≡ Menu

Plant Profile: False Mock-Orange (Fandlera rupicola)

Also known as cliff fendlerbush, this deciduous shrub is native to the mountains of Texas, Arizona, New Mexico,Colorado, and Utah where it grows on dry rocky slopes, cliffs, mesas, and in canyons and deserts.  It is a member of the hydrangea family, Hydrangeaceae, that also includes true mock-orange and Deutzia.  Plants grow 3 to 9′  tall and are intricately branched with  gray-brown often exfoliating bark and thick light green leaves that are eliptical to oblong, up to 1.25″ long, and twisted.   In mid-spring,  solitary or clusters of up to 3 pink buds open at the ends of short branches to 1.5″ wide  flowers that have 4  purplish sepals and  4 narrow creamy-white petals that are clawed at the base. False mock-orange thrives in hot dry climates and is an excellent choice for xeriscape or a border in the hottest part of the garden.  The genus name, Fendlera, honors August Fendler (1813-1883) German plant collector in North and Central America. Specific epithet, rupicola, comes from the Latin words rupes meaning cliff and colo meaning inhabit and refers to the native habitat of the plant.  Type: Flowering deciduous shrub

Outstanding Feature: Flowers

Form: Narrow, upright

Growth Rate: Moderate

Bloom: White 4 petaled flowers in mid-spring

Size: 3-9′ H

Light:Full sun

Soil: Average, dry, well-drained

Hardiness: Zones  6-10

Care: Prune back by no more than 1/3 after flowering every 2-3 years to shape.

Pests and Diseases: None of significance

Propagation: Seed, cuttings

Photo Credit:Wikimedia Commons