Trachelospermum jasminoides

Star Jasmine is an evergreen climber from China, famed for its reliability, delicate foliage and deliciously fragrant little white flowers that appear in copious and prodigious quantities in June and last well into July – often beyond. I have one right by my front door that never gets any sun. As a result, the leaves are dark shiny green (though a little sparse) and it’s often still flowering in October. Grow it in full sun and the leaves might bleach a little but the foliage will be denser and it’ll flower much earlier.

We get ours from our friendly nursery in Tuscany – as does everyone else. The Italians produce billions of these and you’ll see them and smell them everywhere in Italy. When we first went out to visit our friendly nursery in Tuscany 30 years ago, we were concerned about the hardiness of this plant and still give it an amber label. Should we be concerned? Possibly not. We’ve had no really harsh winters for years but we’ve had some cold spells with -10°c recorded and no obvious damage sustained to these plants.

They twine themselves round anything of use – wires, bits of wood, each other etc. In Italy they have quite a nice tradition : one will often see a wall made of brick pillars with chain link suspended between each pillar. They plant two or three Trachelospermums against each panel of chain link and then – over the subsequent years – they clip with shears after flowering until you have a dense green panel between the pillars and the chain link disappears. It looks like a perfect hedge. The main picture on the website is one such. Trouble is that the computer sometimes crops the photos so all you can see is a bit of brick at the bottom.

They get little in the way of bugs – just a bit of aphid from time to time. Aphids drip a sticky excretion we call honeydew and honeydew is loved by sooty mould. If you see the lower leaves covered in black stuff (sooty mould) it means you had (sic) aphids earlier. Too late to worry about it. Just look out for black fly and green fly in early summer and use a bug gun to snuff them out. Young plants, cold plants and not very happy plants get a red tinge on their leaves. You might like the look of this but it’s not a sign of immense happiness. Either it will pass as winter turns to summer or it needs some food (MiracleGro?) or it’s in a bog. If it’s in a bog, move it. It’ll never thrive.

Propagated by cuttings. Any soil except very chalky. Can grow to 10ft x 10ft after about 10 years.

N.B. When clipping several plants with the same tool, have a bucket containing a 5% bleach solution and swish your blades around for 30 seconds between plants to sterilise them. This will help avoid the chance of cross contamination of disease.

As with all woody plants, plant high, exposing as much of the taper at the base of the trunk as possible. Allowing soil to accumulate round the base of a tree can be fatal. Keep very well watered when first planted.

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A plant lovers dream…
It is an absolutely wonderful treasure trove for any plant lover and we will be back (frequently!) The plants are all in superb condition, with an enormous variety to choose from. The staff are very professional and knowledgable, but also friendly and helpful.