Versatile Confederate jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides) works well as a ground cover, as a screen for a fence or trellis, to cover a mailbox post or as a potted plant. It grows outdoors year-round in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 7b through 10, but can also do well as an annual or container-grown plant in colder regions if you bring it indoors for winter. Planting a Confederate jasmine is simple, provided you do this at the right time for your climate.
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Possible Planting Times
If you live in USDA zone 9 and above, where winters are warm and often frost-free, you can plant a Confederate jasmine vine at any time.
In USDA zone 7b or 8, where winter temperatures can fall as low as 10 or 20 degrees Fahrenheit, don't plant it in winter. Instead, set the plant in the ground in spring, once temperatures stay above about 40 degrees Fahrenheit. This gives the plant time to put out new roots and some top growth before summer heat arrives. You can also plant in summer, but if you do, keep the plant well-watered to promote good growth. Planting in fall can also be successful, provided it's done early, at least several weeks before your expected first frost, so the plant can put out new roots before cold weather arrives.
Confederate jasmine is also called star jasmine because of its white, fragrant, star-shaped flowers. A vigorous vine, it's evergreen in most of its range, but its leaves can turn bronze when temperatures drop in cooler areas. Its vines extend up to 20 feet, readily climbing into trees or onto a support. It also makes an attractive hanging plant in a container, with vines cascading from its pot.
Sun and Soil
If you plant a Confederate jasmine in the ground, choose a spot that gets full sun for best flowering. It can also grow well in partial shade, especially in areas with hot summers where some afternoon shade helps protect the plant from scorching.
This plant isn't fussy about soil, provided it's well-draining, but it prefers a loam rich in organic matter. You can improve your soil's organic content by mixing a 1-inch layer of compost into your planting area. If your soil contains clay and drains slowly, mix in a 1- to 2-inch layer of coarse sand at planting to improve its drainage. For a potted plant, use a standard commercial potting mixture and make sure the container has drainage holes.
Spacing between multiple plants depends to some degree on how and where you plant:
- To use Confederate jasmine as a ground cover, set plants about 6 feet apart, allowing them to spread as they grow.
- When supported, the vines can become quite long, so space them 8 to 10 feet apart on a fence for full coverage.
- If you want the vine to climb a tree, set one plant at the base of the tree. For a large tree, use two plants, one on either side of the trunk.
Depth and Watering
Plant the vine at a depth that keeps it at the same depth as it was in its nursery pot, back-filling with soil that you tamp down firmly. Water the plant well after planting to ensure no air remains around its roots.
A Confederate jasmine vine grows vigorously and becomes difficult to prune for size control when allowed to grow into a tree. Do not grow it on small trees near structures because the weight of a mature vine may topple the tree.
Some Extra Care
Confederate jasmine is a tough, easy-to-grow plant with few problems once it's established. It's helpful to give a newly planted vine extra water during its first few weeks. Water the plant whenever the top 1 inch of soil feels dry to the touch. Adding a 2- to 3-inch layer of organic mulch, such as shredded bark, over the roots also helps retain soil moisture, while keeping down weeds. Keep the mulch back several inches from the plant's stems to discourage disease problems.