Few plants are as well-known for their intoxicating fragrance as jasmine. The small, numerous blossoms are often intense enough to fill a room and can be enjoyed from several yards away in a garden. There are many species and styles of jasmine available, most of which make a deliciously fragrant addition to the garden.
Vine or Shrub
The biggest difference between jasmine varieties is their growth habit. The most well-known types are vines, especially Jasminum polyanthum. This jasmine makes a great gift in late winter or early spring and can usually be found in florist shops and trained on a trellis. Even though jasmine is usually found as a small plant in full bloom, the plant can grow quite vigorously and be invasive in warmer tropical regions. Many vining jasmines can root wherever a stem piece touches the ground, which allows them to create dense mats of foliage.
Shrubby jasmines are less aggressive than vines but require more maintenance. Jasminum sambac is one of the main varieties. While this species of jasmine is generally marketed as a shrub, it can actually be trained as woody vine as well because of its loose, sprawling habit. Keep up with regular pruning on shrub types to prevent them from getting too gangly.
Jasmine Care Must-Knows
Despite vigorous growth habits, jasmine plants are easy to grow in a garden setting. Many of the vining types will happily climb a trellis or lattice in full sun or part shade. The best flowering occurs in full sun, with much sparser blooms in shade. To help maintain plant growth, prune plants after a heavy bloom cycle.
Shrubby varieties of jasmine will need regular pruning to keep plants maintained. Many shrubby types will run or vine if left unchecked. Pruning should be done after the major bloom cycle, but the plant can also be lightly pruned throughout the year.
The fragrance from jasmine blooms is one of the most sought-after scents for products like expensive perfumes and flavored teas. Jasminum sambac and grandiflorum are most commonly used in the fragrance industry. The flowers of these jasmines are generally picked early in the morning before the buds have fully opened, so they still have maximum fragrance. For tea, thousands of jasmine blossoms are layered between alternating layers of tea leaves at night (jasmine will have its peak scent at this time). After four hours, the tea will absorb the scent to flavor the tea. In some cases, this process is then repeated several times for a more intense flavor.
Related: Top Fragrant Houseplants
More Varieties of Jasmine
Jasminum nitidum is a great plant for cascading over the edge of a container. Angel wing jasmine has fragrant, pinwheel-shape flowers that are white with bold purple undersides. Zones 10-11
Jasminum mesnyi grows as a climber or a shrub. Primrose jasmine has unscented lemon yellow flowers in winter and spring and sporadically during other times of the year. Zones 8-10
Jasminum sambac is an evergreen vine with fragrant white flowers throughout the year, though they appear heaviest in summer. This is one of the best jasmines to grow indoors. Zones 10-11
Jasminum nudiflorum is the hardiest jasmine. It's a shrub with yellow flowers in late winter and early spring. Unlike most jasmines, it is not fragrant. Useful as a hedge, it grows 10 feet tall and wide. Zones 6-9