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Murraya paniculata or Orange Jasmine is an evergreen shrub that is native to Australia, South and Southeast Asia. It usually grows in rainforests and has been naturalised in other places such as the Pacific Islands. Its cream-coloured flowers, which bloom between June to March, are known to fill the air with the sweet smell of orange blossoms. The red-orange berry fruit attracts small birds that can spread its seeds and contribute to its propagation. Murraya’s deep green oval-shaped leaves that grow 2-3 inches from its twisted branches.
The murraya is popularly used as a hedge or decorative borders in many home gardens and establishments. A murraya planted on the ground grows faster than on pots. It requires regular light pruning to keep it lush and dense. Feeding murrayas with a quality-controlled fertiliser or organic compost such as cow manure will help the plant to thrive. The soil should be well-drained. The murraya is a hardy plant but it still needs water at least once per week during hot climate seasons.
Murraya propagation can be done in two ways: seed and cuttings. The small red-orange fruits can be planted in a small pot or seed tray. Add a seed-potting mix and cover lightly. While waiting for the seeds to germinate, water it well and to keep the soil moist. Growing a murraya from cuttings can be quite challenging. Take 10 cm of semi-hard cuttings in autumn or early winter. Prepare the pots with a propagating mix. Drill a small hole on each pot. Remove the leaves from the cuttings and sink in a propagating gel before positioning them in the holes. Cover the pots to increase humidity and speed up the germination.
There are several murraya varieties that are for sale in Sydney. The taller variety can be used as a privacy screen or windbreak. The dwarf variety, on the other hand, are the best ones to use as low hedges and topiary. It typically grows to a maximum height of 36 inches (90 cm). Here are examples of the murraya dwarf variety:
Min-a-min: The min-a-min is a popular murraya dwarf variety that grows up to 36 by 36 inches. It prefers warm and sunny climates. A young min-a-min requires watering at least once every six to eight weeks until it is fully grown.
Dwarf Murraya Paniculata: Popular as a flowering bonsai tree, the dwarf murraya paniculata are used as a decorative hedge. It is smaller than a min-a-min growing its maximum height up to 12 inches.
Murraya Exotica Minima: This variety is only similar to murraya paniculata that grows to a height of up to 24 inches. The murraya exotica grows slower than the paniculata and has larger leaves.
Fast facts about Murraya
Plant type: Shrub, evergreen
Common names: Orange Jasmine, Orange Jessamine
Native origins: Australia, South and Southeast Asia
Growth Rate: dense growth habit
Mature height and spread: 8 to 12 feet tall and wide
Light: Direct sunlight and partial shade
Temperature: 18-23 degrees Celsius
Soil: Rich, moist and well-drained loam
Maintenance: Low maintenance
Uses: Hedging, topiary, essential oil from the flowers