By Richard Flowers, ACCNP-Green Thumb Nursery-Ventura
When one thinks of fragrance, Jasmine is one of the first plants people think of, and for good reason.
It’s late winter, almost spring, and the beginning of March comes around. The pink buds are showing their faces and very soon these buds will transform then open to a white floral masterpiece that gives off an ever so delightful and sweet fragrance that I wait for every year. Just outside my kitchen window when the breeze is just right, I find myself being delighted by the perfume the blooms produce. The tempting fragrance it harbors invites me to cut runners from the vine, bring them inside and drape them over my bedroom window for several days so I could enjoy the aura it manufactures.These highly fragrant blossoms are white inside, pink to rose colored outside, and borne in dense clusters. The flower sprays are star-shaped, 5 petaled, and 2 cm in diameter. The blossoming time is mainly late winter and spring but could also have sporadic inflorescence throughout the year if you live in the coastal belt.
The leaves are compound meaning they have several leaflets arising for one stem and together with all the leaves arranged on the stems and branches the leaves appear to give the vine a lacy or delicate appearance.
The vine crawls and trails along a six foot high chain link fence. But it doesn’t stop there, the twirling stems weaves its branches in and out of the individual links and makes its way up and over the other side. Wherever the vine makes contact with the soil, it behaves like a ground cover. Pink Jasmine covers the once unsightly bare ground that was weed infested, but now it is a lush haven of finely cut foliage and flowers cloaking the area. From the fence and ground below the vine stretches its way more than 15 feet up a Sunburst Locust tree. Together with the beautiful flowers and lacy looking leaves, Pink Jasmine is a wonderful addition to someone’s garden.
Pink Jasmine is professionally known as Jasminum polyanthum . The genus name is a latinized word that Carl Linnaeus made from the Persian ‘yasameen’ which means a “gift from God”. The specific meaning comes from the Latin words ‘poly’ meaning “many” and ‘anthos’ meaning “flowers” in reference to the many flowers on this vine. Pink Jasmine comes from Guizhou, Sichuan, and Yunnan Provinces in China and was reportedly first discovered in 1883 by Père Jean Marie David, a French missionary and botanist. Pink Jasmine belongs to the family of plants called Oleaceae which encompasses such plants as; Olives, Forsythia, the Ash Tree, Lilac, and the popular Wax Leaf Privet hedge plant.
Pink Jasmine is easy to grow and adaptable to a wide variety of climates from warm to hot interior valleys as well as cooler coastal conditions. In the more moderated coastal areas it blooms a little earlier than farther inland. Although Pink Jasmine loves all day sun where it will bloom abundantly, in a partial shade area it blooms satisfactory. It may need a little protection from moderate frost (though it is tolerant) but is comes back strong. Pink Jasmine grows more rapidly in good soil but will adapt to less than perfect conditions.
This variety is a fast growing vine that could reach 20 feet high and wide if left un- trimmed, however it can be kept to any manageable height that is best for you. I have seen beautiful plants that surround people’s arbors that are managed at 8 – 9 feet giving a lacy/light feel from the foliage and offering filtered sunlight below. This versatile plant can be grown in large containers and can also be utilized as a hanging basket subject. Pink Jasmine is useful to dress up an old fence and is very effective to grow on a wall with a grid trellis. It is remarkable used around a door or window frame so the fragrance wafts inside. Another attribute the plant offers is that it is deer resistant.
Older plants do become woody and build up dead stems and thatch that make it look unsightly. In my personal landscape every 3-4 years I cut it back severely to the ground, clean all the dead debris out after it is done blooming and when growth commences in spring. The following year it grows back nice and fresh looking and starts to cover the chain link fence again. Alternatively if you wish to control the growth you could pinch and prune as needed throughout the year.
Come by your favorite Green thumb Nursery and check out these spectacular plants and other other cool things.
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