In this article, we’ll take a closer look at this fragrant and attractive plant. And we’ll explore why you might want to grow it, where you should grow it, and how to do so.
Star Jasmine might not be the easiest plant to grow. But it certainly can be a rewarding one to have in your home or garden.
What is Star Jasmine?
Star Jasmine is a flowering plant in the Apocynaceae family. It is native to Japan, Korea, southern China and Vietnam, but is now commonly grown in many gardens and homes around the world. An attractive woody climbing plant, it is particularly prized for its evergreen foliage and its wonderfully scented flowers.
In the UK, Star Jasmine can be grown as a climber in a sheltered and sunny garden in the south. Further north, it can be grown undercover in a greenhouse or polytunnel, or in a container indoors.
Scented white flowers appear from mid to late summer, and the dark green leaves turn an attractive bronze colour over the winter months.
In addition to the classic, standard star jasmine, gardeners can also consider a variegated varietal – ‘Variegatum’, which has a pale creamy colour to the edges of its leaves.
For growing indoors, or taking undercover in winter, there are also related Trachelospermum asiaticum – varieties of less hardy Jasmines. The varietal ‘Ogon Nishiki’ has variegated leaves with gold, yellow and white contrast that also have lovely autumn colouration.
Why Grow Star Jasmine?
Star Jasmine is predominantly grown as an ornamental plant. It can be beneficial as an evergreen climber in milder climes to cover an unattractive south or west facing wall or fence throughout the year. This is also a good plant for attracting butterflies and moths when grown outdoors. It also attracts bees and other pollinators with its nectar-rich flowers.
As slow growing plants, they can be useful for small gardens in areas where they can be grown outdoors. And can also work well as houseplants where space is at a premium.
But perhaps the biggest selling point for star jasmine is the delightful fragrance of the blooms. The lovely smell makes this an excellent choice for indoors areas, or for placing close to seating areas in a garden.
Where to Grow Star Jasmine
Star Jasmine can be grown outdoors where temperatures will not drop below around minus 5 degrees C. And where conditions are warm in summer and relatively sheltered throughout the year.
In milder southern reaches of the UK, star jasmine can be grown outdoors, though it is still best to position it with the protection of a wall. A sunny location against a south or west-facing wall will be ideal. Though a full sun location is usually best, Star Jasmine can also cope with partial shade.
Of course, in less mild and more northerly gardens, it is best to grow star jasmine indoors, or to take it inside for protection over the winter months. Star Jasmine is particularly intolerant of cold, drying winds. And it can be a little fussy about temperatures and climatic conditions.
Fortunately, Star Jasmine does not need deep soil to grow well. So it can be grown successfully in containers. But the soil or growing medium in which it is planted must be free-draining. As this is a plant that does not like to have wet feet.
Ideally, the soil or growing medium should be moderate to high in fertility, and have a neutral to alkaline pH. But Star Jasmine will also grow in slightly acidic soils.
Star Jasmine is self-clinging. But one thing to bear in mind when choosing a position for your plant, is that it may need to be tied into some form of support until it is properly established. This is true whether you are growing it in the ground or in a container.
How to Grow Star Jasmine
Next, let’s take a look at how to grow Star Jasmine. We’ll begin by looking at how to propagate these plants. Then talk about how to plant them, and how to care for them over time.
Most gardeners will simply choose to purchase a plant from a garden centre of plant nursery. But to keep costs down and be more environmentally friendly, it is always a good idea to consider first whether you can propagate an existing plant (perhaps one belonging to a friend or neighbour). This will allow you to keep costs down, and avoid gaining plastic plant pots and generating waste.
Star Jasmine is usually propagated by layering in spring, or from semi-ripe cuttings taken in summer and autumn. The cuttings of Star Jasmine will tend to root better if they are placed in a propagator providing bottom heat of 15-20 degrees C.
Star Jasmine rarely produces seeds in the UK, since our summers are cooler and shorter than those in the plant’s native range. So it is not usually possible to propagate this plant from seed.
If you are planting Star Jasmine in the ground, dig a generous hole and add plenty of grit and homemade compost in the base. (Worm castings from a vermicomposting system can be particularly beneficial as a soil amendment.)
As a woody plant, Star Jasmine may also benefit from the addition of some mycorrhizal fungi (or forest leaf litter or leaf mould) into the planting hole. This can aid in the establishment of a healthy root and fungal network below the soil.
Push back the soil and firm it down. Then water well.
If you are growing your plant in a container, it is best to choose one which is at least 45cm deep and 45cm wide. Make sure there is adequate drainage in the base, and that this does not become blocked by the growing medium.
Star Jasmine should always be kept well-watered, especially during the summer months. During the winter, far less watering will be required.
Remember, watering needs will always be somewhat higher for container-grown plants. So if you are growing your plant in a container, it is especially important to remain vigilant and make sure that it does not dry out.
Whether you are growing in the ground or in a container, it is a good idea to top-dress the area around your plant with a good quality compost, leaf mould, or well-rotted manure in the spring. The mulch will add slow-release fertility and will also help reduce moisture loss from the soil or growing medium.
Especially if you are growing in a container, it is also a good idea to apply an organic liquid plant feed every month or so through the growing season. A balanced liquid feed such as a compost tea could be ideal. A seaweed liquid feed could help in making sure that your Star jasmine has all the micro-nutrients it needs for optimum health.
To train your plant to grow upwards, provide canes, or stakes set at an angle towards the trellis structure, fence or wall that you wish it to climb. Tie in young plants as required, until it self-clings. Then simply tie in any stray or wandering shoots to send them in the right direction as required.
Pruning Star Jasmine
Not much pruning will be required but remember the three ‘D’s and prune out dead, damaged or diseased shoots on established climbers as required. Maintenance pruning is best done in the spring.
If necessary, you can also do a radical renovation of a mature plant and cut back all shoots by two thirds. New shoots should then break forth from the base of the plant and remaining branches. Some thinning of these new shoots may then be required.
You can also prune to shape if a mature plant is getting out of control, but with this relatively slow-growing plant, this is not usually a concern.
Consider growing some star jasmine where you live and enjoy its beautiful appearance and attractive blooms. Care for it well and it should be a plant that rewards you well in the years to come.