I was wandering around the Georgia Botanical Garden when I was first introduced to Cestrum ‘Orange Peel’. Cestrum ‘Orange Peel’ Jessamine is a tough and undemanding plant that thrives in the heat of summer. Highly fragrant in the evening, Orange Peel is native to South America.
Cestrum ‘Orange Peel’ is deer-resistant, a long-flowering perennial that prefers full sun and well-drained soil.
Cestrum ‘Orange Peel’ bears flowers faintly reminiscent of butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa), coming into bloom just as butterfly weed finishes. Cestrum ‘Orange Peel’ is extremely long-flowering, from early summer into late fall.
It will grow quickly to become a deciduous shrub. In the northern part of its range (zones 7/8), it may die to the ground in winter. No worries, as Cestrum ‘Orange Peel’ will function as an herbaceous perennial, growing quickly and blooming profusely the following season.
Cestrum ‘Orange Peel’ is an exceptional choice in hot, sunny exposures. It is a very tough plant for the butterfly or meadow garden.
Reportedly attractive to hummingbirds and deer resistant, it will die back in colder zones or during tough winters, but so long as the soil is well-drained, it will return the following year. Water needs are minimal once established, making it an excellent choice for xeric gardens. Can be grown as a largish (to 8′ or so) rounded shrub in areas where hard frosts do not occur.
The fragrance is excellent at night. It will not be fragrant during the day, but only in the evening hours. The fragrance is not reminiscent of actual orange peels or citrus.
Scientific name: Cestrum x ‘Orange Peel’ – hybrid of Cestrum diurnum and Cestrum nocturnum.
Plant type: herbaceous perennial
Height: Fast growing 3′-6′ feet as perennial; to 8′ as a shrub in warmer climates.
Native status: native to South America.
Winter hardiness: 7-10
Of note: Fast growing long-flowering perennial with unusual burnt-orange flowers. Easy to grow. Highly fragrant in evening. Strongly prefers full sun and well-drained soil.