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Jasminum

Jasmine
Oleaceae
Deciduous, Evergreen, Shrubs, Vines, Semi-evergreen

When one thinks of fragrance, jasmine is one of the first plants that comes to mind.

Growth habits of jasmines range from vining to vining-shrubby to decidedly shrubby. True vining types climb by twining stems. Vining shrubs do not twine, but rather put out long, slender, lax stems that must be tied into place if the plants are to function as vines. Otherwise, they’ll flop over to make green haystacks of foliage. To grow these plants as shrubs, shorten any shoots that become too long.

Jasmines grow more rapidly in good soil and bloom more profusely in sunny sites, but all adapt well to less-than-perfect conditions. When plants become tangled or untidy, cut them back heavily just before spring growth begins. Pinch and prune as needed throughout the year to control growth.

For information about star jasmine (not a true jasmine), see Trachelospermum jasminoides.

Jasminum azoricum (photo courtesy of MNS Photo/Alamy)
Jasminum azoricum (photo courtesy of MNS Photo/Alamy)

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Jasminum azoricum

Evergreen vining shrub from the Azores. Grows to 10–15 ft. tall, with dark green leaves divided into three leaflets and clusters of fragrant white flowers in summer.

Jasminum floridum

Evergreen or semievergreen vining shrub from China. Grows to 5 ft. tall. Dark green leaves are divided into three (rarely five) small leaflets. Clusters of golden yellow, scentless flowers bloom primarily from spring into fall.

Jasminum humile (photo courtesy of Howard Rice/Garden Picture Library/Photolibrary)
Jasminum humile (photo courtesy of Howard Rice/Garden Picture Library/Photolibrary)

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Jasminum humile

Evergreen vining shrub from the Middle East, Myanmar, and China. Erect, willowy shoots reach to 20 ft. and arch to make a 10-ft. mound. Light green leaves have three to seven 2-in.-long leaflets. Clusters of 1/2-in., fragrant bright yellow flowers bloom all summer. Can be trained as a shrub or clipped into a hedge. ‘Revolutum’ has larger flowers (to 1 in. wide) and larger, darker green leaves than the species.

Jasminum laurifolium nitidum

Evergreen or semieevergreen vine from the Admiralty Islands in the southwest Pacific. Requires a long, warm growing season to bloom satisfactorily. Hardy to about 25°F/–4°C. Moderate growth to 10–20 ft. Undivided glossy green leaves to 2 in. long. Very fragrant flowers shaped like 1-in. pinwheels open from purplish buds in late spring and summer. Flowers are white above, purplish beneath, and borne in clusters of three.

Jasminum nudiflorum

Deciduous vining shrub from China. If unsupported, this shrub reaches 4 ft. or higher and 7 ft. wide; if trained on a trellis or wall, it can grow to 15 ft. Slender, willowy green stems stand out in a winter landscape. Unscented, bright yellow, 1-in. flowers appear in winter or early spring, before handsome, glossy green, three-leafleted leaves unfurl. Best adapted to cooler climates.

Jasminum polyanthum

Evergreen vine from China. Fast-climbing, strong-growing vine to 20 ft. Bright to dark green leaves are slightly paler on the undersides; have five to seven leaflets with the terminal leaflet slightly longer than the rest. Highly fragrant blossoms are white inside, rose colored outside, and are borne in dense clusters. Blooms in late winter and spring; sporadic flowers the rest of the year.

Jasminum sambac ‘Grand Duke’ (photo courtesy of Monrovia)
Jasminum sambac ‘Grand Duke’ (photo courtesy of Monrovia)

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Jasminum sambac

Evergreen vining shrub thought to be native to tropical Asia. Grows to 6–10 ft. tall. Undivided glossy green leaves to 3 in. long. Blooms in summer, bearing clusters of powerfully fragrant, 3/4–1-in. white flowers. ‘Grand Duke’ has double flowers. In Hawaii, the blossoms of this species are favored for leis and are used in making perfume. In Asia, they’re used in jasmine tea.

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