 7 to 10 ( tolerating 0 F and even reported to survive in zone 6 ) in full sun. Loves heat and is drought tolerant.

Choisya dumosa
An evergreen shrub, reaching a maximum height of 6.5 feet, that is native from southern Arizona to western Texas.
The leaves are composed of narrow leaflets that are mid-green.
The showy, 5-petalled flowers are pink in bud, opening to white.

Choisya ternata ( Mexican Orange Blossom )
An evergreen shrub, reaching a maximum size of 13 x 13 feet, that is native from Arizona into Mexico. Some records include: 3 years - 5 x 4 feet; 5 years - 7 feet.
The trifoliate leaves, up to 6 inches in length, are composed of 3 leaflets, up to 3 x 2 inches. The foliage is glossy bright green.
The starry white flowers, up to 1 inch wide, are borne in clusters during spring and often repeating during late summer.
Hardy zones 7 to 10 ( only some scorching during the winter in zone 7 ) in full sun on very well drained soil. If prefers a site protected from excessive wind.
Established plants are very drought tolerant during summer.
A light pruning after flowering will encourage a more compact, dense habit.
It is important to brush off excessive snow as the weight of more than a few inches can cause limbs to break.

* historical archive photo

Slightly smaller in size, reaching 8 x 8 feet at most.
Some records include: 2 years - 4 x 3 feet.
The foliage is golden-yellow at first, later turning to bright lime-green.
The fragrant white flowers are borne during early spring.
Hardy zones 8a to 10 in partial shade ( full sun may scorch the foliage on this cultivar...use regular C. ternata in full sun ).
Prune back hard during early spring.

* photo of unknown internet source

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