Plant of the Week: Star Jasmine

Oh, if only e-gardens could deliver the sweet smell! These little blooms would fill your whole room.

This has been my all-time favorite vine since I was a kid growing up in College Station. The folks in charge of the grounds at A&M used it as a tall groundcover in a bunch of beds over the campus, and spring, when it was in bloom, I purposely walked out of my way from A&M Consolidated just so I could take in that rich, wonderful aroma.

We grew our star jasmine, also known as Confederate jasmine, on a white lattice trellis, and our neighbor had hers over her walk. Our town was in love with this plant.

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And then, two years into college, I transferred north to Ohio State and had to leave a lot of my pals behind, this one included. And when Lynn (my new bride) and I moved back to Texas (Dallas), I found that I couldn’t grow it reliably through the North Texas winters. So, with a bit of envy, I say to my South Texas friends, be grateful for this wonderful gem that you have. It’s a treasure.

This is my plant, now 25 years old. It lives two lives, growing all the while in a large pot on a trellis. November-April it’s in my greenhouse. Then, as it starts to form buds, it comes out onto our drive where it lives among humans until winter approaches. It’s a longtime part of our family!

Facts to know about star jasmine…
Before you rush out to plant it, you’ll want to read through these quick pointers.

Star jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides). Sister to the most popular full-sun groundcover in Texas over the past 50 years, Asian jasmine, T. asiaticum.

Evergreen, twining vine growing to 15 to 18 feet tall.

The plant itself is pretty, but it’s those deliciously aromatic blooms that really grab you!

Extremely fragrant white blooms.

Winter-hardy to Zone 8. Great in South Texas. You’ll see it north of Tyler/Waco/Hill Country line, but it has frozen almost every time I’ve tried it in rural Collin County (DFW area).

Variety ‘Madison’ is reported to be slightly more winter-hardy, but not enough for me in our landscape.

Does best given a trellis or fence for support.

Slightly larger leaves than Asian jasmine and more open growth habit.

Good in sun or part shade.

Blooms heavily in late March in South Texas and through mid- or late April farther north.

Propagated by cuttings, but it’s easiest to get new plants as 1-gallon pots in nursery in spring.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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