By Julie Christensen
Looking for a fast growing, low-maintenance plant for your southern garden? The star jasmine might be just the thing. Also known as confederate jasmine, star jasmine is hardy in USDA plant hardiness zones 7B through 10.
Actually, star jasmine is not really jasmine at all, but belongs to the Trachelospermum genus. It’s a bit slow to start, but grows vigorously after the first year. Star jasmine has small, glossy green leaves that are evergreen in warm climates. The fragrant white flowers appear in April through June, depending on your climate.
Star jasmine is a versatile plant. It has a twining habit and becomes a strong vine when tied to a support — it can even make an attractive living fence. Grow it on a front porch or allow it to twine up trees. Use it to cover an eyesore, such as an old shed or fence, or let it tumble down walls and terraces. It will not attach to masonry without additional support.
Star jasmine also grows well as a ground cover. Simply pinch it back to control its growth. Treated this way, the plant will remain 12 to 18 inches high. Alternatively, you can grow it as a houseplant or even in hanging outdoor baskets.
Growing Conditions for Star Jasmine
Star jasmine does best in full sun, although it tolerates partial shade, especially in hot, dry weather. Give houseplants filtered sun, such as behind a curtain, during bright summer months. In the winter, move star jasmine to a bright, sunny window.
Star jasmine isn’t picky about soil. It grows in sand, clay or loam and tolerates both alkaline and acidic soils. It grows best in moderately moist soils, though, so it’s a good idea to dig a little compost or leaf mold into the soil prior to planting. Space the plants 4 feet apart. Keep the soil moist throughout the first growing season as the roots become established. After planting, add two inches of mulch to conserve moisture in dry conditions. Once established, star jasmine tolerates some drought.
Fertilize star jasmine in spring as new growth emerges with an all-purpose fertilizer. Follow package directions carefully. Star jasmine generally won’t need additional fertilizer, unless the plant has light green or yellow leaves, which indicates a nutrient deficiency. Avoid over-fertilizing star jasmine, which will result in vigorous leafy growth with few blooms. Another common cause of limited blooming is a lack of sunlight. If plants don’t bloom after the first year, consider moving them to a sunnier location.
Star jasmine can become invasive, especially in warm, moist conditions. Cut vines back to 18 inches after flowering to control its growth. Prune star jasmine grown as a groundcover throughout the year as it becomes unruly. Pinch back houseplants as needed to control growth.
Star jasmine suffers few disease or pest problems. Small, scale-like growths may look like a disease, but are actually scale, tiny insects that form in colonies on many plants. These insects pierce the stems and leaves to suck out the juices of the plant. In small numbers, they won’t cause harm, but large colonies can stunt or even kill star jasmine. Additionally, scale secretes honeydew, a sticky, clear substance which in turn attracts sooty mold, a black or grey fungus. Treat scale with an insecticidal soap or insecticidal oil when new growth emerges. Plant star jasmine so air circulates freely and thin the plants when they become crowded to prevent fungal diseases. Rabbits and deer sometimes feed on star jasmine, although the plant’s fast growth helps it recover quickly from damage caused by animals.
Almost any variety of star jasmine will thrive, but ‘Madison’ is a hardy plant recommended for zones 7 and 8. For fall foliage, plant ‘Japonicum.’ The white-veined leaves turn bronze in the fall. Another one worth trying is ‘Variegatum.’ This hardy plant has green leaves edged with red.
Common Questions and Answers About Star Jasmine/Confederate Jasmine
by Erin Marissa Russell
Do you cut back Confederate jasmine?
Confederate jasmine grows so quickly that it needs pruning to manage its size and keep it where you want it. Use clean, sterilized tools and perform your pruning right after the jasmine has flowered and blooms have faded. (Clean and sterilize your tools after cutting any diseased areas before you continue pruning.) To encourage the Confederate jasmine to grow fuller and more compact, you can cut it back to just beyond where it was pruned the year before. Otherwise, cut any branches that are broken, damaged, dead, or appear diseased. Remove branches that cross others, cause congestion, or grow outward. Pruning helps keep the plant healthy by allowing air circulation and sunlight to reach the interior foliage.
Does Confederate jasmine bloom all summer?
Confederate jasmine begins to bloom in May and continues blooming through June.
Does Confederate jasmine die in winter?
Confederate jasmine can withstand temperatures down to 10 degrees Fahrenheit without dying. Once temperatures drop below 32 degrees, you may notice the color of your Confederate jasmine’s foliage change from green to a bronze hue. Once temperatures reach 10 degrees, the leaves will begin to drop off the plant. If the weather does not warm up and temperatures stay at or below 10 degrees, your Confederate jasmine will die back to the woody parts of the stems. Exceptionally harsh winters or sustained low temperatures can cause Confederate jasmine to die down to the roots.
In the event of a particularly cold spell, you can provide some protection for your Confederate jasmine by watering it deeply and covering it with a layer of mulch four or five inches deep. Should your Confederate jasmine be damaged by the cold, after things have warmed up a little, prune to remove any broken or damaged stems to keep vermin or disease from using the damaged areas as an easy access point. If the jasmine has been damaged by the cold all the way down to the ground, you may need to cut it back all the way to ground level, then cover the roots with mulch and wait until spring to find out whether new growth sprouts (which means that the roots lived). Once new growth appears, provide the Confederate jasmine with a balanced fertilizer.
Does Confederate jasmine need sun?
Confederate jasmine has a bit of flexibility when it comes to the plant’s sun needs. It does very well in full sun but can also grow successfully in part sun or partial shade. The more sun a Confederate jasmine is provided, the more bountiful its flowers will be.
Does star jasmine have deep roots?
The root system of star jasmine plants proliferates with runners, so wherever the plant touches the ground, it puts down roots. These roots create a network that grows deep and covers the entire area where the plant grows. It’s the Confederate jasmine’s root system that is responsible for its tendency to spread, which is what makes it invasive.
Does star jasmine need a trellis?
You can grow star jasmine without a trellis as a ground cover, or you can train it to grow up a trellis or other support. Make sure your trellis is located somewhere that gets between full sun and partial shade so the star jasmine will thrive. The soil should drain well and be rich, including organic material. Plant the star jasmine a few inches from the trellis. Shrub varieties of jasmine are not naturally climbing plants, so you’ll need to cut some strips of soft cloth, which you’ll use to tie the jasmine to the trellis and train it to climb. As the star jasmine grows, weave its long, trailing branches through the holes in the trellis, wrapping the stems of the plant around the slats of the trellis in the same direction that they naturally bend. Tie the jasmine loosely to the trellis with the cloth; do not pull the fabric tight or cinch it when you tie the knot. Continue tying the branches to the trellis as the jasmine grows. If your star jasmine is not a shrub variety but a true vine, you’ll just need to wrap the vines around the trellis without tying to secure them.
How do you fertilize Confederate jasmine?
If your soil provides enough nutrition for your Confederate jasmine, you won’t need to provide it with additional fertilizer. You’ll know the plant is running low on nutrients if the leaves begin fading to yellow. Don’t fertilize a Confederate jasmine that’s a new addition to your garden or has been transplanted, however. Allow the jasmine to become well established, and provide fertilizer in the spring, when the plant begins to put out new growth. Feed Confederate jasmine with a 12-4-6 fertilizer blend at a dosage of one and a half pounds per 100 square feet of yard space. Apply the fertilizer evenly throughout your yard, avoiding the immediate vicinity of the jasmine plant. Leave at least three inches of space between your Confederate jasmine plant and the fertilizer you’re putting down. When you’re done applying fertilizer, water deeply to help incorporate it into the soil. Give newly established Confederate jasmine plants a smaller dose of one tablespoon of fertilizer per plant.
How fast does Confederate jasmine grow?
Confederate jasmine plants can grow at a rate of three to six feet each year. However, your Confederate jasmine plant will spend its first year of growth developing its underground root system, without visibly developing much above ground. It will increase production of above-ground foliage in its second year and, by its third year of growth, will be producing the typical three to six feet per year.
How often does Confederate jasmine bloom?
Confederate jasmine blooms each year, beginning its flowering season in May and continuing through June.
How often should I water Confederate jasmine?
Confederate jasmine growing in containers will need to be watered at a different rate than Confederate jasmine planted directly in the ground. Although Confederate jasmine is drought resistant and can tolerate a dry climate, providing it with regular water will help the plant to flourish. Give Confederate jasmine planted directly in the soil a deep watering when the top one to two inches of soil are dry. Water until the soil is wet to five or six inches deep. You can test the moisture level of the soil by sticking your finger into the soil near your jasmine plant. If dirt clings to your skin, it’s still moist. Confederate jasmine growing in containers will need to be watered more frequently. Hydrate potted Confederate jasmine when the top layer of the soil has dried out, and keep watering until the moisture drips from the container’s drainage holes.
Is Confederate jasmine evergreen?
The leaves of the Confederate jasmine vine are evergreen. However, the plant’s foliage may begin to turn bronze instead of green when temperatures drop to freezing (32 degrees Fahrenheit) or below. At 10 degrees Fahrenheit or colder, the leaves will start to drop from Confederate jasmine plants.
Is Confederate jasmine invasive?
Confederate jasmine is not listed on the USDA’s list of introduced, invasive, and noxious plants. However, it has a tendency to spread heartily that leads some gardeners to call it invasive. Confederate jasmine’s tendency to spread is due to its deep root system, which uses long runners to bring the plant nutrients and claim new territory.
Is Confederate jasmine poisonous to dogs, cats, or humans?
No parts of the Confederate jasmine plant are poisonous to humans or pets.
Is star jasmine annual or perennial?
Star jasmine is a perennial plant, which means it returns the next spring or persists over the winter. You can get more information in our article Annuals vs. Perennials: What Is the Difference?
Is star jasmine the same as Confederate jasmine?
Confederate jasmine and star jasmine are names for the same plant; both names refer to the plant whose botanical name is Trachelospermum jasminoides.
Want to learn more about growing Star Jasmine successfully?
Visit the following links:
Costa Farms covers Confederate Jasmine
Clemson Cooperative Extension covers Jasmine
Plant Jasmine to Scent Up Garden Evenings, from Oregon State University Extension
When she’s not writing about gardening, food and canning, Julie Christensen enjoys spending time in her gardens, which includes perennials, vegetables and fruit trees. She’s written hundreds of gardening articles for the Gardening Channel, Garden Guides and San Francisco Gate, as well as several e-books.