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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. Only one of the species listed below, Jasminum parkeri, is a true shrub; its dwarf size suits it to rock gardens.

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. To 10–15 ft. tall, with dark green leaves divided into three leaflets and clusters of fragrant white flowers in summer.

Jasminum floridum

From China. To 5 ft. high. Dark green leaves 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., arch to make 10-ft. mound. Light green leaves with three to seven 2-in.-long leaflets. Clusters of 1/2-in., fragrant bright yellow flowers 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

From Admiralty Islands in the southwest Pacific. Requires long, warm growing season to bloom satisfactorily. Hardy to about 25°F/-4°C. Moderate growth to 10 to 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, borne in clusters of three.

Jasminum nudiflorum

From China. If unsupported, this deciduous, vining shrub reaches 4 ft. or higher and 7 ft. wide; if trained on a trellis or wall, can grow to 15 ft. Slender, willowy green stems stand out in 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

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

Jasminum sambac

Thought to be native to tropical Asia. To 6 to 10 ft. tall. Undivided glossy green leaves to 3 in. long. Blooms in summer, bearing clusters of powerfully fragrant, 3/4 to 1-in. white flowers.

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