Murraya paniculata hedge problems, pests and diseases

These lovely plants have dark green foliage that can be trimmed to make a dense hedge that exudes a lovely citrusy fragrance when in bloom.

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Murraya paniculata, commonly referred to as mock orange, makes a great low-maintenance hedging plant.

These lovely plants have dark green foliage that can be trimmed to make a dense hedge that exudes a lovely citrusy fragrance when in bloom.

However, mock orange can suffer a few problems and this can make your hedge look less than appealing.

Common problems that can afflict Murray paniculata include nutrient deficiencies, a pest infestation, and a variety of diseases.

It’s also important to note that these plants need good drainage and the right climate to thrive.

Here are some common problems and how to fix them.

Murraya leaves turning yellow

Murrayas like well-drained soil and a a warm climate

If the lovely dark green leaves of your Murraya paniculata hedge are starting to turn yellow, there could be a few probable reasons.

This could either be a problem with over or underwatering, a lack of nutrients, or that your climate is not suitable for these warmth-loving plants.

A warm climate

The first thing you need to know about mock orange is that it’s only suitable for growing in areas that have a relatively warm climate.

These lovely plants are not cold-tolerant and can’t withstand temperatures below 5 degrees Celsius. Plus, any frosts are likely to kill murrayas.

Therefore, if you live in an area that gets cold in winter and does experience some frosts, then this plant is not for you.

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Well-drained soil

Murraya also doesn’t like having wet roots for extended periods. They need to be grown in well draining soil.

If the soil is constantly damp around the roots of the plant, this will cause the leaves to turn yellow and drop off. Too much water and wet soil conditions also promote fungal diseases such as root rot.

Similarly, your Murraya paniculata won’t handle extended periods of drought either. They do need an adequate amount of water to thrive and grow.

The best way to determine when your mock orange needs water is to check the top 5 cm of the soil.

If it’s dry, then your plants need some water. However, if the soil is still damp, then check again in a couple of days.

A soil moisture meter can help you keep on top of moisture levels.

Yellow leaves could be a sign of nutrient deficiencies

As is the case with many different types of citrus plants, the yellowing of the leaves can indicate a nutrient deficiency.

Murrayas should be fed with a nitrogen-rich fertilizer around 3 to 4 times a year, except in winter.

This will ensure lots of new growth and glossy green leaves.

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Pests and diseases

Sooty mould, Soil Nematodes, and Citrus Greening can all affect a Murraya

There are a few pests and diseases that you need to look out for if you want to keep your hedge nice and healthy.

Sooty mould caused by the secretion of sap-sucking insects

Sooty mould appears as a black mould on the leaves and stems. It’s a fungal disease that is a result of the honeydew that is secreted by sap-sucking insects such as scale and aphids.

Although the sooty mould will not actually harm your plant, the insects that secrete the honeydew will.

Therefore, if you see black mould on your Murraya, check for sap-sucking insects on the stems or undersides of the leaves.

Aphids and scale can be treated with an organic insecticide or an oil-based product such as white or neem oil.

Once the insects have been removed, you can wash or wipe the mould off the leaves.

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Soil Nematodes

Root knot nematodes and curl grubs generally live in the soil and feed on the roots of your plant.

This can cause an enormous amount of damage to your lovely hedge as the damaged root system cannot give the plants the water and nutrients that they need.

There is no effective control for these in the home garden.

Huanglongbing or citrus greening

Huanglongbing, also known as yellow dragon disease or citrus greening, is a deadly bacterial infection that can kill your Murraya paniculata hedge.

The symptoms appear as an uneven or blotchy yellowing of the leaves.

Unfortunately, if your Murraya hedge has succumbed to this disease they will need to be dug up and disposed of as quickly as possible to stop the spread to other healthy citrus plants.

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FAQ

Do Murrayas like acidic soil?

Murrayas prefer soil that is neutral to slightly acidic. Soil pH levels should be between 5 and 7.

Is Murraya the same as jasmine?

Murraya paniculata is in the Rutaceae, or citrus family and is native to South Asia, Southeast Asia and Australia. They are also referred to as Mock Orange, Orange Jasmine, Orange Jessamine, and China Box.

Photo of author

Annette Hird

Annette Hird has an Associate Diploma of Applied Science in Horticulture. She has worked in a variety of production nurseries, primarily as a propagator. She also had the responsibility of a large homestead garden that included lawn care, fruit trees, roses and many other ornamental plants. More recently, Annette has concentrated on improving the garden landscape of the homes that she has lived in and focused a lot of energy on growing edible plants as well. She now enjoys sharing her experience and knowledge with others by writing articles about all facets of gardening and growing plants.