How to grow and care for banana trees
Name: star jasmine, Chinese jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides)
Height: ground cover to approx. 1m untrained; not rampant
Foliage: glossy mid-green, thick leaves; new growth is lime green.
Climate: temperate to tropical; will not grow in cold areas; does not tolerate frost.
Soil: well-drained loam with compost added before planting.
Position: full sun to part shade; can tolerate full shade, but flowering will be reduced.
Flowering: masses of white pinwheel flowers 3cm across; fragrant.
Feeding: use a long-term controlled-release fertiliser.
Watering: water well until established, and when conditions are hot and dry.
Chinese star jasmine (known simply as star jasmine) is the most popular form of jasmine. This striking vine can be trained to grow vertically over wires and trellising, as well as horizontally, to create carpets of bright green covered with white, star-shaped flowers. It is a non-invasive, evergreen, twining vine that can be grown as a ground cover or screening plant, trained to cover a trellis or grown up wires. Its mature leaves are glossy mid to dark green and reasonably thick, while its new growth is bright lime green. The combination of bright and mid greens with the abundance of white flowers creates a stunning visual effect as a carpet or “green wall”.
Polyantha or pink jasmine (Jasminum polyanthum) is a hardy and vigorous climber that produces masses of pink buds opening to white flowers. It needs severe pruning each year to keep it within bounds, and has developed a reputation as an asthma and hayfever allergen.
Primrose jasmine (Jasminum mesney) is less vigorous than other jasmines, but still needs regular pruning to restrain it. Its yellow flowers appear in late winter and early spring. Widely grown in the 1960s and 70s, it’s not often seen in nurseries these days.
Planted in a row, about 1.5m apart, star jasmine plants can be trained and clipped as a 60cm–1m high hedge. It looks fabulous as the intermediate height in formal hedge borders, behind clipped English box and in front of clipped murraya (orange jessamine) or Mexican orange blossom (Choisya ternata).
Star jasmine is freely available in a range of sizes from most plant retailers. The larger the plant, the faster it will establish and grow.
Star jasmine can be slow to settle in and start growing, but once its roots spread out into the soil, it will take off.
Star jasmine can be grown in pots or tubs and trained up verandah posts or over trellising to screen out unsightly views. Use a premium-quality potting mix and add a six-month controlled-release fertiliser for flowering plants at the start of each spring and autumn.
Potted climbers can be difficult to re-pot, so it’s best to start with a reasonably large tub or half wine barrel and then simply top up the potting mix every year or so to refresh it.
In the first year after planting, don’t allow star jasmine to dry out, especially if the weather is hot. A deep watering every few days will keep the roots moist, but not too wet. Mulch around plants to keep the soil cool over summer.
Apply a six-month controlled-release fertiliser at the start of spring and autumn each year to keep garden plants healthy and vigorous.
Jasmine can be pruned immediately after flowering to allow the development of growth for the next flowering season.
When to propagate jasmine
Jasmine will do best when transplanted outside when temperatures average 21°C. Seedlings can be started indoors three months before transplanting time, while cuttings should be made around one month before transplanting.
Growing jasmine from seeds
Growing jasmine from cuttings
Star jasmine may occasionally be attacked by aphids on soft new growth. Treat with an insecticidal soap or pyrethrum-based spray if required.
Murraya: tropical to warm temperate evergreen shrub ideal for hedging; has small, white perfumed flowers.
Robinia: moderate-sized tree with striking foliage; excellent specimen plant; colours beautifully in autumn.
Periwinkle: trailing flowering plant thriving in shade; good ground cover underneath climbers.
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