HOW TO CULTIVATE JASMINUM

7 deg C/45 deg F

Two species are sold as houseplants. although they are more suited to a conservatory or garden room where they can be allowed to adorn a wall or be trained to a considerable height. When bought, they are often trained around a wire loop, but it is not long before their rampant nature leads them to search elsewhere for support. The favourite plant is undoubtedly /. polyanthum, pink jasmine, because of its exquisite and powerful scent, The white. tubular flowers, pinkish in bud, are freely produced and a mature plant will become smothered with bloom during winter if the minimum temperature is maintained. The plants will survive at considerably lower temperatures, but are liable to lose their foliage. Unfortunately too much warmth is likely to

encourage very quick growth, and plants should be confined in relatively small pots if space is limited. /. mesnyi (syn. /. primulinum), the primrose jasmine, has no scent, but the pretty, bright yellow flowers make a gay show from March to May. This is not a twiner like the other species and has less tendency to become invasive, and therefore may be more suitable for the home. Because of the rampant nature of /. polyanthum, it is a good idea to take cuttings in March and to grow these in a sunny place during summer, training around a wire loop or up a cane. The plants can be taken into the home in autumn and should give a presentable display of flowers from winter onwards. Old and inconveniently large plants can then be discarded or given to friends with conservatories or greenhouses. If possible, take the cuttings with a heel. since these usually root easily at 16 deg C (61 deg F). Cutting back and pruning can be done after flowering. /. mesnyi is best thinned rather than cut back too much. In all cases, weak and straggly stems should be removed entirely. Both species seem to do well in either slight shade or good light. In winter, keep the roots nicely moist but not waterlogged. Aphids are the most likely problem.

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