Jasmine is a genus of shrubs and vines in the olive family (Oleaceae). It contains around 200 species native to tropical and warm temperate regions of the Eurasia, Australasia and Oceania. Jasmines are widely cultivated for the characteristic fragrance of their flowers. A number of unrelated plants contain the word “Jasmine” in their common names.Jasmines can be either deciduous (leaves falling in autumn) or evergreen (green all year round), and can be erect, spreading, or climbing shrubs and vines. Their leaves are borne opposite or alternate. They can be simple, trifoliate, or pinnate. The flowers are typically around 2.5 cm (0.98 in) in diameter. They are white or yellow in color, although in rare instances they can be slightly reddish. The flowers are borne in cymose clusters with a minimum of three flowers, though they can also be solitary on the ends of branchlets. Each flower has about four to nine petals, two locules, and one to four ovules. They have two stamens with very short filaments. The bracts are linear or ovate. The calyx is bell-shaped. They are usually very fragrant. The fruits of jasmines are berries that turn black when ripe.
HOW TO GROW
- Choose a cultivar to grow.There are over 200 species of jasmine, each with different characteristics. Some are evergreen, while some are deciduous. Some take the form of vines, while others are shrubs. Some are so tender that they must be grown indoors, while others are frost hardy. Buy the jasmine cultivar that’s right for your needs. You’ll find jasmine plants available in pots at the nursery, or you can order seeds online. These jasmines are the most commonly available in nurseries.
- Find a suitable spot for your jasmine plant.Each jasmine cultivar has specific environmental needs, so do a little research to find out what conditions you need to provide for your plant. In order for your jasmine to thrive, it’s necessary to provide the right level of sun and the proper temperature. When you’re deciding where to plant your jasmine, take the following variables into account:
- Prepare the soil for planting.Most jasmine cultivars do best in rich, well-draining soil. Whether you’re planting your jasmine in the ground or in a pot, prepare the soil by working in in 2-inch layer of compost. This will ensure that the jasmine produces healthy flowers throughout the growing season.
If you’re planting outside, check the spot you’ve chosen to make sure it drains well. Dig a hole and fill it with water. If the water quickly soaks into the hole and leaves it empty, the soil there drains well. If the water sits and drains slowly, choose a different planting spot.
- Plant the jasmine.Slide the jasmine plant gently from its container and saturate the root ball. Dig a hole the size of the root ball and set the jasmine plant inside. Lightly pat soil around the base of the jasmine plant to hold it in place. Water the soil around the base well to help the plant settle. Add more soil if necessary to keep the jasmine erect.
- While the most common way to plant jasmine is to buy a young jasmine plant, it is also possible to start jasmine from seed. Jasmine seeds have a low germination rate and require special care according to the cultivar. In most cases, you can start the seeds indoors in seed pots filled with seed starter mix, then harden off the seedlings and plant them outside once the last frost has passed
- Another way to plant jasmine is to use semi-ripe cuttings taken from a mature jasmine plant. In mid-summer or fall, cut healthy 6-inch stems from a jasmine plant. Prepare a pot with a soil and compost mixture and push the stems into a pot. Overwinter the pot in a sunny window, keeping it well watered, and transplant it in the spring.
- Provide stakes for climbing jasmine.Many varieties of jasmine require stakes to climb in order to grow strong and healthy. Place a tall stake or a trellis a few inches from the base of the jasmine, and gently wrap it around the stake as it grows. Eventually it will begin growing up the stake on its own. If you planted the jasmine next to a wall or fence, train it to grow upward until it begins growing on its own.
- To ensure that the jasmine establishes itself on the trellis or stake, you can use string or twine to loosely tie the talks to the support. Remove the ties when the vine is established.
- Keep the environment moist.Water the soil around the jasmine throughout the growing season to keep it moist, but not soggy. A good rule of thumb for determining when the water jasmine is to water when the soil begins to look and feel a little dry. If your jasmine is in a pot, be sure it’s draining adequately and water once a day.
- Water jasmine from the bottom to keep from getting the leaves wet. The sun will burn the leaves if water droplets remain on them during the sunniest hours.
- For jasmine you’re growing indoors, be mindful of the humidity level of the air as well as the moisture of the soil. Tender varieties of jasmine need a humidity level of between 30 and 45. Use a humidifier or mist spray the plant with mist frequently.
- Fertilize the jasmine once a month.During the growing season, fertilizing the jasmine once a month will keep it blooming. Sprinkle a balanced fertilizer that is water soluble around the base of the jasmine. Alternatively, you can side-dress the jasmine with compost by working an inch of compost into the soil around the base of the jasmine plant. Be careful not to disturb the roots.
8. Prune the jasmine. Throughout the growing season, remove dead leaves, flowers and stems by pinching them off or using hand pruners to make a cut flush with the main stem of the plant. Tidy the plants by pruning stray stems. By strategically removing stems here and here, you can control the shape of the vine. Shrub jasmine and varieties grown indoors will need less pruning to maintain their shape.
- Don’t prune before or during the blooming period, as this can inhibit blooming. Wait until the plant has finished blooming for the season.
- To improve the shape of shrub like jasmine, you can cut the stems back by a third after blooming. The shrub will come back next season with a fuller shape.
- Mulch the jasmine in the fall.In order to protect the jasmine plants over the winter, add a few inches of pine straw, manure or garden compost around their bases. This will ensure that the root systems don’t freeze completely, and your jasmine should begin growing again when the weather warms.
- If you have been growing your jasmine in a pot outside, you can bring it indoors for the winter rather than adding mulch.
- Jasmine grown indoors year-round does not require mulching. However, it’s important to keep them in a sunny room with a constant temperature of between 60 and 75 degrees.
- Cut jasmine to put on display. A jasmine vine or shrub will produce many flowers throughout the season, and you may want to bring some indoors to display as part of an arrangement. Use a sharp pair of pruners to cut branches loaded with flowers and leaves. Place the stems in water right away to preserve their freshness.
During the spring and summer months Jasmine needs full sunlight.
- In the winter months Jasmine still needs light, but it doesn’t have to be direct.
- Soil should be moist and well-drained, but do not overwater.
- During the summer allow the soil to be moist and let it dry between waterings. Water less in the fall. In the winter and spring months keep the plant slightly dry.
- Prune after blooming season (which is spring) to shape the plant.
Root rot and mealybugs are common.
Research suggests that the aroma of jasmine, taken as tea or smoothed on the skin, has a relaxing effect. In fact, just the scent of jasmine chills out autonomic nerve activity and decreases your heart rate.
- Rich in flavonoid antioxidants that combat oxidative stress, jasmine tea has a mild sedative effect which relaxes the body and mind–even calms coughs, and may help regulate insulin levels and lower blood pressure. Some say jasmine is also an effective antidepressant.
- Traditionally used to restore skin, the essential oils and botanical extracts of jasmine increase skin’s elasticity and help balance moisture in the skin to naturally reduce dryness.
- Jasmine oil is a cicatrizer, meaning it helps fade scars left in the wake of acne, skin wounds, eruptions, and stretch marks.