The first hint of color after a long winter is a gardener’s delight. Spotting the bright yellow blooms of winter jasmine (Jasminum nudiflorum) is a promise that winter is waning and spring is indeed on its way. Winter jasmine, which flowers in late winter or early spring, can be grown either as a vine or a shrub. Its slender green stems provide winter interest and arch gracefully from a central crown. Laidback and low-maintenance, winter jasmine won’t put up a fight about the type of soil it’s planted in and it will tolerate some shade.
Common name: Winter jasmine
Botanical name: Jasminum nudiflorum
Plant type: Vine
Zones: 6 to 10
Height: 10 to 15 feet (3 to 4 feet if grown as a shrub)
• Sun: Full sun to part shade
• Soil: Well-drained, sandy loams
• Moisture: Medium
• Mulch: None needed.
• Pruning: Prune in early spring after flowering has finished.
• Fertilizer: None needed.
• By cuttings.
Pests and diseases
• No major insect or disease problems, although be aware of Japanese beetles.
• J. nudiflorum grows well where it will receive full winter sun; the south side of a building or south-facing wall is ideal.
• Winter jasmine can be trained as a vine on a support structure or left to sprawl.
• If J. nudiflorum is grown in a favorable spot, it can spread aggressively. Poor soils will contain it somewhat.
• Winter jasmine looks great when massed as ground cover for slopes, banks, and terraces; it is also striking if left to trail over a terrace.
All in the family
• The Oleaceae, or olive family, contains approximately 600 species of trees, shrubs, and vines.
• The fruit of plants in this family can be berries, drupes, capsules, or samaras.
• Several members of this family are familiar, such as the olive tree (Olea europaea), which is valued for its fruit and oil, as well as ash trees, lilacs, and forsythias.
Where to buy
• Brushwood Nursery, Athens, GA, 706-548-1710, www.gardenvines.com
• Forestfarm, Williams, OR, 541-846-7269, www.forestfarm.com
• Niche Gardens, Chapel Hill, NC, 919-967-0078, www.nichegardens.com
(Text by Elyse Lucas, photo courtesy of Missouri Botanical Garden’s Kemper Center for Home Gardening)