Many jasmine plants are not true jasmine plants. Instead, they are named jasmine, because they look similar, or produce similarly shaped, fragrant flowers. One such plant is Asiatic Jasmine (Trachelospermim Asiacticum). However, don’t let the fact that this is not a true jasmine plant put you off.
Asiatic Jasmine is an attractive, sprawling vine that provides masses of colorful ground cover to sunny and shady spots. Easy to care for, if you want to learn more about these plants, including how to add them to your garden, this guide to Asiatic Jasmine will take you through everything that you need to know.
What is Asiatic Jasmine?
Producing dark, glossy green leaves on red-brown stems, Asiatic Jasmine is an attractive choice for introducing groundcover to the garden. It is a particularly good choice for introducing ground cover to shaded areas. However, this plant doesn’t bear a lot of walking on.
Its spreading nature makes it a good choice for planting in bare spots under trees or shrubs. You can also grow it in pots or allow it to cascade down retaining walls. However you choose to use it, be prepared to prune your sprawling plant regularly. A quick-growing specimen, without regular pruning, T. Asiacticum can become invasive.
During the spring, small five-petaled delicate flowers form. In warm conditions, the plants are unlikely to flower. In areas where the plants flower, their sweet fragrance can fill the spring air.
Flowers form in favorable conditions.
Native to Korea and Japan, T. Asiacticum is an almost ubiquitous ground cover plant in the south of America. However, it is not a true jasmine plant. Its name refers to the fragrant spring flowers that the plant produces.
Asiatic Jasmine is a fast-growing evergreen vine. A good groundcover choice in both full sun and shady areas, it is tolerant of both heat and cold.
- Asiacticum is also known as Asian, Dwarf or, in Florida, Minima Jasmine.
Asiatic or Confederate Jasmine?
When small, T. Asiaticum is often confused with T. Jasminoides, also known as Star or Confederate Jasmine. As the plants grow, the differences become clear. T. Jasminoides is a larger plant; it produces larger leaves and fragrant flowers. A climbing vine, T. Jasminoides has an upright growth habit.
In contrast, T. Asiaticum is a low-growing, groundcover plant. The foliage is the main attraction of T. Asiaticum; its flowers are of secondary interest.
Finally, T. Jasminoides flowers in a wider range of conditions than T. Asiaticum.
Asiaticum is often confused with T. Jasminoides.
Different Varieties of T. Asiacticum
Most T. Asiaticum plants that you come across are the generic, open-pollinated naturalized type. However, there are some interesting cultivars presently available. Here are some of the most interesting:
- Snow-’N’-Summer or T. Asiaticum HOSNS produces young pink leaves that turn white and green as they mature. During the spring, small, creamy yellow tubular flowers emerge. A compact cultivar, Snow-’N’-Summer archives a maximum spread of 3 ft and grows to a height of just 18 inches. Snow-’N’-Summer is a trademarked cultivar. This means that you are not allowed to propagate the plant without permission.
- Kiifu Chirimen is a Japanese dwarf type that produces variegated small copper-bronze leaves. These mature to an attractive silver-pewter green color.
- Gold Brocade or Ojon Nishiki, is another Japanese cultivar that produces variegated foliage in eye-catching shades of red and orange. As the foliage matures it changes color, eventually becoming golden or deep green. In the summer months, fragrant white flowers emerge.
- Minima is a woody, sturdy variety; it is a good choice for a dense mat of ground cover. Minima also prevents weeds from emerging. A good alternative to turfgrass, mow once a year to prevent it from outgrowing its position. Rarely flowering, like other varieties, Minima is drought tolerant.
- Summer Sunset may not flower, but its foliage more than makes up for this. A good choice for eye-catching ground cover, Summer Sunset leaves form in shades of red, yellow, orange and white. Summer Sunset is a good choice for container gardens, achieving a height of just 6 to 12 inches and spreading around 3 ft.
- Variegatum produces attractive twining vines that are covered with gray-green variegated leaves. During the summer months ivory colored flowers form. These are both fragrant and long-lasting.
Many garden centers sell the common type of T. Asiacticum. If you want a specific cultivar, you may need to visit a more specialized plant nursery or purchase online.
Where Can I Grow Asiatic Jasmine?
A versatile plant, T. Asiacticum tolerates most soil types, as long as it drains well. A pH of 5.5 to 7.0 is ideal.
- Asiacticum tends to grow more quickly in soils with a high percentage of organic content. To help your plants settle and start growing quickly, work compost into the soil before planting.
Tolerant of salt, this attractive specimen is also a good coastal flower choice.
Asiatic Jasmine grows in full sun. It also thrives in partial sun and shade positions. If you are planting in a garden with a southern or western exposure that basks in the hot midday and afternoon sun, T. Asiacticum is best planted in partial shade.
Thriving in humid conditions, T. Asiacticum struggles when exposed to extreme heat. It is not a good choice if you are growing in a dry, desert heat.
Hardy in USDA Zones 7b to 10, in these areas the plants can remain green even after a hard freeze. This makes it a good turfgrass or lawn alternative.
Producing a mat of dense foliage, this is a good ground cover plant.
How to Plant Asiatic Jasmine
If you are planting Asiatic Jasmine cuttings or small plants purchased from a garden store, harden off the plants before transplanting them into their final growing position.
In hot areas, Asiatic Jasmine is best planted in the fall. In cooler areas, plant in the spring.
When you are ready to plant, make a hole in the soil slightly larger than the container holding the plant. If the pot is plastic, remove the plant and place it in the hole. Plants in biodegradable YESIACE Peat Pots can be planted still in their pots. As the plant grows, the pot breaks down, enabling the roots to spread.
Backfill the hole and water well. Continue to water the plants every 3 to 4 days for the first month. This can then be reduced to once a week for a few months. Regularly watering encourages a strong root system to form and helps your plant to settle into its new position.
If you are planting lots of plants, space 8 to 10 inches apart. This quickly creates a dense mat of ground cover. If you don’t have that many plants or are happy to wait a little longer, space your Asiatic Jasmine plants 18 inches apart.
Transplanting Large Sections
If you or someone you know already has an established T. Asiacticum plant, you can ‘borrow’ a section and transplant it into your garden.
Use a sharp shovel to cut a 1 ft square section of the plant. Aim to lift at least 3 inches of root with the plant. If you are borrowing more than one section, make cuttings from different parts of the plant. The remaining vines quickly fill in the gaps.
Loosen the soil of your planting site to help settle the squares. Place the borrowed squares on the prepared soil and water well. Continue to water the borrowed sections regularly until the roots have anchored themselves into the soil and new growth is visible.
Can I Grow Asiatic Jasmine in a Pot?
While this is a spreading vine, you can grow T. Asiacticum in a pot or hanging basket. Many of the newly developed cultivars are more compact than the naturalized, open-pollinated variety of Asiatic Jasmine. These are better suited to growing in a pot.
Your chosen pot should be at least 14 inches wide and have lots of drainage holes in the bottom. If you are planting in a hanging basket, don’t use one lined with coir. Asiatic Jasmine likes moist soil; coir dries out quickly, meaning that you have to water the plant more frequently.
Fill the pot or basket with potting soil and water until excess moisture starts to trickle out of the drainage holes. Make a hole in the center of the pot and plant.
- Asiacticum is a quick-growing plant. This means that it quickly fills pots and hanging baskets. Check your plants every spring for signs that they are outgrowing their home. One of the most obvious signs is roots emerging from drainage holes in the bottom of the pot.
Repot plants growing in pots regularly.
You can either repot the plant into a larger container or, after lifting, use a sharp knife to divide it into smaller sections and plant them in pots of a similar size.
After repotting, water well.
How to Propagate Asiatic Jasmine
Propagation is a great way to quickly develop new plants. T. Asiacticum is easy to propagate from cuttings.
Use a sharp knife or garden scissors to take a cutting from the top of a vine shoot. The cutting should come from a healthy vine and be around 5 to 6 inches long. Make your incision just below a leaf.
Prepare your cutting by removing the leaves from the bottom half of the stem and dipping it in Hormex Rooting Powder.
Plant your prepared cutting in a 4-inch pot filled with damp sand. I like to plant my cuttings in Homenote 4-inch Peat Pots. These are biodegradable, meaning that the cuttings can be planted, still in the pots, directly into the ground. As the plants grow, the pots break down.
Place the cutting in a LeJoy Garden Propagator or a plastic bag. This helps to maintain humidity levels around the cutting.
The pots are best placed on a windowsill that enjoys lots of indirect light. In warmer areas, you can also place the cuttings outside in a spot that is largely shaded.
Water your cutting every day.
After around a month, roots should be forming. To check this, gently tug the cutting. If you feel resistance, it is a sign that roots are present. Once the cutting starts to produce new growth, it can be removed from the propagator.
You can also root the cuttings in a jar of water. Make sure that the leaves that remain on the cutting do not contact the water.
Place the jar on a light windowsill and change the water every day. Roots should form within a month.
Once roots form, transplant the cutting into a pot filled with moist potting soil.
Cuttings are usually ready to transplant around four weeks after roots have formed.
Propagation by Layering
As the vines grow, you may notice small clumps of roots forming on the stem, usually below a leaf node. These tend to form when the vine contacts something that may be a source of nutrients, such as a tree trunk or soil.
Vines that are forming small root systems can be cut from the larger plant and planted on. Water regularly and they soon start to grow and develop into a larger Asiatic Jasmine plant.
You can encourage roots to form on a vine by burying a section of the vine in the ground.
Caring for Asiatic Jasmine
Once settled in a favorable position, these are hardy vines that require little care or attention.
These are low-maintenance plants.
When to Water
For the first month after planting, water every 3 to 4 days. Consistent watering helps a strong root system to develop. After the first month, watering can be reduced to once a week for a few months.
Established vines are largely drought-tolerant and rarely require watering. During dry or hot spells, plants, especially those in full sun, may start to wilt. They quickly recover after a drink of water.
Asiatic Jasmine plants growing in pots require watering every day in full sun or every few days in shadier spots. Aim to keep the soil damp. A soil moisture sensor can help you to work out how often you need to water plants.
If you are growing Asiatic Jasmine for its flowers, water the plants regularly. Exposure to dry conditions can reduce the amount of flowers a plant produces.
A rainwater collection system enables you to harvest and store rainwater to use in your garden. As well as keeping your plants healthy and hydrated, this also reduces the amount of water that you use.
Do I Need to Fertilize?
Asiatic Jasmine is a tough little plant that doesn’t require additional fertilizer to thrive. However, if you want to give your plants a boost, apply a dose of balanced 10-10-10 fertilizer in early spring, at the start of the active growing season. Liquid fertilizers are easily incorporated into watering routines.
When to Prune Your Plants
Pruning is the only real regular maintenance that Asiatic Jasmine plants require. These are quick-growing plants; without a regular trim, they can easily outgrow their position and start to spread throughout your garden.
Pruning regularly also encourages more branches to develop and foliage to become denser.
Use sharp garden pruners or a strimmer to keep your plant in check.
Large areas of Asiatic Jasmine, or if you are growing the plant instead of turf, can be kept in check with a lawnmower. Set your lawnmower to its maximum setting, 3 to 4 inches, and mow once a year.
If you are growing Asiatic Jasmine for its flowers, wait until it has finished flowering for the year before pruning. This prevents the accidental removal of flower buds. Instead, in the spring, cut away any dead or diseased branches.
How to Overwinter
In USDA Zones cooler than 7b, Asiatic Jasmine is best grown in pots. This means that you can easily move the plants inside for the colder winter months.
Place the plants in as bright a light as possible. A south-facing window is ideal. If the foliage starts to fade, it could be a sign that the plant needs more light. You can use grow lights to supplement natural light levels.
As well as light, to successfully overwinter Asiatic Jasmine indoors, you also need to provide lots of humidity. Bathrooms, laundry rooms and kitchen are all naturally humid areas.
You can also raise humidity levels by placing the plants on a Bonsai Humidity Tray. Here the pot sits on a tray filled with water and pebbles. As the water evaporates, it raises humidity levels around the plant. Just remember to regularly top up the water levels.
During the night, the plants require cooler temperatures.
Start preparing your plant for overwintering in the fall, before the first frost forms. Start by bringing your plant inside for a couple of hours every day. If you struggle to move pots, place them on a Heavy Duty Metal Plant Caddy with Wheels. This enables you to easily move larger pots around your home and garden.
When temperatures drop below freezing, keep the Asiatic Jasmine inside.
You can return your plant to its usual outside position in the fall, when all danger of frost has passed. Again, gradually return your plant to its usual growing position, slowly increasing the amount of time it spends outside each day.
Asiatic Jasmine Pests and Diseases
One of the main attractions of this hardy little plant is that it is largely problem free. Most small pests and critters leave it alone. Deer also dislike the plants.
This plant is rarely troubled by pests or disease.
Asiatic Jasmine is also prone to very few diseases. Leaf spot, caused by the Cercospora fungus, causes light brown or tan spots with red-purple edges to develop on the foliage. Rarely a serious problem, affected leaves can be cut away and disposed of.
Remember to sterilize your tools after use to prevent the accidental spread of disease around the garden. More severe infections can be treated with a fungicide.
Sooty mold developing on the foliage is usually a sign that scale or whiteflies have been feeding on your leaves. Sooty mold is a product of honeydew, a sticky substance excreted by sap-sucking insects. Treat the infestation by applying a horticultural oil to the leaves. Neem oil can also be used.
Easy to care for, Asiatic Jasmine is an attractive, low-maintenance addition to the garden. Why not plant some today?
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.