Gardeners who make space for a Trachelospermum Jasminoides among their borders will not regret it. This delightful and obliging plant will brighten up awkward spots, never fearing to grow where other plants wither. Usually referred to by its common name, Star Jasmine, this plant is a great performer that is truly deserving of its title.
The Star Jasmine is a member of the large and varied Apocynaceae family. It hails originally from South East Asia, but is happy to put down roots in any sufficiently clement climate. Conservationists often frown upon this exuberant plant. They view it as an unruly invasive species. However, this does not stop gardeners from loving it, and there is a good reason for that.
These attractive climbing vines give a year round display of glossy green foliage, supplying welcome color during the dormant season. When in flower, the show of delicate tubular blooms can be breathtaking. They are most highly prized, however, for their heavenly scent. The fragrance appeals not only to humans, but will act as a powerful magnet to beneficial garden wildlife, such as pollinating bees.
Once established, the Star Jasmine will grow vigorously. It will quickly smother unsightly fences and walls. It will scramble up pillars and pergolas. It will trail gracefully from large containers. It will not sulk, as many other plants do, when planted beneath a tree, but instead provide mounds of pleasing ground cover. The versatility of this plant is undeniable.
It is best to plant the vines in a neutral soil, but they will cope with a small degree of acidity or alkalinity. The roots are happiest in a rich, but free-draining loam. Given a sunny aspect they will grow strongly, but also do surprisingly well in partially shaded areas. The blooms, as is the case with many white flowers, actually show up better when not exposed to strong sunlight. They benefit from regular watering and feeding during the growing season. Other than this they are little trouble, and are not prone to attack from pests or disease.
The Star Jasmine is classed as a half-hardy perennial. Therefore it grows best in frost free climates. However, with a little careful planting, gardeners in cooler climates may be able to keep it alive in a sheltered position. West facing walls are often a good place to grow tender plants. Those living in considerably colder zones may consider growing the vine as a glasshouse or conservatory plant.
It is easy to propagate new stock from mature plants. The most reliable method is to take semi-ripe cuttings from shoots that do not bear flowers. This should be kept warm, preferably with bottom heat, until they have rooted. In milder areas it may be possible to collect seed from the pods that form at the end of the season.
Trachelospermum Jasminoides makes few demands upon the gardener once established. So long as it is planted in the right conditions it will flourish for many years, providing fantastic cover, color and fragrance. The Star Jasmine is a top performer that more than earns its place in the garden.