The other jas­mine

Gardening Australia - - PLANTS IN FOCUS -

The most widely known of the jas­mine-like climbers is star jas­mine (Trach­e­losper­mum jas­mi­noides). In mid-spring this ev­er­green and vig­or­ous climber has a show-stop­ping dis­play of heav­ily per­fumed flow­ers. Even af­ter the main show has fin­ished, star jas­mine keeps pro­duc­ing spo­radic flow­ers to scent the sum­mer air. As it blooms so pro­fusely in mid-spring, it can be over­whelm­ing for any­one who doesn’t like its heavy scent.

Although vig­or­ous, it is much eas­ier to train than its name­sake J. polyan­thum, and it can be clipped, shaped or even used as a ground­cover. It climbs by twin­ing.

Star jas­mine comes from parts of Asia, and grows best in a tem­per­ate to sub­trop­i­cal cli­mate in sun or shade (with fewer flow­ers in the shade). It is to­tally un­fussy about soil and can be grown in a con­tainer.

Once es­tab­lished it is drought hardy, but it grows bet­ter with a reg­u­lar soak in dry times. All it re­ally needs is reg­u­lar prun­ing and train­ing. Feed with a com­plete fer­tiliser in spring.

As soon as you cut a piece of star jas­mine, you re­alise it isn’t a true jas­mine, as the cut stem oozes a sticky white sap, flag­ging it as a mem­ber of the Apocy­naceae fam­ily. Per­haps due to the sap, it’s rarely trou­bled by in­sects other than scale, a pest that is usu­ally only seen if this climber is too dry or too shaded.

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