How to grow jasmine
Summer-flowering jasmines are climbers with clusters of small, fragrant flowers, usually white or pale pink. Winter jasmine has a bushy, scrambling habit. Its yellow flowers open on bare stems to bring cheery colour throughout the colder months. There are also several tender jasmines for growing indoors.
- Easy-to-grow, woody climbers or shrubs
- Flowers in spring, summer or winter
- Many have richly scented flowers
- Grow in sun or partial shade
- Plant summer jasmines in spring or autumn
- Plant winter jasmine in autumn/winter
- Make new plants by taking cuttings
All you need to know
What is jasmine?There are several different species of jasmine (Jasminum). They can be climbers or shrubs, and many have fragrant flowers. Some are hardy, while others need protection from low temperatures, as they are either half-hardy or tender.
The most widely grown species are:
common jasmine (Jasminum officinale), a vigorous climber with small, fragrant, white flowers in summer
winter jasmine (J. nudiflorum), a shrub with small, bright yellow (unscented) flowers in winter and early spring
Chinese jasmine (J. polyanthum), a tender houseplant with highly fragrant, white flowers, opening from pink buds, in late winter and spring
Several other jasmines are readily available, including:
Jasminum beesianum and J. × stephanense – climbers with fragrant pale pink flowers in summer, may not be fully hardy
Choosing the right jasmine
The different types of jasmine can be used in various ways:
Climbing, summer-flowering jasmines (such as J. officinale and J. × stephanense) are ideal for covering walls and other structures, such as pergolas, trellis, archways and porches. Most need a warm, sheltered, sunny spot, and can be quite vigorous once established. Some are not fully hardy.
Winter jasmine is ideal for brightening up gardens during the coldest months of the year, when its arching bare stems are adorned with bright yellow flowers. This tough, hardy shrub is often grown as a hedge, ground cover or trained against a wall. It is happy in most situations, in sun or partial shade.
Chinese jasmine is usually grown as a houseplant, for its abundant, highly fragrant white flowers in late winter and spring. It can also be grown up a trellis in a conservatory, enclosed porch or heated greenhouse.
How and what to buyJasmines are widely available for most of the year from garden centres and online suppliers, including RHS Plants.
For more on individual species and cultivars, go to RHS Find a Plant. Search for ‘Jasminum’ to browse the photographs and plant descriptions, and find out where to buy them.
Where to plant
Jasmines need fertile, well-drained soil in sun or partial shade. They are not all fully hardy, so some need to be grown indoors or in a very sheltered or frost-free spot – check plant labels carefully for individual requirements.
But in general:
Plant summer jasmines (such as J. officinale and J. × stephanense) in a warm, sheltered, sunny spot. They dislike cold or frost-prone sites. They can be quite vigorous climbers once established, so need large, sturdy supports. They can be grown in containers or in the ground
Plant tender jasmines (such as J. polyanthum) in containers and keep indoors in a warm, bright spot. A conservatory is ideal. You can also move them outside in summer, to a warm, sheltered spot, but bring them indoors before night temperatures fall below 13–15˚C (55–59˚F)
Planting a climber to cover a bare wall or fence is a great way to make your garden more wildlife friendly. It will offer shelter and nesting sites for birds and insects.
When to plant
Jasmines are available for most of the year, and are often sold in garden centres in full flower. But as a general rule, plant:
summer jasmine in spring or autumn
winter jasmine in autumn and winter
How to plant
Jasmines are very easy to plant. They are sold in containers, ready for planting straight into borders or larger containers.
For full planting details, depending on the type of jasmine, see our guides to:
Newly planted jasmines should be watered regularly for at least their first year, until well rooted
After that, plants in the ground shouldn't need additional watering, except during dry spells in summer
Plants in containers need regular watering throughout the growing season, as they have little access to water
Houseplants and glasshouse plants need regular watering while in growth, but only very light watering in winter
To boost flowering, feed plants growing in containers monthly with a high-potassium liquid feed (such as tomato fertiliser)
Jasmines in the ground can be given a general-purpose, granular fertiliser such as Growmore in spring, to encourage growth. During the flowering period, you can apply a high-potassium feed, such as sulphate of potash, seaweed feed or wood ash
Plant nutrition: feeding plants
With jasmines growing in the ground, apply a generous mulch of organic matter, such as well-rotted garden compost, over the area the roots are growing in during autumn.
This will help to hold moisture in the soil and deter weed germination. It will also benefit plants that are not fully hardy by insulating the roots. Leave a gap of about 7.5cm (3in) around the base, to prevent the stems rotting.
See our guide to mulching tender plants.
Common jasmine (Jasminum officinale) and winter jasmine (J. nudiflorum) are hardy, so established plants should be fine outside all winter.
However, most other jasmines are not reliably hardy, so are best given winter protection or brought indoors before temperatures drop:
Tender jasmines, such as Jasminum polyanthum, need to be kept consistently warm, above 13˚C (55˚F). So take care not to leave them outside when night-time temperatures start to drop, and even indoors avoid leaving them in a cold spot at night
Half-hardy plants, such as J. × stephanense, are best brought indoors if growing in a container. If they're in the ground, you may choose to risk leaving them outside when they're in a warm, sheltered spot. In which case, cover the root zone with a thick, insulating mulch
See our guide to preventing winter damage.
Caring for older plants
Vigorous species may grow quite large over time, but can be cut back hard to rejuvenate them and keep them within bounds. See Pruning and training below.
Pruning annually will help to keep jasmine plants healthy and vigorous, with flowers lower down where their scent can be enjoyed. Pruning may also be necessary to keep them within their allotted space, and prevent the growth becoming too straggly, tangled or congested.
When pruning both summer and winter jasmine, cut back flowered stems to a strong side-shoot lower down. Also thin out any overcrowded, damaged or wayward shoots, and remove any weak or thin stems.
See our guide to pruning climbers and wall shrubs.
Pruning summer jasmines
Prune just after flowering, in late summer or early autumn
Early flushes of flowers are produced on the previous year’s growth, but later flushes form on the tips of the current year’s growth
Pruning after flowering gives the new growth time to mature and flower early next season
Pruning winter jasmine
Prune in spring, immediately after flowering
Flowers are produced on the previous year’s growth
Pruning after flowering gives the new growth time to mature and flower next season
See our guide to pruning shrubs.
Watch out for birds' nests
The main nesting season is early March to end of July, but it can go on for longer. Always check shrubs and hedges carefully before pruning, and delay if you find an active nest.
Pruning newly planted climbing jasmine
Young climbers need initial training and pruning to ensure they grow strongly and spread out evenly over their supports. See our guide to initial pruning of climbers.
Pruning overgrown jasmine
Both summer and winter jasmine can cope with hard pruning and renovation, if the plant has outgrown its space:
Cut back hard to within 60cm (2ft) of the base
Re-growth will be vigorous, so select strong shoots for training into the new framework, and remove unwanted shoots
The plant will take two or three years to start flowering again
Making new plants is quite straightforward by:
Jasmines rarely produce berries in the UK, but if yours does, you can try propagating it from seed.
Jasmine is generally trouble-free, if grown in suitable conditions. Many jasmines aren't fully hardy, so may be damaged or killed by winter cold and wet. See Planting, above, for guidance.
Outdoor plants suffer few pests and diseases, although you may sometimes find aphids on tender new shoots. However, control isn't usually necessary.
When grown indoors, jasmine may attract sap-feeding pests, including:
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