Everybody has smelled the intense scent of jasmine, be it as a component of a perfume or aroma in jasmine tea or green tea. Jasmine oil and jasmine aroma are extracted from plants of the genus Jasmine (Jasminum). It comprises over 200 species of upright shrubs and climbers, mainly found in the tropics and subtropics. Jasmine, which belongs to the olive tree family (Oleaceae), is a popular ornamental plant in our country. Most of the species are not hardy and are therefore often planted in tubs or used as indoor plants. The growth heights vary between half a metre and five metres, depending on the species and growth habit.
Both deciduous and evergreen species belong to the genus. The sheet size and arrangement vary depending on the type. So there is Jasmine with opposite and with alternate leaves. The leaf is sometimes feathery, sometimes three-part and sometimes simple. All jasmine species, however, have in common the pretty flowers, which are end or axillary.
The spectrum of flower colours ranges from white to yellow to pink, with the latter occurring only in a few species, such as shrub jasmine (Jasminum fruticans) and the hybrid Jasminum x stephanense. The flowering time varies from species to species. The winter jasmine (Jasminum nudiflorum) flowers from December and then until April, while the real jasmine (Jasminum officinale) only opens its flowers between May and August. The Arabic Jasmine (Jasminum sambac) carries its fragrant flowers even from March to October and is a great tub plant for the winter garden because of its long flowering period. After flowering, most species of jasmine produce small, mostly shiny black berries.
Because of its bright yellow winter bloom and its winter hardiness, winter jasmine, which blooms between December and April, is particularly popular with us. In contrast to the other jasmine species, however, its flowers only have a very subtle scent. The most fragrant flower is the Arabic Jasmine, from which the intensively scented Jasmine Oil is extracted for use in perfumery. The Chinese tea jasmine (Jasminum grandiflorum) provides the aroma substance jasmine, which is often contained in green teas.
Location and soil
Whether outdoors or indoors: Jasmine prefer a bright place that can be sunny. However, you should make sure that the midday sun is not too strong, otherwise burns can occur on the leaves and flowers. In an emergency, light shade is also tolerated. In addition, the site should be well ventilated to prevent infestation by pests. In the open air this is often given by itself. If you cultivate a jasmine in your room, you should air the room regularly. Since most jasmine species are used as potted plants, they are best planted in normal potted soil. Winter jasmine, which is mostly planted in the garden, makes little demands on the soil and also thrives on poorer sandy soils. However, he prefers a nutrient-rich, calcareous substrate.
Due to their subtropical and tropical origin, most jasmine species can only be cultivated here as houseplants or tub plants. The jasmine is particularly common in the trade. The only truly hardy representative of this genus is winter jasmine, which opens its yellow flowers as early as December in mild weather and is therefore a popular winter flowering plant. As a so-called spreading mica, it is very suitable for the greening of embankments or wall crowns. If you want to plant it free-standing in the bed, it needs a scaffold or a climbing obelisk to hold on to – otherwise it grows flat above the ground.
The best time to plant jasmine is between spring and autumn. Since most jasmine species are climbing plants, you should place the plants directly on a trellis or other climbing aid and guide the young long shoots through them regularly, especially as some species such as winter jasmine do not have climbing organs. When planting tubs, you should ensure good drainage, as jasmine does not tolerate waterlogging. It is best to fill a layer of expanded clay into the bottom of the pot and mix the soil with some lava chippings or expanded clay to make it more permeable.
In winter jasmine, the occasional pruning after flowering can increase the formation of new shoots and thus the abundance of flowers. Jasmine cultivated in a bucket can also be stimulated to flower richer after wintering (about February to March) by pruning back, but one should be careful here. Depending on the species, it may take some time for the plant to form new shoots. The real jasmine, on the other hand, also forgives a more radical cutback.
Winter protection and overwintering
The majority of jasmine is not hardy and therefore has to spend the winter indoors. During the summer, however, they feel very comfortable on the balcony or terrace. The winter jasmine already mentioned tolerates most frost (up to -18 degrees Celsius).
In regions with mild weather also the real Jasmine can spend the winter outside. But then he needs a winter protection in any case. It is best to place the tub plant in a place protected from wind and strong sunlight, for example on a house wall. However, the location should still be bright. Insulate the bucket with nap foil, linen or coconut mats and place it on a wooden or polystyrene plate so that frost cannot penetrate from below. A layer of straw or wood wool on the pot soil protects the plant from above. In the winter months no fertilizers are used and only very moderate watering takes place.
In the garden planted specimens of the real jasmine or the up to -12 degrees Celsius hardy primrose jasmine (Jasminum mesnyi) should also be provided with a winter protection. Jasmine species that are only moderately hardy, such as Arabic Jasmine or Chinese Tea Jasmine, may spend the summer outdoors, but should move to the winter garden in autumn or to another bright, frost-free place such as the hallway or cellar. The temperature in the winter quarters should be about ten degrees Celsius. If the plants are too warm in winter, they often do not flower properly in the following year. You can, of course, leave the frost-sensitive jasmine in the winter garden all year round like other exotic scented plants and enjoy its intense flower fragrance there. As the winter hardiness of the various types of jasmine varies greatly, you should definitely inform yourself about the frost hardiness of your specimen when you buy it so that you will not experience any nasty surprises later on.
The care of jasmine is very uncomplicated if you pay attention to a few points. In addition to the right location and the already mentioned good aeration, this includes regular nutrient and water supply. Because in pot culture jasmine need plenty of both. Especially in the growth phase and during the flowering period you should regularly reach for the watering can, even daily in case of strong sunlight and higher temperatures. The substrate should always be evenly moist. It is best to use low lime rainwater for watering. Make sure, however, that no waterlogging occurs! If the plant is in the blazing sun, you can also spray it with a little water.
You should also provide your jasmine with fertilizer every one to two weeks between April and September, because it needs many nutrients during its growth period. It is best to use a liquid fertilizer for tub plants, which you administer with the watering water. In winter, on the other hand, there is no fertilization and only little watering. However, the substrate must never dry out completely, as the jasmine reacts as sensitively to this as it does to waterlogging.
The culture in the pot and the high demand for water and nutrients mean that the substrate quickly loses its quality. It is therefore advisable to repot a jasmine once a year. The best time for this is directly after the end of the winter in spring. At the same time you can easily cut back your jasmine and make it fit again for the new season.
The easiest way to propagate jasmine is by borrowing woody cuttings that you cut in May or June. However, relatively high temperatures (between 18 and 21 degrees Celsius) are required for the new plants to form roots quickly. Winter jasmine and all other species can also easily be propagated by cuttings by passing a shoot flat through a small pot of growing soil and keeping it evenly moist. As soon as roots have formed, the shoot is separated from the mother plant and cultivated as a separate plant.
Diseases and pests
If the jasmine is cultivated all year round as a houseplant and stands – especially in winter – in a warm place with poor ventilation, it can lead to infestation with aphids or mealybugs. These should first simply be scraped off or showered off. If this doesn’t help, you can best deal with the pests with beneficial insects such as lacewings or ladybirds. More frequently than with an infestation with a disease or a pest, jasmine is subject to location or maintenance errors. The biggest problem here is often a substrate that is too moist, which causes the roots to rot sooner or later.
Your plant has mealy bugs? In an interview with our store editor Dieke van Dieken, herbalist René Wadas reveals how you can recognise an infestation and how you can combat the pest if necessary: Production: Folkert Siemens; Camera: Fabian Primsch; Editing: Dennis Fuhro; Photo: Flora Press/BIOSPHOTO/Alexandre Petzold
Jasmine with a jumble of names
There is hardly a German plant name behind which there are so many different genera and species as behind the name “Jasmin” – this can lead to misunderstandings. In addition to the genus Jasminum described here, the real jasmine, there is for example the scented jasmine, often also called false jasmine (Philadelphus), whose flowers exude an intense jasmine scent. It is as little related to jasmine as star jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides). This is an Asian climbing shrub with fragrant flowers that is not hardy in our latitudes and is therefore only suitable for planting in tubs. The jasmine flowered nightshade (Solanum jasminoides) also thrives in the tub. There is also a Chilean jasmine (Mandevilla laxa) and the Carolina jasmine (Gelsemium sempervirens), which are also not related to the real jasmine. If you want to know whether the desired plant is actually a real jasmine, you should simply take a look at the botanical name in the garden centre.
Jasmine in the our store-Shop
I am Don Burke, one of the authors at My Garden Guide. I am a horticulturist that cultivates, grows, and cares for plants, ranging from shrubs and fruits to flowers. I do it in my own garden and in my nursery. I show you how to take care of your garden and how to perform garden landscaping in an easy way, step by step.I am originally from Sydney and I wrote in local magazines. Later on, I have decided, more than two decades ago, to create my own blog. My area of specialization is related to orchid care, succulent care, and the study of the substrate and the soil. Therefore, you will see many articles dedicated to these disciplines. I also provide advice about how to improve the landscape design of your garden.