By Richard Flowers, ACCNP-Green Thumb Nursery-Ventura
It’s a plant that can be grown in many fashions and adapts to different situations. It has the ability to grow big and cover large areas but however if you want it to grow smaller that is perfectly fine also. This plant can grow as a shrub, vine, ground cover or hedge. This species takes heat, wind, little to regular water, and it is so popular it is everywhere. When it does not have its fragrant flowers it always has leaves that are dark green except for the new ones which are lighter in color. What is this impressive and utilitarian plant you may ask, it is none other than Star Jasmine.
Star Jasmine’s botanical name is a mouthful and sounds something like the name of a dinosaur, it is Trachelospermum jasminioides. The name for the genus Trachelospermum comes from the Greek word ‘trachelos’ meaning “a neck” and ‘sperma’ meaning “a seed” for the shape of the seeds and the species jasminioides means “ jasmine like”. Star Jasmine is native to Eastern and Southeastern Asia, into Japan, Korea, Southern China, and Vietnam but it is very well adapted to growing successfully in our world where it can be planted in sun or part shade in a soil that has decent drainage. It thrives both in hot interior valleys and coastal areas equally well. Star Jasmine has the ability to survive a frost and is hardy to around 10° F though leaves have a tendency to turn bronzy in the winter when temperatures drop below freezing but don’t worry it comes right back when it gets warmer.
Star Jasmine has an unforgettable sweet fragrance that people come to cherish. These blossoms occur during late spring into early summer. Their flowers are windmill /star-shaped and white that hang in clusters on outside branches. The individual flowers open over a long period that provides an extended flowering display. When not in bloom it is still very attractive with its rich green leathery leaves. I have seen this plant used in a multitude of different ways, it is very effective as a ground cover for large areas. Twining its way up a post and growing over an arbor is a classic way to use it. If you have a difficult area that is partially shaded and want an evergreen vine that would still put on a few flowers then Star Jasmine may be the ticket for you. How about a narrow planting space and want a durable vine to fulfill the area with support this plant may be a winner. I have seen evidence of an ugly wall that was covered with Star Jasmine by way of a trellis making a beautiful curtain and covering this unsightly space. When grown in a vine fashion please be advised you may need to tie up the stems to guide the plant in the direction you want it to grow. When Star Jasmine is pruned lower, it makes a delightful hedge, shrub in raised beds or entry gardens, edging a walk or drive, as an extension of a lawn, spilling over walls or under trees and shrubs. I have witnessed plantings of Star Jasmine adjacent to fruit trees, this is beneficial because the pollinating honeybee helps pollinate the flowers for a bountiful crop. This Jasmine also attracts humming birds and monarch butterflies. Another application I have even seen Star Jasmine growing is a hanging basket subject. Because of its strong fragrance, it is reportedly used to overwinter indoors in colder climates and to be used as a summer patio plant.
Star Jasmine thrives and looks its best when it is fed with a general purpose plant fertilizer once before spring growth begins and then again after flowering. Once established, Star Jasmine withstands occasional to infrequent summer watering and is drought tolerant along the coast but looks better with occasional irrigation. In hot interior locales as long as sufficient water is applied it will thrive. In order to make this subject more attractive you can prune to shape as needed. If left to its own devices, Star Jasmine has the ability to grow 20 to 30 feet tall, however without support and some tip-pinching, it can be managed as a 2 foot, attractive, high shrub or ground cover that can spread 10 feet if you let it.
Right now, Star Jasmine is gloriously in bloom. Your favorite Green Thumb Nursery carries a wide selection of these dependable, easy care, and fast growing plants year round whether in bloom or green. We have these plants that are already trained up on a stake for vining purposes to bush types that are not staked for ground cover and hedge applications. If you are needing to cover large areas of ground, we even provide dirt flats of Star Jasmine as well.
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