Star Jasmine: A Fragrant And Vigorous Climber

Ever admire the big houses with fancy landscapes that are featured in gardening magazines? In many of those photos, star jasmine is likely to be one of the main features. Not only does it have a knock-out name, but this vine is definitely a show stopper.

The big allure of star jasmine is in its flowers. In late spring, large clusters of the most delicate white blooms appear. They bring a sweet fragrance that attracts bees and gardeners alike. Creating a backdrop for the flowers are shiny, dark green leaves on spindly brown stems. The new foliage is bright green and turns dark as it matures, so the foliage has a beautifully textured look.

Also called Confederate jasmine, this vine grows to be very full and is extremely versatile. It’s usually found growing as a climbing vine. You can put it on a trellis, fence, wall, or whatever else you have. Confederate jasmine can also be trained to grow as a shrub, ground cover, or even a hanging container plant.

In case I haven’t convinced you how awesome this plant is, imagine this: it’s super-easy. Star jasmine is generally not picky about its conditions. It’s low-maintenance and pest free. What more could you ask for in such a stunning plant?

Good Products For Star Jasmine Care:

Quick Care Guide

Star jasmine
The white flowers of the star jasmine are sweetly scented. Source: yewchan
Common NameStar jasmine, Confederate jasmine, Chinese ivy, Chinese jasmine
Scientific NameTrachelospermum jasminoides
FamilyApocynaceae
Height & Spread2′ to 30′ long vines, can be trained vertically or out as a ground cover
LightPartial sun and shade
SoilWell-draining, slightly acidic
WaterOnce a week; when the soil begins to dry out
Pests & DiseasesMealybugs, rabbits, sooty mold

All About Trachelospermum jasminoides

Star jasmine Chameleon cultivar
The ‘Chameleon’ cultivar of star jasmine has variegated leaves. Source: Andesine

Trachelospermum jasminoides comes from China and Japan. Surprisingly though, it isn’t actually a true jasmine plant. This deceptively-named vine is part of the Apocynaceae family, which also includes periwinkle, milkweed, and hoya. It’s also related to the carrion flower species Stapelia, the flowers of which smell like rotting meat. That’s a complete contrast from star jasmine’s sweetly fragrant white flowers!

The size of these plants depends on how you choose to grow them. As a shrub, it’s usually kept at 3-6 feet high and wide. It can also be contained to 2 feet off the ground as a ground cover. Left to its own devices, star jasmine can climb upwards to 30 feet or more!

This fragrant jasmine grows as an evergreen in zones 8-11. In colder areas, it makes a great indoor/outdoor container plant or annual.

These plants grow fast, so they quickly expand to fill any space in the garden you allow them to take. For an alternative to its deep green foliage, check out the variegated form ‘Chameleon’ that has creamy light yellow streaks on the leaves.

Star Jasmine Care

You shouldn’t have difficulty getting your star jasmine to perform like the star it truly is. But, just in case, here are some care tips to really help your plant take off.

Light & Temperature

Trachelospermum jasminoides foliage
The foliage of Trachelospermum jasminoides is vividly green and glossy. Source: douneika

This fragrant jasmine loves full sun conditions… but it’s not as fond as the heat that goes with them. If the temperature soars in your area, provide some afternoon shade. They can also grow in partial-shade conditions as long as they have lots of indirect bright lighting.

On the flip side, star jasmine tolerates temperatures as low as 10° F. Its leaves start to turn bronze colored once the weather drops below 32°, but many consider that to be an attractive feature. If you’re in a climate which is colder than zone 8, be prepared to bring your plant indoors to overwinter. It performs best in zones 8-10.

Water & Humidity

Star jasmine isn’t a water guzzler, but it does need a consistent watering schedule. Give your plant a drink whenever the soil begins to dry out on top. Depending on the weather, you’ll be watering about every week. During the summer, increase the watering frequency so your plants stay hydrated.

Soil

Ever the adapter, Trachelospermum jasminoides can adjust to most soil types. Its preference is loamy and well-draining soil that’s slightly acidic. It’s important that the soil doesn’t get too muddy. This can easily lead to root rot and bacterial growth in most plants, including star jasmine.

Fertilizer

You only need to fertilize if the soil lacks organic matter or the plant is showing signs of nutrient deficiency (yellowing leaves). In the spring, apply a balanced slow-release fertilizer to boost the new growth. Only fertilize established jasmine vine plants, not newly planted ones.

If using compost is more your style, mix it into the soil before planting the jasmine vine. Each winter afterward, lightly cover the top of the soil with an inch or two to hold in moisture and supply nutrients.

Repotting

Star jasmine white flowers
Side view of a cluster of white star-shaped jasmine flowers. Source: Bahamutzero

Plant your jasmine vine in the spring or early fall so it can get established before winter. You can re-pot it during the summer, but the adjusting plant will require more water and care at this time. Choose a container that’s twice as big as your jasmine star. This plant is such a fast grower that it’ll fill up its space in no time. If you want your potted vine to climb, insert a trellis into the soil before planting.

Since it’s a large plant, take your jasmine star out of the old container sideways, with the plant laying on the ground. If the roots are packed together, gently loosen them up with your fingers. Plant the star jasmine in its new container, filling in the empty spaces with fresh soil. If you’re using a trellis, carefully wind the vines up the trellis to help it climb.

Propagation

Star jasmine is best propagated by stem cuttings in the summer. Using clean clippers, take a 4-inch long cutting just below a leaf node. The cutting must be healthy, succulent, and preferably flower-free. Dip the end in powdered or liquid rooting hormone and plant them upright in well-draining soil.

It takes about 2-3 weeks for the cutting to root and another 3-4 until it’s ready for transplanting. During this time, keep the soil consistently moist and keep the container in the shade. After transplanting into the garden, pay special attention to the baby plant and give it plenty of water.

Pruning

Trachelospermum jasminoides spreads by sending out runners that root wherever they touch the ground. If you want your vine kept in a certain space, prune back these runners. Because the roots grow deep, it’s much easier to prune early on than dig up the rooted segments later.

If you’re growing your star jasmine as a ground cover, you might not want to trim back the runners. The newly-rooted plants will help keep your ground cover lush and evergreen. It will also reduce the need for planting jasmine starts in bare spots. You may actually want to encourage your vine to take root in those bare areas by burying sections of the vine.

The ideal pruning time is after the white flowers have faded from your plants. Remove vines in the garden that are dead, diseased, unsightly, or in the way. While you’re at it, save any healthy clippings to propagate from!

Troubleshooting

Chinese jasmine trained to trellis
A star jasmine trained to fill in a trellis. Source: chuck b.

Overall, star jasmine is mostly pest and disease-free. Unfortunately, that doesn’t make this plant bullet-proof. Here are some problems that are rare, but may occur with your star jasmine.

Growing Problems

In some gardens, this fragrant jasmine can become invasive. If you’re planning for the plant to take up a large space, this shouldn’t be a problem. However, if your Confederate jasmine is confined to a small space with other, smaller plants nearby, it can overstep its bounds. You’ll have to prune it back regularly to keep it under control.

Sun exposure is great for your plants unless you start getting up into the 90’s. During those hot sun periods, it may be best if you provide partial shade, especially during the hot afternoon hours. Your plants may wilt if they’re exposed to too much scorching sun in the midst of the summer. If they have water, they will usually perk up once the heat drops.

Pests

Infestations of mealybugs will weaken the vine, as they suck the sap from the leaves and cause damage. If the pests are already at home on your star jasmine, use a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol to loosen them and pick them off. Regular sprayings of neem oil can prevent them from returning.

Confederate jasmine may draw rabbits to your garden. They usually don’t cause enough damage to severely hurt the plant, but you may lose a few leaves here and there. The fragrant white flowers and the lush green leaves draw them in!

Diseases

Sooty mold develops on the honeydew secreted by some insects. It’s a fungus that spreads dark patches across the leaves. The mold itself doesn’t hurt the plant, but it can block the sun and make photosynthesis more difficult. Prevent this fungal growth by keeping your star jasmine pest-free. To remove the mold, use water to rinse it off the leaves. Neem oil can help prevent regrowth.

Frequently Asked Questions

Confederate jasmine in nursery pots
Fragrant star jasmine in nursery pots, with support for upward climbing. Source: wallygrom

Q: Does star jasmine need a trellis?

A: Only if you want it to climb upward. This garden vine can be trained as a shrub or ground cover as well! A dappling of the white, fragrant flowers atop their glossy evergreen foliage makes for a beautiful and thick “carpet”.

Q: Is Confederate jasmine poisonous?

A: Nope! This garden climber is child and pet-friendly.

Q: Is star jasmine an evergreen?

A: It is unless the temperature drops below the freezing point. It can develop bronze leaves at that point, then serious damage at around 10 degrees Fahrenheit. If you’re in a climate that regularly experiences sub-freezing temperatures, bring your plants in from the garden during the cold season.


The Green Thumbs Behind This Article:

Rachel Garcia
Succulent Fanatic

Lorin Nielsen
Lifetime Gardener

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