Mexican Orange (Choisya Arizonica ‘Bluestone’)

Plant: Table of Contents

All About Mexican Orange (Choisya arizonica ‘Bluestone’)

What is the Mexican Orange (Choisya arizonica ‘Bluestone’)?

The Mexican orange, scientifically known as Choisya arizonica ‘Bluestone’, is a beautiful and versatile evergreen shrub that belongs to the Rutaceae family. This native Mexican plant is renowned for its lush green foliage, fragrant white flowers, and its ability to thrive in a variety of conditions. The ‘Bluestone’ cultivar, in particular, is cherished for its striking blue-green foliage that sets it apart from other varieties of Mexican orange. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the culture, uses, care, and maintenance of this enchanting plant, exploring its characteristics and the factors that contribute to its successful cultivation.

Key Takeaways – Mexican orange (Choisya arizonica ‘Bluestone’)

Before we dive into the specifics of the Mexican orange shrub, let’s take a look at some key takeaways that encapsulate the essence of this ornamental plant:

  • Scientific Name: Choisya arizonica ‘Bluestone’
  • Common Names: Mexican orange, Bluestone Mexican orange, Mexican orange shrub
  • Cultivar: ‘Bluestone’
  • Family: Rutaceae
  • Foliage: Blue-green
  • Flowers: Fragrant white
  • Growth Habit: Evergreen shrub
  • Hardiness Zones: 7-10
  • Main Uses: Ornamental landscaping, fragrance, wildlife attraction
  • Notable Traits: Drought-tolerant, low maintenance, versatile

With these key points in mind, we can now delve into the detailed aspects of the Mexican orange, exploring everything from its cultural requirements to its propagation methods and common pests.



The Mexican orange (Choisya arizonica ‘Bluestone’) exhibits moderate water needs and demonstrates good drought tolerance once established. When it comes to watering, it’s crucial to strike a balance. Overly waterlogged conditions can lead to root rot and other moisture-related issues, while prolonged dry spells may result in stress and reduced flowering.

Watering Tips:
Establishment Phase: Newly planted Mexican orange shrubs should be watered deeply and regularly to aid in root establishment. This is particularly important during the first growing season.
Mature Plants: Once established, the shrub generally requires watering during extended periods of drought. It is vital to water deeply, allowing the soil to dry out slightly between waterings to encourage healthy root growth.


Mexican orange shrubs thrive in locations that offer full to partial sun. While they can tolerate some shade, they tend to exhibit their best growth and flowering when provided with ample sunlight. As a general guideline, a minimum of 4-6 hours of direct sunlight per day is recommended for optimal performance.

Sunlight Needs:
– Choose a location for planting that receives sufficient sunlight, especially during the morning hours when the light is gentle.
– In hotter regions, some afternoon shade can be beneficial to prevent excessive stress on the plant during the peak of the day.


In terms of soil requirements, Mexican orange shrubs are adaptable and can grow in a range of soil types as long as the soil is well-draining. Whether it’s loam, sandy, or clay soil, ensuring good drainage is essential to prevent waterlogging, which can compromise root health.

Soil Tips:
– Prior to planting, amend heavy clay soil with organic matter to improve drainage and fertility.
– A slightly acidic to neutral soil pH in the range of 6.0-7.5 is ideal for the shrub’s growth and nutrient uptake.


The Mexican orange (Choisya arizonica ‘Bluestone’) is a multifaceted plant that offers a myriad of uses in both residential and commercial landscapes.

Ornamental Landscaping

One of its primary uses is as an ornamental shrub in landscaping. The vibrant blue-green foliage adds a refreshing pop of color to garden beds, borders, and mixed shrub plantings, creating an attractive contrast against other plants.

Landscape Uses:
Foundation Planting: Mexican orange shrubs are commonly utilized for foundation plantings around homes and buildings, where their compact and neat growth habit adds visual appeal.
Mixed Borders: They contribute to mixed borders, particularly when combined with plants that complement their foliage and bloom colors.
Container Gardening: The shrub can be grown in containers on patios and balconies, adding a touch of greenery to urban spaces.


The fragrant white flowers of the Mexican orange are a significant draw for gardeners and enthusiasts. The delightful citrus-like scent that emanates from the blooms adds a sensory dimension to outdoor spaces, making it an enticing choice for aromatic gardens.

Aromatic Appeal:
– Place the shrub near outdoor seating areas or along pathways to enjoy the pleasant fragrance when the flowers are in bloom.

Wildlife Attraction

Beyond its aesthetic appeal, the Mexican orange also holds a special allure for pollinators such as bees and butterflies. The nectar-rich flowers serve as a valuable food source and contribute to the overall biodiversity of the landscape.

Wildlife Garden:
– Integrate Mexican orange shrubs into wildlife-friendly garden designs to support pollinators and enhance ecological balance.


When it comes to fertilizing Mexican orange shrubs, a balanced approach is key. While they are capable of thriving in relatively poor soils, providing some supplemental nutrition can promote healthier growth and prolific flowering.

Fertilization Guidelines:
Timing: Apply a balanced, slow-release fertilizer in early spring before new growth emerges to provide essential nutrients for the upcoming growing season.
Frequency: Repeat the application of fertilizer in late spring or early summer if the shrub’s growth appears lackluster or the foliage shows signs of nutrient deficiencies.


Pruning plays a vital role in shaping the Mexican orange shrub and maintaining its health and vigor. With the right pruning techniques, the plant can be kept looking tidy, encourage better air circulation, and stimulate new growth.

Pruning Techniques:
Regular Maintenance: Light, regular pruning throughout the growing season can help control the shrub’s size and shape.
Deadheading: Remove spent flowers to prolong the blooming period and encourage the production of new buds.


If you’re looking to propagate Mexican orange shrubs to expand your garden or share with others, several methods can be employed successfully, including softwood cuttings and seeds.

Propagation Tips:
Softwood Cuttings: During the early summer, take 4-6 inch cuttings from the tips of healthy, non-flowering shoots and root them in well-draining, moist potting mix to propagate new plants.
Seed Propagation: Collect ripe seed capsules from the shrub in autumn, sow the seeds in seed trays or pots with a seed starting mix, and provide consistent moisture for germination.

Container Popularity

Mexican orange shrubs are well-suited for container cultivation, making them a popular choice for urban and small space gardening. Their compact size and attractive foliage make them versatile additions to container plantings.

Container Gardening Tips:
Container Selection: Choose a large, sturdy container with drainage holes to accommodate the shrub’s root system and prevent waterlogging.
Growing Medium: Use a high-quality, well-draining potting mix formulated for container plants to provide adequate aeration and moisture retention.

Common Diseases

While Mexican orange shrubs are generally resilient, they can be susceptible to certain diseases, particularly when grown in unfavorable conditions or exposed to stress. Understanding common diseases and their symptoms is essential for timely intervention and management.

Notable Diseases:
1. Root Rot: Overly wet, poorly-drained soil can lead to root rot, characterized by wilting, yellowing foliage and a foul odor from the root zone.
2. Powdery Mildew: This fungal infection manifests as white, powdery growth on the leaves, often accompanied by distorted growth and premature leaf drop.

Disease Diagnosis

Accurately diagnosing diseases affecting Mexican orange shrubs is crucial for implementing the appropriate control measures. Close observation of the plant’s symptoms and timely action are key in preserving the plant’s health.

Diagnosis Steps:
1. Symptom Identification: Observe any changes in leaf color, texture, or overall plant vigor.
2. Examination: Inspect the foliage, stems, and root zone for signs of pests, fungi, or other pathogens.
3. Consultation: Seek guidance from local horticultural experts or plant healthcare professionals for a precise diagnosis and tailored recommendations.

Common Pests

The Mexican orange shrub may encounter a few pest issues, but it generally possesses a good level of resistance. Nevertheless, vigilance and proactive pest management practices are essential for safeguarding the plant’s well-being.

Potential Pests:
Aphids: These small, sap-sucking insects can cluster on new growth, leading to distorted leaves and reduced vigor.
Scale Insects: Scale insects can appear as raised, waxy bumps on the stems and foliage, causing weakening and stunted growth.

Botanist’s Tips

The enchanting Mexican orange shrub offers a myriad of aesthetic and ecological benefits, prompting botanists and gardening enthusiasts to offer valuable tips for its successful cultivation and enjoyment.

Expert Advice:
Encourage Diversity: Pair Mexican orange shrubs with a diverse selection of companion plants to create visually appealing and ecologically beneficial garden settings.
Prune with Purpose: Pruning should be approached with a clear objective, whether it’s shaping the plant, rejuvenating older growth, or managing its size within a specific space.

Fun Facts

To add a touch of intrigue and fascination, here are some intriguing and little-known facts about the Mexican orange (Choisya arizonica ‘Bluestone’):

  • The foliage of the ‘Bluestone’ variety exhibits a captivating blue-green hue, making it a standout choice for ornamental landscapes.
  • Mexican orange shrubs are part of the Rutaceae family, which also includes citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, and limes.
  • The fragrant white flowers are sought after for their alluring scent, reminiscent of citrus blossoms, adding a sensory dimension to outdoor spaces.

Links to External Resources

For additional information, inspiration, and guidance on Mexican orange shrubs, consider exploring these curated external resources:

  1. Royal Horticultural Society – Choisya arizonica ‘Bluestone’
  2. Missouri Botanical Garden – Mexican Orange, Choisya arizonica
  3. University of Florida IFAS Extension – Choisya arizonica ‘Bluestone’
  4. PlantWise – Mexican orange shrub (Choisya arizonica)

By delving into these resources, you can deepen your understanding of the Mexican orange shrub, gaining insights into its growth habits, care requirements, and landscape uses.

In conclusion, the Mexican orange (Choisya arizonica ‘Bluestone’) stands as a captivating and versatile addition to garden landscapes, offering aesthetic, olfactory, and ecological appeal. With the right cultural practices and a touch of creativity, this evergreen shrub can thrive and enchant, contributing its unique charm to outdoor spaces. Whether grown for its ornamental foliage, fragrant blossoms, or role in supporting wildlife, the Mexican orange remains a cherished and esteemed plant in the horticultural realm.

Picture of Peter Taylors

Peter Taylors

Expert botanist who loves plants. His expertise spans taxonomy, plant ecology, and ethnobotany. An advocate for plant conservation, he mentors and educates future botanists, leaving a lasting impact on the field.