How to grow trachelospermum
Star jasmine offers an abundance of small but highly fragrant summer flowers. This woody evergreen climber likes a warm sheltered spot and is ideal for growing near a seating area or doorway, where you can enjoy its jasmine-like scent to the full.
- Easy to grow
- Highly fragrant flowers in summer
- Hardy evergreen climber
- Plant in spring
- Likes a warm spot in sun or light shade
- Low maintenance
- Make new plants by taking cuttings
All you need to know
What is star jasmine?
Trachelospermum jasminoides, or star jasmine, is an evergreen climber with twining woody stems. It produces clusters of richly fragrant, small white flowers through the summer months, set against glossy green leaves. These may turn bronze or red in winter. There are also cultivars with pale yellow flowers or variegated foliage.
Star jasmine grows best in a warm, sunny, sheltered spot with fertile, well-drained soil. In colder regions or frost-prone locations it usually needs winter protection. It is relatively slow growing, but in favourable conditions can eventually reach 4m (14ft) or more. It needs a system of supporting wires or trellis to help it climb.
Another species, Trachelospermum asiaticum, or Chinese jasmine, is also widely available. This has fragrant white flowers, although there are cultivars with pink or yellow flowers too.
How and what to buy
Star jasmine is sold year-round in large containers. Plants can vary in height from about 60cm (2ft) to 1.8m (6ft) or more, and are usually trained onto bamboo canes. You can buy them from garden centres and online suppliers, including RHS Plants.
Both Trachelospermum jasminoides and the
Gardeners often use the word variety when referring to a specific plant, but the correct botanical term is 'cultivar'. Whichever word you use, it means a distinctive plant or plants, given a specific cultivar name and usually bred to enhance certain characteristics, such as flower or fruit size, colour, flavour or fragrance, plant size, hardiness, disease resistance, etc. Additionally, it is worth knowing that, botanically, variety has another meaning - it refers to a naturally-occurring distinct plant that only has slight differences in its looks. For example, Malva alcea var. fastigiata differs from typical plants by having an upright habit.
Where to plant
The best place to plant star jasmine is where you can enjoy its richly fragrant flowers to the full – perhaps beside a doorway or seating area. Sun or light shade is best, with shelter from cold, drying winds. It does particularly well in mild, sheltered gardens, especially urban gardens. Avoid frost-prone or cold, exposed spots. See our guide to assessing your garden conditions.
A south- or west-facing wall or fence is ideal, but you must give this climber a system of supports, such as trellis or wires, to twine through. It will also climb up a pergola, tripod or archway, or over a shed or porch.
Plant star jasmine in free-draining fertile or moderately fertile soil. It prefers neutral to alkaline soil conditions, but will grow in slightly acid soils too.
If you don't have suitable outdoor conditions, you can grow star jasmine in a conservatory or glasshouse in good light. But keep it out of direct sun in summer, as this may scorch the leaves.
It can also be grown in a large container. This makes it easier to bring indoors over winter, if necessary.
When to plant
Star jasmine is best planted in spring, ahead of the growing season.
How to plant
Star jasmine is easy to plant and should settle in well if given a little extra attention for the first year or so. It is a long-lived plant, so it’s worth ensuring it gets off to a good start, to help it thrive for years to come.
It can be planted in the ground or in a large container – see our easy planting guides:
When planted in a suitably warm, sheltered spot, star jasmine should need little additional attention. Just water regularly for the first year or so and during long dry spells.
After planting, water regularly for at least the first year, until settled in. Plants may also need watering during dry spells in summer.
Plants in containers dry out quickly, so need regular watering. Try not to let the compost dry out, especially in summer, or get waterlogged.
It's unlikely you'll need to water in winter, but keep an eye on container and conservatory plants.
Tips on recycling and collecting water
How to water efficiently
When growing in fertile soil, feeding shouldn’t be necessary. But if you want to boost flowering or growth, or help new plants settle in, you can apply a general fertiliser in spring, such as Growmore, Vitax Q4 or blood, fish and bone, at the rate recommended on the packet.
Plants in containers will benefit from regular feeding – see our guide to container maintenance.
Mulch the soil around the base of star jasmine in spring or autumn with a thick layer of organic matter, such as well-rotted garden compost or manure. Apply annually, on to damp soil. This will help to suppress weeds and hold moisture in the soil. Leave a 10cm (4in) gap around the stem, to avoid any risk of rotting the bark.
In colder parts of the country or frost-prone spots, it is safest to give star jasmine some winter protection. Well-established plants will be hardier than recently planted ones.
Depending on your local conditions, you can give various levels of protection:
In a very cold or frost-prone area, either keep star jasmine in a glasshouse or conservatory all year round, or grow it in a container and bring it indoors over winter.
In milder areas or sheltered sites, especially with well-established plants, winter protection may not be necessary. However, you could add a thick, insulating layer of mulch over the root zone in autumn. With plants in containers, it’s a good idea to move them to a sheltered spot and wrap bubble polythene around the containers to protect the roots. You may also wish to cover plants with fleece when harsh weather is forecast. See our guide to winter protection.
How to use less plastic
For plastic-free insulation, use straw and hessian, or glass cloches, instead of bubblewrap and fleece.
There are a few instances when you may choose to prune:
- Young plants may need some guiding and tying in until they’re able to twine and climb naturally. See our step-by-step guide to initial training and pruning.
- Maintenance pruning, if required, should be done in spring. It is rarely needed, but simply involves thinning out any congested, weak or damaged shoots. For more advice, see our guide to pruning established climbers.
- Overgrown plants can be hard pruned or renovated in spring. Cut back shoots by two-thirds, to a sideshoot or flowering spur. This should encourage new shoots to grow from the remaining branches and from the base. Some thinning of new shoots may be required.
You can make new star jasmine plants for free by:
layering in spring.
semi-ripe cuttings in summer and autumn. Cuttings root best in a heated propagator, with a bottom heat of 15–20°C (59–68°F).
It isn’t usually possible to grow star jasmine from collected seeds, as fruits (and seeds) are rarely produced in UK gardens. This is because our summers are shorter and cooler than in the plant’s native regions in Asia.
Star jasmine is usually trouble-free when grown in a warm, sheltered, well-drained spot.
However, when grown indoors it may be susceptible to common glasshouse pests such as:
Controlling pests without chemicals
Tips on avoiding pest problems
Extreme weather can also cause a few difficulties:
In cold snaps, the leaves may turn red, develop spots or even fall. The plant should recover, except in the severest winters. It's best to provide winter protection to keep plants safe.
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