Winter Jasmine

Winter Jasmine
Winter jasmine is native to China. In the East, The plant does best in zones six through nine. It is suitable for all areas of the South with the exception being the tropical part. My Sunset Western Gardening book recommends it for Sunset zones 3-21, and notes that in the region it does best in cooler areas.

The plant can be grown as far north as Boston. Winter jasmine is a member of the olive family. This plant adds inter interest to the landscape even when it isn’t in bloom because the deep green twigs are very attractive.

With a fast growth rate, winter jasmine is usually around three to four feet in height with a spread of four to seven feet if pruned on a regular basis. If left unpruned, the stems can be up to fifteen feet in length.

The arching, spreading, trailing, or scrambling, slender deciduous plant is either a climbing shrub or a sub-shrub, depending on how much it is pruned and trained. The willowy, slender, angular twigs are almost four sided.

The deciduous, the opposite leaves are compound. They’re a glossy, deep green. Up to 1½ inch long, these are composed of three oval leaflets. The foliage is retained late into the Fall. There are several variegated cultivars, including Aureum with yellow coloring on the foliage.

Winter jasmine features red flower buds. The blossoms of this plant appear before the leaves emerge, which explains the Latin species name, which refers to its leafless nature at that stage. It blooms over an extended period for months. Flowering begins around the beginning of the year and can extend into March and April in the South.

Each day throughout the season, a small number of blossoms emerge. The solitary, vivid yellow flowers are up to two inches long and an inch wide. These arise in the leaf axils. They feature six wave-shaped lobes.

There appears to be disagreement as to whether Winter jasmine blossoms are scented or not. My Southern Living gardening book says no, while some other sources say yes.

Winter jasmine is a good pollinator plant as it produces both nectar and pollen. The pollen is yellow.

The plant can bear small black berries, but these are rarely seen in cultivation.

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