How To Grow Star Jasmine (Trachelospermum (Rhyncospermum) Jasminoides)
Bring a touch of the Mediterranean to your garden with heavenly scent
Who hasn’t been to the Mediterranean and been bowled over by the delicious scent of the tiny starry white flowers of the Star Jasmine. This woody, evergreen climber is fairly easy to grow at home provided you have a nice sunny, sheltered south or west facing spot for it to reach its full potential. An ideal spot would be over an arbour or pergola where you can sit on a warm summer’s evening and enjoy the scent. It is native to Japan, Korea, Vietnam and southern China so is used to cold winters, provided it is not sat in cold, wet compost and feeling the brunt of the wind.
It can reach a height of 10m (30’) so make sure you have plenty of space for it to roam. Bees and butterflies are also attracted to its nectar-rich flowers so it would make a great addition to a wildlife garden. It has been awarded the RHS Award Garden Merit .
Sunny, sheltered south or west facing position. Needs well-draining, humus rich, fertile soil. They can be grown in a container in a cool conservatory as their leaves tend to scorch if they get too much direct midday sun.
Enrich the planting hole with some well-rotted farmyard manure or good quality peat-free compost and some balanced fertiliser, such as Growmore or blood, fish and bone. It will need something to scramble up so if growing up a wall or along a fence place some wires about 30cm (12”) apart or affix some trellis panels. Tie in the young growth then once it becomes established it won’t need tying in, it will attach itself to the support. If growing in a container choose one which is at least 45cm (18”) in depth and diameter. Place a piece of crock over the drainage hole to prevent it becoming blocked with silt. Fill with John Innes No 3 or good quality compost with some balanced fertiliser added.
Always keep well-watered, pay particular attention if growing in a container. Top dress with some balanced fertiliser in spring, water it in then add about 5cm (2”) of good quality compost. It doesn’t need pruning just cut any stems back if it gets too big for its support.
Pests and diseases
It is relatively pest and disease free but if planted in heavy clay soil it will suffer from root rot, so if you have this kind of soil it would be better to grow it in a container.
They can succumb to scale insect; the first signs could be a black sooty deposit on the leaves. This has to be washed off before you can treat the bugs, so either wash off with a mild soap solution or spray with a fungicide. Once the sooty fungus is under control spray the scale insects with a systemic insecticide. If you have a particularly bad infestation of sooty fungus it would be better to prune it out; either burn the prunings or else throw them into the grey refuse bin, don’t put them onto the compost heap.
If growing in a container it could suffer from the usual houseplant pests, such as red spider mite and mealy bugs. Keep a good airflow around it, don’t let it dry out and at the first signs of an infestation spray with a systemic insecticide.