Those fortunate enough to enjoy mild conditions should consider finding space for Trachelospermum Jasminoides in their back yard. These pretty and accommodating climbing vines grow happily in a range of horticultural settings. Better known as the Star Jasmine, this plant will steal the limelight and outshine many other garden favorites.
This member of the Milk Thistle family originates from South East Asia. However, it will thrive anywhere where local climate will allow it. Often it is so successful on foreign soils that it is regarded as an invasive thug that crowds out more delicate native species. Nevertheless, this reputation has done nothing to dent its popularity with gardeners who admire it greatly.
The vines sport handsome, evergreen foliage, which turns a delightful bronze hue as temperatures fall. The blossoming period is brief, but the stunning display of abundant, pretty white flowers more than makes up for this. Their true gift to the gardener, however, is their divine fragrance. Understandably, the plant is prized by perfume makers. It is equally attractive to wildlife and will summon hummingbirds, bees and butterflies from near and afar.
The vigorous climbing habit of this plant makes it ideal for training over arbors, trellises and gazebos. They will grow rapidly to cover up unsightly fences and structures. If planted in large enough containers they will spill and trail with grace. They will gladly provide ground cover beneath trees where other plants fail to grow. It is a very useful garden plant.
The Star Jasmine is best planted in neutral soils, but will tolerate a pH range from 6.1 to 7.8. They like to sink their roots into free draining loamy soils. They should be situated in a sunny location, but can still perform well in a semi-shaded area. In fact shade often shows the white flowers up to better effect. They need to be kept moist throughout the growing season and will benefit from regular feeding with a general purpose plant food. They rarely suffer from pestilence or disease.
Gardeners should be aware that this is a tender plant that can be killed by a heavy frost. Those gardening in cooler zones can get around this by making clever use of micro-climates within the garden. As rapid defrosting causes the greatest cell damage, planting against a west facing wall can protect the plant as it is more likely thaw gradually. In some areas, however, the plant must be confined to a greenhouse or conservatory if it is to survive.
Although they are generally long-lived plants it is wise to propagate new stock from the vine every so often. Semi-ripe cuttings taken from a non-flowering shoot will easily take root in a protective environment. Alternatively, it is possible to collect seeds from the ripe pods later in the season. These can be cleaned and stored until it is time for sowing.
Trachelospermum Jasminoides is an easy and undemanding plant that more than repays the attention given to it. It will grow for many years, bringing pleasure and stirring happy memories. It serves many practical functions within garden design, yet is never anything less than beautiful to behold.