Chinese Jasmine – Jasminum polyanthum

Jasmine originally came from China. It is a vigorous climber but it needs to be trained. Fortunately its stems are thin and pliable so it can easily be wound along supports or wires.

This fragrant plant has dark green leaves that are divided into about 7 pointed leaflets, giving the plant a feathery fern-like appearance.

Flowers and flowering Jasmine bears its pretty and heavily scented flowers from mid-winter through to mid-spring.

The flowers are thin and have tubular necks with star-shaped petals. They are carried in small clusters on long thin stems.

In the bud they are tinged pink but on opening make a pure white display. A young plant will flower as profusely as an older plant, so you do not have to wait for it to mature before flowering.

In summer put the plant outdoors. This will give the new shoots the chance to grow more strongly, and ensure good flowering the following year.

This vigorous and fast-growing climber can grow over 1.8m (6ft) in a year.Chinese Jasmine - Jasminum polyanthum

Once flowering is over in mid-spring you can prune the jasmine ruthlessly. This will encourage the plant to make bushy, compact growth the following year.

Display ideas

Jasmine can be trained upwards around a hoop, along a miniature trellis, or allowed to trail from a hanging basket.

Caring for your plant

Jasmine grows vigorously and, if it is not supported, it will look straggly after a while. So cut it back hard after it has finished flowering.

1. Unravel the plant from its support. Then cut away most of the previous year’s growth, leaving only one or Iwo new stems.

2. Wind these remaining stems around the support, fixing them on with plant ties if necessary. The plant will soon make new growth.

Propagation

1. In spring, take cuttings that are neither too ‘new’ nor too ‘old’. Semi-ripened wood is just right. Trim off the lowest pair of leaves and pinch out the very soft growing tip.

2. Plant 3-4 cuttings together in a mixture of half shale and half moist peat. Put in a polythene bag and keep at around 15°C. (60°F). After 14-21 days open the bag to admit air. Repot in a soil-based compost when well-established.

Pests And Diseases

Leaves wither and dry out if the air is too dry. Prevention: Increase the humidity level by standing the plant on a tray of moist pebbles. Avoid putting the plant too close to radiators and other heat sources.

The plant turns pale if it is attacked by red spider mites.

Prevention: Mist spray regularly and use an insecticide if neces.sary.

Deformed and sticky leaves are usually the result of aphid attack.

Treatment: Use a solution of soapy water. If attack is severe use insecticide.

PLANT CARE

This plant is easy to care for and grows quickly. Prune it hard each year after flowering to encourage bushy growth. Pinch out young shoots until July.

  • Potting: Use a soil-based compost and move young plants into the next size pots in spring, after flowering is over.
  • Water jasmine generously while active growth is being made. Water moderately during the winter.
  • Feeding: Feed with a liquid plant fertilizer at fortnightly intervals from early spring to mid-September.

BEST GROWTH ENVIRONMENT

  • Light: Give this plant bright light at all times. But avoid placing it in the heat and glare of the midday sun.
  • Temperature: Jasmine prefers temperatures around 15°C (60°F) for flowering and growth, and around 10°C (50°F) after flowering.

Buying Tips

  • Buy young, small plants from garden centres in spring.
  • Choose plants with a profusion of buds and some open flowers. The leaves should look fresh and healthy.
  • If pinched back during the growing period and pruned each year these plants will last for many years.
  • The delicate white flowers of jasmine bloom from early January through to March. In the bud stage they are tinged pink but open to make a pure white display. Give this plant plenty of light and keep the humidity level high.
  • A strong-growing climber, Chinese Jasmine will fill your home with the sweet and heady fragrance of its pretty star-shaped flowers during winter and spring.

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