A trailing, woody vine with fragrant, white, star-shaped flowers, star jasmine, also called confederate jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides), will spread as a ground cover, climb a trellis or trail over a wall. It grows best in partial sun or partial shade and is hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 7b through 10. Although star jasmine can be planted anytime of year within its USDA zones, some seasons are better than others for establishing a new star jasmine.
Space star jasmine plants 3 to 5 feet apart along a fence or for ground cover. Once established, each vine can grow 20 feet tall with the right structure to climb.
Fall and Spring Planting
Fall is the best time to plant star jasmine in areas where fall and spring tend to be cool and rainy and winters have some frosts. If you miss the fall planting season, you can get star jasmine in the ground in spring before the plant's new growth appears. Planting in fall or early spring takes advantage of that time's cool, damp weather, giving the plant time to settle in its location before the heat of the growing season.
In mild Mediterranean type climates, where spring, summer and fall tend to be hot and winters are cool and rainy, plant star jasmine at the beginning of the rainy season.
Hot, dry weather isn't ideal for a new planting, but waiting until the ideal season isn't always possible. If you plant star jasmine during summer, or from spring through fall in a Mediterranean climate, then plant late in the evening or early in the morning, when the temperature is cooler than it is other parts of the day.
Getting star jasmine established successfully starts with proper planting practices.
Preparing the Planting Hole
Make the planting hole two to three times wider than the star jasmine's nursery pot. For example, a star jasmine in a 12-inch-diameter nursery pot needs a planting hole 24 to 36 inches in diameter. Make the hole the same depth as the nursery pot. Using that depth helps keep the base of the stem -- where the stem meets the root ball -- level with the surrounding soil after panting.
Planting and Positioning
Gently wiggle the star jasmine's root ball out of the nursery pot. Squeezing the pot or gently rolling it can help dislodge the roots. Handle the star jasmine gently by its root ball and the base of its stem, but don't tug or pull the plant. Unwind roots that grow around the root ball by gently untangling them. Cut off rotten and mushy root parts with a sharp knife that was disinfected with rubbing alcohol. After trimming the roots, disinfect the knife with rubbing alcohol again.
Backfilling the Hole
Set the root ball in the planting hole, spreading the roots outward. Line up the base of the stem with the ground level that surrounds the planting hole. If you made the hole too deep or too shallow for the stem's base to be level with the surrounding ground, then add or remove soil as needed. If you add soil, then use the same soil you just dug out when making the hole. When the planting depth is correct, push soil into the hole to cover the roots and to fill the rest of the hole. Raise the hole's soil level to the base of the stem and surrounding ground.
Using compost or other organic matter to amend the soil removed from a planting hole and used to refill the hole is not considered a good practice when planting new shrubs or trees, according to an Alabama Cooperative Extension System document titled "Landscape Myth Buster." Using the same, non-amended soil keeps the growing environment consistent. Amending the soil slows root development by discouraging the roots from growing beyond the amended soil.
It takes five to seven months for a newly planted shrub to get established in its location.
Watering after Planting
Immediately after planting a star jasmine, use 1 gallon of water to soak its soil. Then follow up with 1 gallon of water every eight days for the first year after planting in USDA zone 9a and lower zones. In USDA zone 9b and higher zones, supply 1 gallon of water every four days for the first year after planting.
Adjusting for Rain
Set a rain gauge near your newly planted star jasmine to measure natural precipitation. If your area gets more than 1/4 inch of precipitation every two weeks, you can skip manual watering of the star jasmine.
Mulching the Soil
Spread mulch 2 to 3 inches deep on the soil surface around the star jasmine after the plant's initial watering. Use compost, leaf mold, wood chips, bark, seasoned manure or a similar organic mulch. Extend the mulch layer to the edge of where the planting hole was located, and leave 1 to 2 inches of space between the base of the star jasmine and the mulch.
- University of Florida, Gardening Solutions: Watering to Establish Shrubs
- University of Florida Cooperative Extension Service: Trachelospermum Jasminoides
- The Seattle Times: HomeWork --Fall Is the Time to Plant Trees, Shrubs in Your Yard
- Garden.org: Spacing Plants
- Alabama Cooperative Extension System: Landscape Myth Buster