Choisya × dewitteana 'Aztec Pearl' AGM is a small (1.5m x 2.5m), evergreen shrub, which in in full flower is a wonderful sight. The bright green leaves are barely visible behind the numerous small clusters of white stars tinged with pink.
Best in a sheltered position in full sun, it flowers in late spring and then again in autumn if conditions permit. It is not fussy about soil type as long as it is well drained. Leaves are a feature in themselves, being a glossy dark green and finely divided, but they may be damaged by frost or strong winds.
Prune in late spring or early summer by removing 25-30cm (10-12in) from the top of the flowered stems. This may encourage a second flush of flowers and at the same time you can remove frost damaged stems to the base.
This plant makes a lovely flowering hedge or you can grow it with other spring flowering shrubs, for example Kolkwitzia, Ceanothus, Cotinus and Viburnum for a fabulous display during late April and May.
Here at Rosemoor, we take advantage of its interesting leaf form and team it with large-leaved plants such as Musa basjoo AGM and Trachycarpus fortunei AGM in the Exotic Garden. In the Croquet Lawn borders, we have planted it at the top of the slope at the back of the border where it forms a striking mound of blossom set off against dark-leaved evergreens including Coprosma 'Dark Spire', Nothofagus × leonii, and Drimys winteri AGM.
In the Formal Garden, 'Aztec Pearl' takes pride of place in the retaining wall beds beneath The Garden Room, our new events building. Here it is teamed with the tiny leaves of Corokia × virgata 'Frosted Chocolate' and Acacia pravissima AGM with its unusual triangular leaves and rich yellow flower-heads.
‘Aztec Pearl’ is easy-going, and is a compact alternative to Choisya ternata AGM. It makes a neat mound of long-flowering white blooms and it is small enough to be planted towards the front of the border allowing you to catch the fragrance as you walk past.
Pruning spring-flowering shrubs
Expert advice from the RHS
Shrubs for year-round interest
Choose the right plants to ensure your garden has colour every season