The winter jasmine (Jasminum nudiflorum) is a must-have for anyone with a sheltered wall that gets a bit of sun. Unlike its summer-flowering relatives, it has no fragrance, but the star-like flowers are produced in profusion in relays, waiting for the next mild spell.
Jasminum nudiflorum AGM is a fully hardy, deciduous shrub with long, arching branches; flowers appear on the bare stems (hence the Latin nudiflorum, meaning ‘naked flower’). It responds well to having stems exposed to sun during the summer months, and an application of mulch during the growing season.
Flowers develop on the previous year’s growth, so the shrub should be pruned regularly, immediately after flowering. Don’t worry if your plant outgrows its allotted space as it will tolerate hard pruning to within 60cm (2ft) of the base; however, it may take two to three years to start flowering again.
Winter jasmine can be tied in on wires or a trellis but, as it is a scrambler by nature, it can be left to cover low walls, a bank or used as a loose groundcover. In the wild, it will clamber over other shrubs without smothering them. If shoots are allowed to touch the ground, roots will sprout, giving you the opportunity to propagate new plants.
At Rosemoor we have this plant trained on a south-facing wall of the Winter Garden shelter. Helleborus × hybridus provides ground cover around the base, flowering at the same time, providing a lovely colour contrast with deep purple flowers. On the ramp beds below the Alpine Terrace, Ceanothus, Sophora, Fatsia and Magnolia provide evergreen contrast for the bright yellow flowers of the jasmine to peek out from behind.
Discovered by Robert Fortune near Shanghai on one of his plant-hunting expeditions for the RHS, Jasminum nudiflorum is one of those plants that any gardener looking for winter interest should not be without. It is versatile in its habits and the bright yellow flowers will cheer any dull winter’s day and shine when caught by the low winter sun.