Plants are a great way to add colour and interest to your home or garden. While some people put their efforts into growing fruit and vegetables other people prefer to pack their space with fragrant, colourful flowers. Even if you only have a small space adding a couple of plants will help to enhance your enjoyment of it. It can also improve your physical and mental health.
Designing your own garden can be overwhelming. If you don’t know where to start this is a great guide to starting your own garden. However, the best thing to do is to jump straight in with a couple of plants.
The Jasmine is a fragrant and floral addition to any garden.
One of the best additions to any home or garden is the Jasmine plant. When it flowers the delicate blooms of the Jasmine release a rich fragrance which fills the air with a distinctively seductive scent. There are also many different varieties. It can be grown as a climber or as a shrub, it can also be grown indoors meaning that this versatile plant can fit in almost anywhere.
To grow your own plant will require a little time and effort but the results are well worth it. If you follow the steps in this guide your home or garden will soon be filled with its sweet fragrance.
|Origin||Eurasia, Australasia and Oceania|
|Hardiness||Tender to hardy|
|Soil||Light, well drained|
|Exposure||Partial to full sun|
|Water Requirements||Regular watering required|
|Flowering Period||Summer to winter|
|Planting Time||Summer jasmine: spring or autumn;
Winter jasmine: autumn or winter
Types of Jasmine
There are over 200 different varieties of Jasmine. They can be grown as shrubs, indoor pot plants or large outdoor trailing vines which cover entire walls. Different varieties will thrive in different conditions. This means that, if you take the time to look, you will find the variety that is perfect for you.
Here are some of the more common and popular varieties:
Commonly known as ‘Winter Jasmine’. This is a fully hardy variety that can be grown outdoors in the UK. Reaching up to 7 ft in height when fully grown unlike other varieties its yellow flowers aren’t fragrant.
This deciduous shrub blooms late into the winter adding colour to your garden when other plants have died back. It can also give protection against erosion on slopes. When left to its own devices its branches will root wherever they touch the ground. This variety is best pruned in the spring but be careful as new flowers develop on the previous years growth.
Also known as ‘Summer Jasmine’ or ‘Poet’s Jasmine’ this is one of the most fragrant examples.
A frost hardy plant, in milder areas it can be grown outdoors in a sunny sheltered spot, such as up against a wall. In colder climates it is ideal as a conservatory or glasshouse climber.
‘Summer Jasmine’ can reach 15 ft in height, growing between 12 and 24 inches every year. This means that it needs regular pruning to keep it in order.
Commonly known as ‘Showy Jasmine’, this plant produces fragrant little flowers that bloom every spring.
Primarily grown for its foliage it looks great when covering a trellis or arbor. It is not a hardy variety so will require winter protection if you live in a colder climate.
A dwarf shrubby Jasmine which originates in the Himalayas. This species is almost fully hardy meaning that it can be grown outdoors in milder areas without the need for winter protection. When in flower this variety produces clusters of small, yellow flowers that fill the air with a rich fragrance.
‘Arabic Jasmine’, as it is also known, is an evergreen shrub. It can grow up to 6 ft in height. This delightful variety produces intensely fragrant flowers which are used to make Jasmine tea and scented oils. We will discuss how to do this later in the article.
Caring For A Jasmine Plant
When considering a position for your plant remember that each species will have its own specific needs so it is best to do a little research before you plant it. If the Jasmine plants are forming part of a larger redesign then this article is full of handy tips for making the most of your outdoor space.
Most Jasmine plants need to be in a place where they will receive partial to full sun. However some will do well in total shade.
If you live in a cold climate, or a place where it gets colder in the winter then your Jasmine may benefit from being planted in a pot. This will enable you to take it inside when the cold weather comes.
Alternatively you will need find some way to shelter it in the winter, either a cloche or a fleece blanket will do. A few inches of pine straw, garden compost or manure should be added to the base of the plant. This stops the root system from freezing completely allowing the plant to start growing again as soon as the warm weather returns.
Winter Jasmine adds colour to dull winter gardens.
Hardier species can be kept in an unheated conservatory or a cold greenhouse. If you take your plants inside but are still worried about the cold then a small heater will help to keep them frost free. Tender species may require a minimum night temperature of 13-15ºC (55-59ºF).
If you don’t have the room to bring your plants inside for the winter a greenhouse or storage shed is always a useful addition to any outdoor space. Depending on where you plan on storing your plants, and the climate you live in, you may need to invest in a small heater. This is a great guide to garage heaters, these are ideal for keeping a space frost free.
The third thing to consider when choosing a place Jasmine is how large the plant will it grow.
While some species will grow up, in which case you will need to provide some form of support, others grow as shrubs or along the ground providing ground cover.
To sum up, when planting outdoors most Jasmines will thrive in a warm, sheltered location. North and north east facing locations should be avoided.
Dwarf varieties in particular make great houseplants. If you have the space, and the time to keep it in check, don’t be afraid to go for a larger variety.
Jasmine plants appreciate a well lit room or a sunny window. South facing windows are perfect.
From spring until the autumn the plant will tolerate up to four hours of direct sunlight a day. In the winter months it will need less sunlight, depending on its location you may need to move it during the winter months.
Just because you are growing your plant indoors doesn’t mean that it must stay indoors. In the summer months indoor Jasmine plants will appreciate spending some time outside. A few hours in a sunny spot will encourage robust growth.
If you are unable to provide a natural source of light a grow lamp will provide a good alternative. You don’t have to purchase anything too fancy, a regular standard lamp will do the job just fine.
Placing your plant outside again in the autumn coolness will encourage buds to form. This is vital if you want the plant to flower in the following February. If your Jasmine fails to bloom it may be because it hasn’t been exposed to cool enough temperatures. How long you leave the plant outside for varies, some people like to leave them outside for 6 weeks but if temperatures fall dramatically you can cut this short.
Remember that if your indoor Jasmine is a climber then you will need to provide it with a trellis or support frame.
The two biggest problems with growing a Jasmine indoors is overheating and the soil drying out. Good air circulation is also vital because it helps to encourage flowering. When buds are developing the plant should be kept in a cool, well lit room. An average room temperature of around 18ºF, or slightly lower, will give the plant the best chance of flourishing.
For these reasons, and because of its moisture levels and bright light, many believe that the ideal room for a Jasmine plant is the bathroom. However bathrooms can become too warm so don’t place the plant next to a bath or shower.
The best time to plant Jasmine is at the end of April. However it can be planted at any time during the spring and summer months. There is no real difference between planting in the ground or a raised bed and planting in a pot. If you have never planted before then you may need to invest in some new tools such as a fork or a dibber. Here is a guide which will help you decide what, if
anything, you need.
Jasmine plants like rich, well draining soil. If you don’t know how well draining your soil is dig a hole in your chosen location. Fill it with water and watch to see how long it takes to soak into the soil. If the water disappears within 15 minutes then you have good drainage, if not choose a different spot.
To begin planting dig a large hole. It should be big enough to hold both the plant and the pot it is in. When placed in the hole the top of the root ball should sit just below the surface of the earth.
To help it thrive before planting prepare the soil by digging in a layer of compost, about 2 inches thick. This will help the plant settle and encourage it to flowers throughout the growing season.
This is a good guide to the different types of soil and what plants like them.
Slide the plant out of the pot. Tickle the roots by gently scratching them all over. This should release some of the roots and allow air to circulate. You don’t need to break up the root ball too much.
Place the plant in the centre of the hole. When you are happy with the plants position refill the hole with soil.
When filled in, the soil around the hole should be above the level of soil that covers your plant. This creates a small reservoir when you water.
Lightly pat the soil around the plant, this helps to keep it in place. Try not to compact the soil too much because this will prevent air and water reaching the root system.
Fill in the hole and water well around the base. If necessary you can add more soil after the first watering.
When established the Jasmine is a relatively care free plant.
Planting In A Pot
Jasmine grown indoors or in pots, when cared for correctly, can enjoy a long life.
Take a clean pot that is the same size or slightly larger than its current pot. The new pot should be no more than 2” wider than the original pot, planting in too large a pot may shock the plant and cause leaf drop or wilting.
Make sure that there are drainage holes in the bottom, if not you will need to make some. Place a handful of broken crocks or broken up polystyrene into the bottom of the pot to prevent the soil washing away when you water.
Add some good draining soil, a general mix like John Innes No2 is ideal to the pot. Adding a loam based compost to the soil mix will further improve drainage.
Remove the plant from the original pot. Knock off any earth allowing the roots to become freer.
Some varieties, such as this Orange Jasmine, thrive when grown in a pot.
Place the plant in the new pot. Fill with clean soil, leaving some room at the top for watering. Water in well.
If you are unsure how much water your plant needs water until it is dripping out of the drainage holes. The soil should be damp, not waterlogged.
Watering immediately after repotting dampens the soil and helps the plant to settle in better.
If you are still unsure about repotting house plants this is a helpful guide.
Like all plants these should be repotted on a regular basis. The best time to do this is early in the spring just as the plant wakes from the dormant, winter period.
If you notice the soil is drying out more quickly than usual (under 3 days) this is an indication that the plant is outgrowing its pot and should be repotted. Another indication is when the roots start to stick through the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot. If your plant has been in its pot for several years you should also consider repotting.
To repot your plant simply follow the steps given in the ‘Planting in a Pot’ section. Repotting is a great time to take cuttings, we will discuss this further later in the article.
If you are planting a vining variety then you will need to provide support for the plant. Like other vining plants they do best when trained from a young age. It will also help the plant to grow strong and healthy.
Some varieties can grow to over 15 ft in height. If not trained when young they can quickly become a difficult plant to manage. The best time to put the support frames in place is when you first plant the plant.
Supports can also be aesthetically pleasing adding structure and interest to your garden. You can even train your plants to complement your patio furniture.
Many types of support, such as trellises allow the plant to wind of their own accord. After positioning the support you will need to start the process off by either wrapping the plant around the support or using plant ties to position it. When the plant is established the ties can be removed. The plant should then continue to grow along the structure of its own accord.
Trellises and stakes are easily acquired from garden centres or online. Alternatively you can construct your own, willow and bamboo are two natural alternatives that both provide a sturdy support structure. Jasmine plants will also happily grow along fences and walls.
Jasmine plants like to be in soil that is evenly moist. This means that they don’t like the soil to be too soggy or to dry out entirely.
During the growing season (spring and summer) you will need to water you plant regularly. Indoor plants may need to be watered as much as once a day.
If you are unsure when to water, wait until the top 1/2 inch of soil is dry before giving it a good watering. A soil moisture gauge or plant watering gauge can help in determining when to water. A less scientific, but just as reliable method, is to stick your finger about 2 inches into the soil. If it feels dry then it is time to water your plant.
How much water to give your plant can also be a difficult thing to gauge. If your Jasmine is growing in a pot water until it is coming out of the bottom of the pot. This is a good indication that the soil is moist. Be careful not to allow the plant to sit in water.
It is better to use water that is at room temperature as opposed to ice cold water or water straight from the tap. Cold water can shock plants, particularly indoor plants, halting growth and causing them to drop leaves.
Some people like to let the water stand for a day before using it to water the plants. This is because water can contain chemicals that are harmful to plants, allowing the water to stand gives the chemicals time to dissipate. If you do not wish to let the water stand for this long a water purifier will speed up the process.
During the winter months when the plant enters its dormant phase and ceases to grow it will require less water.
If your Jasmine is being kept outside in the winter it may not need to be watered at all, unless the weather is unseasonably dry or the ground freezes. In the latter case water with tepid water. This will gently thaw the soil and root system.
Finally, when watering try not to water the leaves of the plant. Wet leaves can burn in the sun or become a breeding ground for mould and disease.
During the growing season Jasmine grown in pots, both indoors and outdoors, should be fed once a month with a high potassium liquid feed, such as tomato fertiliser. A high quality water soluble houseplant food will be fine and is also easily available. Simply dilute with water and apply fortnightly.
Regular feeding will encourage your Jasmine to flower.
If you want to learn more about why you need to feed your plants, the best feed to use and the best way to apply it this is a useful guide.
Jasmine grown in borders should be top dressed with a balanced, granular fertiliser such as Growmore. They do best in potassium rich soil. A fertilizer high in potassium, such as tomato feed or sulphate of potash, will benefit the plant greatly. A feed high in phosphorus will prolong the flowering season.
Be careful when applying fertilizer not to disturb the roots of the plant. Again a diluted liquid fertilizer can be easily applied without disturbing the plant too much.
Some people prefer organic fertilizers to chemical ones as the latter can harm the plant. These are now very affordable and easy to use. If you are a committed gardener however then you can try making your own. A compost tea fertilizer will give your plants the nutrition that they need. If your plants are outside seaweed feeds and wood ash are both packed with potassium.
In the summer and autumn the border plants should be mulched. Mulching, when done in the autumn, is simply a way of protecting the roots of the plant for the winter months. It can also help add nutrients and richness to the soil.
A few inches of pine straw, garden compost or manure should be placed around the base of the plant. This stops the root system from freezing completely allowing the plant to start growing again as soon as the warm weather returns. If you have never done this before the RHS has a great in depth guide to help you through the process.
Mulching will not only protect your plants from frost but will also add nutrients to the soil.
Repeating the process in the spring or summer will help the plant to conserve water and manage soil temperature.
If your plant is in a pot and can be moved inside during the colder months then mulching is not needed. You also don’t need to mulch if it is a primarily indoor plant.
This largely applies to plants being grown indoors or undercover. You will find it difficult to control the humidity in your garden.
In short, the higher the humidity levels the better. While the levels of humidity required vary tender varieties like it to be between 30 and 45%. Again this will vary with each variety so do some research when selecting your Jasmine.
Keeping a high level of humidity can be difficult because central heating dries out our homes. An indoor humidity monitor or air quality monitor will help you to keep a check on this.
If you don’t want to run a humidifier then place your plant on a tray of pebbles and water, just be careful not to put the pot directly into the water. Alternatively a small plant cloche or mini indoor greenhouse can help to keep humidity levels high.
A final option is to mist the plant with a spray on a regular basis. This can also be done to outdoor plants. It is best to mist in the morning as wet leaves and the cold evening air can encourage mould and disease to form.
If your home is too humid opening a window is a simple way to counteract this. Also allow your plant to sit outside as much as possible.
Dead leaves, flowers and stems can be removed at any time throughout the year. Simply pinch off or use a pruners. Stray stems can also be removed in this manner.
Don’t be tempted to use your blunt kitchen scissors, this can do more harm than good. Instead use either a bonsai pruning shears or a regular pruning shears. Either will allow you to make neat, precision cuts. If you are new to gardening this is an excellent guide to help you choose the right tools to suit you.
To prune carefully remove any wilted, damaged or dead leaves and branches. These are easy to identify as the will be yellow or brown in colour. Removing stems throughout the year will allow you to keep control of the shape of the plant meaning that it won’t get out of hand.
After flowering has finished the stems of the plants can be cut back by up to a third. For shrubbed varieties in particular this will allow them to grow into a fuller shape next year.
If you are growing a vining variety pinch off the tips of the vines in the second year. This encourages the plant to branch and fill the trellis with bushy growth.
If your plant starts to outgrow its place then it should be cut back to a suitable size. The best time to do this is at the end of the summer after the plant has finished flowering.
Most types of Jasmine will tolerate hard pruning. This means cutting back to within 2 ft of the base. The re-growth will be vigorous so allow only the strongest shoots to train onto the framework. Unwanted shoots should also be removed. After hard cutting it may be two or three years before the plant flowers again.
Shrub varieties and those grown indoors require less pruning than vining varieties. For these pruning heavily at the beginning of spring will encourage growth. At the same time train the twining vine(s) to a support.
Alternatively the plant can be pruned at the end of the growing season. Just be careful not to remove next years buds.
Growing Jasmine From Seed
If you want to start from scratch, seeds and seedlings are sold by most garden centres and plant nurseries. Take the time to look around and you will find some interesting varieties that appeal to you.
While I will explain how to sow a seed or plant a seedling if you want more information the RHS has a great in depth guide here.
When you have found the seed or seedling you wish to grow it is time to sow. Take a small, clean pot and fill it with fresh compost. Place the seed or seedling in the pot and cover with a light level of soil.
If you are planting a seedling gently loosen the roots before planting. This can help it adapt to its new environment faster. The crown should be level with the soil and the roots completely covered.
Water lightly. A plastic bottle filled with water and holes bored into cap will allow water to be dispersed lightly without upsetting the seed.
Place the pot in a light spot. If you want to give it some added protection then place the pot in a small propagation chamber. If you don’t want to invest in one a homemade version is just as good and can be made from a vented plastic food container.
Remember to check the pot regularly. The soil shouldn’t be allowed to dry out.
Delicate seedlings needed to be treated carefully to ensure that a healthy plant will grow.
Once the plants are established, there should be a good few leaves on them, it is time to slowly harden them off. This means placing the plant on a sunny windowsill or outside in nice weather for a few hours every day. Remember to return the plant to its sheltered spot as the day gets colder.
Gradually increase the amount of time that the plant spends in its exposed location. Doing this allows the plant to get used to its new home. If you were to simply transfer it without this transition process there is a danger the plant will go into shock and die.
After a couple of weeks the plant should be ready to be placed permanently in its new home. Plants should not be planted outside until the last frost has passed.
The best time to take Jasmine plant cuttings is between June and October.
Take a cutting that is about 6 inches long and has a couple of leaves. Place it in a small pot with moist fresh potting soil. Some people like to dip the cut ends into a rooting hormone before planting but this is not necessary.
Put the pot in a warm and bright area for the winter. Water regularly so that the soil doesn’t dry out and make sure the humidity levels are good. You should see new shoots in a month to six weeks.
A propagation chamber lowers the risk of shock after planting cuttings and is worth a try if you’ve had a hard time with your cuttings.
You can also root the cuttings by placing them in a vase of water. A clear vase will enable you to see roots sprouting within a few days. It can then be planted into a fresh pot.
Be careful when you transplant the cutting because the plant may go into shock. Again placing the plant in a small propagation chamber, or a homemade version using a plastic food container, can help to reduce the chances of shock occurring.
Diseases, Pests and Common Problems
Jasmine is an easy plant to grow, diseases and problems rarely afflict this magnificent bloom. This means that with a little care and attention the plant will thrive. However there are some things you need to watch out for.
Disease in Jasmine plants is easily recognisable and , if caught early, can be quickly fixed before too much damage is done.
Foliage problems frequently afflict Jasmine plants because they thrive best in warm and humid environments. These conditions also encourage a number of fungal diseases.
The most common diseases to affect the Jasmine are blight, rust and Fusarium wilt. These generally attack the leaves and the steam of the plant. These diseases can discolour leaves entirely or partly, wilt leaves and streak the stems. They can also affect new growth.
To treat fungal issues like these you will need to apply a fungicide. If you want a natural solution some baking soda mixed with water and sprayed onto the leaves will also work. Don’t be disheartened if the treatment doesn’t work immediately, even if caught early these issues can be difficult to get rid of.
As with most things, prevention is better than the cure. Keep the leaves as dry as possible. This means watering the base instead of the whole plant. Also allow air to circulate around the plant. These simple steps reduce the chances of fungal problems striking.
Various pests may also prey on your Jasmine. Most of these are easily dealt with.
Red spider mites particularly like vining Jasmines. Neem oil applied to the leaves will combat this problem quickly and effectively.
Mealybugs may also strike. The indication of this infestation is the presence of white, cotton like masses under leaves and on stems. Prune away as many of the afflicted leaves as possible. Then use a cotton swab dipped in alcohol to remove any masses that are left.
Aphids and soft scales are less likely but will sometimes latch onto a Jasmine. Again the best way to remove them is to wash the leaves with either a solution of neem oil and water or warm, soapy water.
The most difficult pest to remove is the root knot gall. Their presence will cause the leaves to discolour and drop. There are now a number of varieties of Jasmine that are resistant to this pest, however if you are growing an older Jasmine or a variety that isn’t resistant you will need to know how to deal with the problem.
If you fear that your plant has become affected it is best to isolate it as best you can. Then remove the damaged and diseased parts, including picking up any dropped leaves.
Soak the soil with an appropriate insecticide can remove the nematodes which cause the damage but they can be difficult to fully clear.
A more drastic but effective step is to repot the plant in a clean pot using fresh soil. If your plant is in the ground dig around the plant and recover with fresh soil. Alternatively you can dig up the plant, wash off the roots and replant it in a new location.
Healthy plants are a fantastic addition to any home or garden.
Failure To Flower
A common problem is for the Jasmine to appear healthy but cease flowering. Sometimes this is caused by too much nitrogen being present in your soil. This is usually caused by over fertilizing. The solution is to simply reduce the frequency you feed the plant.
If this has no effect there are other potential causes. Over or under watering can stress the plant as can exposure to extreme temperatures, insufficient light and stagnant air. It can take time to find the perfect place for a plant so keep trying and your efforts will eventually be rewarded.
Discolouration and Leaf Drop
Discolouration and leaf drop can be caused by a number of things and are not necessarily signs of disease. Poor lighting, a lack of moisture or nutrients can cause these issues as can unbalanced soil (sometimes caused by over feeding) or the incorrect amount of heat.
There are a number of reasons why you may want to harvest your Jasmine.
Their vines or stems can be cut and used as part of a floral display. A sharp pair of pruners will allow you to cleanly cut bloom laden branches. Place the cuttings in water and enjoy the display and aroma.
Some varieties, such as Arabic Jasmine can also be harvested for other reasons. Some people use the buds to make tea, which is purported to have restorative properties, especially when mixed with green tea leaves.
To make your own Jasmine tea gently pick some of the flower buds. The best time to do this is early in the morning when their essence is at its strongest.
Place the buds flat on a baking tray and pop in a low oven (200 °F/93 °C, or however low your oven goes) to dry. This should take about 3 hours but be careful not to burn them. Alternatively the buds can be place in a sunny window to dry.
Once they have dried allow the buds to rest overnight before using them.
Jasmine tea is thought to have restorative properties.
To make the tea add a tablespoon to boiling water. Allow it to brew for 4 minutes. Strain the buds and enjoy. This is a great guide to everything tea related that you can read while enjoying your special brew.
Any leftover buds can be kept fresh in an airtight jar.
If tea isn’t your thing the same buds can also be used to make infused oil.
Simply harvest about 1/4 of a cup of fresh buds, again early in the morning is best time to do this.
Place the buds in a plastic bag and tap gently with a hammer to release their oils.
Put the buds in a glass jar with a tight fitting lid and a base oil of your choice. Castor, olive, jojoba and almond are all reliable options. If you want to read more about essential oils this is a great introduction.
Seal the jar and leave the mixture in a cool, dark place for at least 24 hours.
Strain the buds and smell the oil. If you want a stronger scent repeat the process with fresh buds. Continue to repeat this process until the scent is strong enough.
When you have your desired scent place the infused oil in a fresh glass bottle for long term storage. The oil can be used in an aromatherapy diffuser as a perfume or ingredient in lip balms, lotions and other such potions.
Wherever it is grown Jasmine is a welcome addition to any garden
If you choose the correct location for your Jasmine plant and treat it correctly then, with minimal effort, you will be rewarded with a luscious green plant speckled with brightly coloured flowers and a fragrant scent. When seen in full bloom it is easy to understand why the Jasmine is one of the most popular plants for gardeners and, if you follow the steps in this guide, there is no reason why it can’t be a successful addition to your home or garden.