Hardy. Elegant. Aromatic. Agile. What more could you want from your flowering vine? The star jasmine has all these attributes, and many more you're sure to enjoy. The narrow star-shaped petals, lush foliage, and sweet fragrance of this versatile vine add elegant beauty to any outdoor space. Whether you train them to climb a trellis or let them flow freely in a basket, a few quick pointers are all it takes to let this garden star steal the show.
Don't let the similar-looking flowers fool you; the star jasmine (or confederate jasmine) isn't jasmine at all. With the botanical name Trachelospermum jasminoides, it's in the same family as plumeria and adenium, so it's more like a relative of the flower it resembles. Either way, this jasmine cousin's simple elegance is a gardening testament to the age-old adage that less is more. The petite white petals lend your garden a classy look, especially when offset by the deep green, glossy leaves. Add to that the abundance of flowers, a sweet scent, and hardy durability, and you'll soon see why this flower so often becomes a gardening centerpiece.
Star jasmine loves to reach for the sky, and can easily grow 20 to 30 feet if trellised — and it only needs an initial helping hand to get there. Tie it up for the first few feet or support it with a lattice as an espalier, and the star jasmine will fill in the gaps with its abundant flowers and foliage. If you prefer a more free-flowing look, let it cascade over a basket or wall, or use it as a ground cover to carpet your garden with its starry petals.
The dainty petals might make you think otherwise, but star jasmine is a hardy plant and can flourish in multiple climates, though it thrives best in warmer regions with abundant sunlight. Most often it's planted in USDA zones 8 to 10 (think the Pacific North-West and southern states), but can withstand temperatures as low as 10 or 15° F, so it will shine in nearly any region.
As you'd expect with a hardy vine, star jasmine is in it for the long haul. As such, it takes its time getting started and thrives best when it has time to prepare for the cold. If you're going to put it straight in the ground, do so when the days are mild so it has time to fully establish. If bitter winters are common in your region, consider starting it off in a pot and bring it inside until the first spring comes.
Holding to its name, star jasmine is happiest where there's plenty of sunshine. Full exposure will make this vine thrive most, which is why you'll often see it on the coast or in the sunny southwest. It can handle shadier surroundings, though, and will still perform beautifully in partial or even full shade.
Star jasmine's versatility applies to soil, too. While it prefers loam or clay to sink its roots into, it can thrive in most soil types as long as good drainage is available. Slightly acidic soil will make the star jasmine feel most at home, ideally a pH of 6.5 to 7.0. Mixing your soil with peat moss or compost will give it the pH and drainage this pretty plant craves.
Star jasmine is a sprawling vine, so it needs enough room to grow. If you plant it as a ground cover, give each plant five feet of space or more so that the vines don't have to compete. If you use a basket, start it off with an organic potting soil, and make sure it gets the drainage it needs.
Propagating star jasmine is as simple as implanting some clippings into the soil, and once you've done so, all that's left is the watering. This plant's resilience shows here, too, as it doesn't take much to quench star jasmine's thirst. Though the plant is not completely drought-resistant, regular watering every three days is enough in the southwest sun, and milder, wetter climates may only require water every 10 to 21 days. A good rule of thumb: the more sun exposure, the more water it needs.
A healthy vine, star jasmine isn't particularly susceptible to many diseases or pests. The two main pests to attack this flower are the mealy worm and scale bug, and one of the primary diseases is sooty mold. When you check for any disease or infestation, keep the plant's thick foliage in mind, and remember to look deep.
Aside from its preference for slightly acidic soil, the low-maintenance star jasmine doesn't require any specialized nutrients or fertilizer. Occasional pruning will keep this star at its brightest; afterwards, the cut vines will ooze a harmless, milky white sap. Aside from ample room and watering according to sunlight, the best thing you can do for your star jasmine is to sit back and let it shine!