For warm region gardeners, the appearance of Carolina jessamine’s sunny yellow blossoms is a sure sign that spring is just around the corner. This native twining vine sends up many slender, wiry stems; if they don’t have a support to grow on, they’ll twine around each other and form a sprawling ground cover. Carolina jessamine has glossy evergreen foliage that nicely sets off the fragrant, funnel shaped flowers. The fruits are small capsules which tend to go unnoticed. Carolina jessamine makes a refined cloak for trellises, pergolas and fences, or let it go wild in naturalized areas.
Common name: Carolina jessamine, Carolina yellow jasmine, yellow jessamine
Botanical name: Gelsemium sempervirens
Plant type: Woody vine
Zones: 7 to 10
Height: 15 to 20 feet (with support)
• Sun: Full sun or partial shade
• Soil: Loamy soil with ample organic matter
• Moisture: Evenly moist but well-drained.
• Mulch: 1 to 2 inches of organic mulch like wood chips or pine needles
• Pruning: Cut back stems as needed to control growth.
• Fertilizer: Apply compost or balanced fertilizer in early spring.
Pests and diseases
• No major problems
• ‘Margarita’ is reported to be a bit hardier, to Zone 6.
• ‘Pride of Augusta’ has long-lasting double flowers.
• Let Carolina jessamine mingle with climbing roses trained on an arbor or trellis for multi-season color and fragrance.
• Carolina jessamine looks pretty when allowed to twine through a low-branching small tree (just cut back vines occasionally to keep them from taking over).
• All parts of Carolina jessamine are poisonous.
All in the family
• Carolina jessamine is usually listed as a member of the logania family (Loganiaceae), though recent taxonomic thinking puts it in a separate family (Gelsemiaceae).
Where to buy
• Brushwood Nursery; 706-389-0689; www.gardenvines.com
• Forestfarm; 541-846-7269; www.forestfarm.com
• Woodlanders, 803-648-7522; www.woodlanders.net