01/01/2014 - 02/28/2014
Memphis Botanic Garden map
Botanical Name: Jasminum nudiflorum
Merits: Jasmine is a fast-growing tough, reliable, hardy ornamental shrub that is drought tolerant and will grow in poor soils. I believe it is underused in today’s landscapes. This low-growing (3-4 feet high by 4-7 feet wide) deciduous shrub has a broad-spreading arching habit. If trained vertically on a trellis or wall it can grow up to 15 feet. The fine textured slender willowy bright green stems give you an evergreen impression and are a contrast to the browns and grays of the winter landscape. The small bright yellow flowers through unscented are almost weatherproof and start blooming in December; they continue blooming until early March. The flowers and the emerald green foliage are great for cutting and placing in arrangements.
Growing Tips: Winter Jasmine will grow in full sun to partial shade and prefers well-drained soil, but will tolerate a wide range of growing conditions. Winter Jasmine is a vigorous grower, so it will need to be pruned back (after flowering) to 6 inches every 3 to 4 years to rejuvenate and keep the plant under control. Cutting back will also prevent bare patches from appearing. The trailing branches of Winter Jasmine will root wherever they touch the soil, so it is easily propagated. You can also take cuttings in May to July and no rooting hormone is needed.
Landscape Value: Winter Jasmine can be allowed to scramble freely over a low wall or bank, and looks great planted in mass. One might use it to cover the “bare” legs of shrubs as well. There are over 200 species in the genus, but there are only a few available for purchase. Michael Dirr lists a green and white variegated cultivar called Mystique and golden green foliage one called Aureum. In the Memphis area, I have only seen one species.
Location in the Garden: Winter Jasmine can be found in the Japanese Garden of Tranquility and in the parking lot at MBG.
Kyle McLane is a Horticulturist on staff at the Memphis Botanic Garden.