Plant Description

Murraya paniculata

Murraya paniculata clipped to form a hedge and topiary

Sometimes known as orange jessamine, this evergreen shrub hails from tropical Asia and grows in a dense rounded form up to 3 m in height if unpruned. It has small, shiny dark green leaves and beautifully scented white flowers which appear in mid to late spring and again in late summer or early autumn; and additional flushes of bloom can occur during these periods after a heavy downpour of rain. The flowers are sometimes followed by red berries.

It probably has become something of a cliche as a hedge in Sydney gardens, as it endures regular pruning so well, but it is a great plant as it is so eminently suited to our climate and forms a good backdrop to flowering perennials and smaller shrubs. Regular clipping will, of course, reduce the number of flowers. The dwarf cultivar 'Min-A-Min' grows to only 1 m tall, and could be a useful low hedge, with the added attraction of fragrant flowers and lush green leaves.

It thrives in a sunny spot with moist but well-drained soil which has been amended with humus. It will grow in part shade but may be rather less dense in such a position. It copes well with hot, dry summers, as well as with humidity. It does not grow so well in cooler areas. Even if it is not being grown as a hedge, it benefits from being trimmed lightly in autumn. If the lower branches are removed, it can be shaped like a small tree. The new foliage growth is a lovely lime colour. Although I have never moved or dug out a Murraya, people tell me they have a massive root system. I haven't yet had a problem with drains or pipes from my ones.

Another species, Murraya koenigii, is the curry leaf tree which also grows to 3m, the foliage of which is used in Indian and Sri Lankan cooking. I have successfully grown mine in a pot. It can get very tall if grown in the garden.


Murraya paniculata
Out now in my Sydney garden.
Flowers Feb, Mar, Apr, Oct, Nov
Plant Family: Rutaceae