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Blizzard Mockorange Offers Fragrant Flowers and Extreme Winter Hardiness

'Blizzard' is a more winter-hardy and free-flowering version of its species. Its heavy late-spring bloom can fill a large area of the garden with a citrus-like fragrance. In 2022, this mockorange was named Shrub of the Year by the Nebraska-based GreatPlants program, which aims to recommend tough, adaptable plants that are beautiful, easy to manage and benefit pollinators and the larger environment of the American plains. (For more information on GreatPlants and past honorees, see http://www.plantnebraska.org.)

The fragrant spring bloom of 'Blizzard' mockorange occurs over several weeks.

The fragrant spring bloom of 'Blizzard' mockorange occurs over several weeks.

Common name: ‘Blizzard’ Lewis’s mockorange

Botanical name: Philadelphus lewisii ‘Blizzard’

Exposure: Full sun to part shade.

Flowers: Loose clusters of two-inch, pure white flowers with light yellow stamens appear over several weeks in late spring. They have a strong, sweet orange/pineapple scent. The blossoms make Lewis's mockorange a great pollinator plant.

Foliage: Oval, medium green, turning yellow in autumn. Deciduous.

Habit: Rounded to vase-shaped deciduous shrub growing 5 to 8 feet tall and wide.

Origin: Named in honor of Meriwether Lewis, who collected it in 1806 on his expedition’s return trip to St. Louis, the mockorange species Philadelphus lewisii is native to the western U.S. Its cultivar ‘Blizzard’ was selected from a seedling population in Alberta, Canada and introduced by the Morden Research Station in 1994. 

How to grow it: Plant 'Blizzard' mockorange in full sun or part shade. It is not picky about soil type, and it is drought tolerant once established. If pruning is needed, do so just after the shrub finishes blooming. This shrub responds well to renewal pruning, in which the oldest stems are cut off at the base. (Read more about renewal pruning here, and learn about the related rejuvenation pruning here.) USDA Zones 2b–8.

Image courtesy of GreatPlants.