Mon 27 May 2024
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Murraya is a beautiful shrub with a lush tropical appearance and wonderfully fragrant flowers that’s ideal for hedging. Try adding this beautiful and versatile plant to your garden.

 

What you need to know about murraya

Name: murraya, orange jessamine, mock orange (Murraya paniculata sometimes M. exotica).

Plant type: medium to large shrub.

Height: 3–4m, but normally pruned to less.

Foliage: small, glossy dark green.

Climate: tropical and sub-tropical, warm temperate, warm, sheltered areas in cool temperate.

Soil: prefers quality, free-draining soil enriched with organic matter, but adaptable.

Position: full sun to shade.

Flowering: small, white richly fragrant. Flowers mainly in late winter or early spring, but may also spot-flower throughout the year.

Feeding: annual application of controlled-release fertiliser.

Watering: needs reliable moisture, especially during hot or dry periods.

Appearance and characteristics of murraya

When establishing their garden, there are a couple of key points home owners often need to address: hedging or screening and easy-care plants. Murraya can cover both of those areas off, and a whole lot more. It’s technically a shrub, but can be used in all manner of situations, and when established it is a very robust plant.

  • A medium to large shrub, Murraya generally grows 3–4m, but given ideal conditions, and if left unpruned, it can reach 8m or more.
  • Its natural form is best described as vase-like, generally with a very short trunk
  • Murraya is most often seen trimmed into hedges.
  • Its small deep green leaves form a dense canopy, giving it a very lush, tropical look.

close up of a white murraya flower

Uses for murraya

Murraya can be grown for many uses, including:

  • An excellent, reasonably fast-growing hedging and screening plant.
  • Suitable for everything from formal hedges to loose screening.
  • An ideal choice for creating living walls as dividers between garden areas.
  • Can be trained into topiary forms.
  • Works well as a single feature planting when pruned for shapes.
  • Flowers multiple times a year, often following heavy rain after a dry spell.
  • The flowers smell very much like orange blossoms, and will fill the air with perfume.

How to plant and grow murraya

  • Murraya can grow in full sun through to shady spots, however it will become more “leggy” in shady areas and will require extra pruning to keep it dense and bushy.
  • In cooler regions it will require higher levels of sunlight, and must be in a warm, sheltered location.
  • Murraya does not generally tolerate temperatures below 0˚C.
  • It is adaptable to most soils, but will do best in a quality, open soil with a good quantity of available organic matter.
  • For best performance, provide reliable moisture over warmer or dry periods.
  • Very hardy once established.

Murraya planting tips

For best results, follow these tips when planting murraya:

  • Improve soil with the addition of composted manure or quality compost at planting time. This should be blended through well.
  • Add a controlled-release fertiliser at planting time.
  • If planting as a hedge, leave at least 1m intervals between trunks.
  • Mulch well after planting.

Caring for murraya

With a little care, your murraya will thrive:

  • Feed annually with a quality controlled-release fertiliser.
  • Top up mulch every spring. Before you lay mulch, spread and lightly rake in quality composted cow manure, around half a bag between each plant in a hedge, and water in well.
  • During dry periods you may need to water your murraya to keep it dense. It has a tendency to shed leaves when water-stressed.

How and when to prune murraya hedge

  • Regular light pruning will keep your plant dense and lush.
  • Prune after flowers have fallen and after any foliage growth flushes leave the plant looking shaggy.
  • If a murraya gets too straggly it can be pruned back as hard as you need to.

Diseases and pests

Murraya does not suffer from any notable pests and diseases.

  • Aphids may occasionally attack new foliage or flower buds. They are easily eradicated with a pyrethrum-based spray.

Murraya propagation

Growing murraya from seed

Although not often seen in most climates, the small bright red-orange fruits can be collected for their seed, and these can quite easily be encouraged to germinate.

  • Clean the skin and flesh from the seed.
  • Fill a small pot or seed tray with a seed-raising mix.
  • Place the seed in the mix and cover lightly. Water well and keep warm and moist until germination takes place.
  • Covering the pot or tray to increase humidity will speed up germination.

Growing murraya from cuttings

Growing murraya from cuttings can be somewhat unreliable.

  • Take semi-hardwood cuttings in autumn or early winter. These should be at least 10cm in length and ideally have a small “heel” of older wood at the base.
  • Fill pots with a suitable propagating mix and drill small holes with a pencil.
  • Remove most of the leaves from the cuttings, dip into propagating gel and then position in holes. Water in well, and keep moist, not wet, in a warm position.

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