Plant of the Month: Winter Jasmine

Known by the Chinese as ‘welcoming spring flower,’ Winter Jasmine (Jasminum nudiflorum) is a deciduous perennial that produces beautiful flowers in the dead of winter, making it a must for your winter garden. The viny shrub was introduced to England from China in 1844 by the English plant collector, Robert Fortune. After he sent the specimen, which he picked up at a Shanghai nursery, to the Royal Horticulture Society, it gained immediate popularity in European and American Gardens. Today, its popularity is not so vast because it is extremely easy to grow and not much has changed in the way of making hybrids but Winter Jasmine is the first plant to bloom in colder regions and brings lively color to your winter garden all year ‘round because of its eternally green stems.

Winter Jasmine blooms in USDA Zones 6-9 but can be successfully grown in zone 5 and 10. Winter Jasmine blooms on the first warm day in January but is quickly beat away when the next frost comes along, only to return in sprinklings of blooms until March with its peak blooming in February. The blooms start at the base and move to the tips through these months, reaching about an inch in size at maturity with vibrant, yellow, waxy petals.

Winter Jasmine can grow up to 4 feet high and 5-7 feet wide, in a trailing, cascading, mound and the vines will root anywhere it touches the ground. Its ability to root makes it a great tool against erosion and its size and growth style make it ideal for that beautiful arbour, trellis or for cascading down a wall.

Winter Jasmine is very hardy and easy to grow. In fact, it can be hard to stop. Conscientious pruning is necessary when it is left without a structure to which it cannot root, otherwise it can be quite invasive. An arbour, trellis or wall for it to climb or cascade upon reduces much of this work. It can be grown in full sun to part shade and prefers well drained, fertile soil, though it can survive in nearly any type soil or light exposure. Thank your Winter Jasmine for its beauty during the cold months of winter by cutting it back after it blooms in the spring and by giving it a good dose of organic fertilizer. Try Grow Big 521 which is organic and well balanced.

Winter Jasmine may be known by the Chinese as a ‘welcoming spring flower’ but it is a great plant for those of us who yearn for life in our gardens during the dreary winter months. Try this unique plant out. It won’t disappoint and will bring joy to your garden way before your neighbor’s plants start to bloom!

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