917 Jasminum mesnyiCommon Names: primrose jasmine, Chinese jasmine Family: Oleaceae (olive Family)
Primrose jasmine is a rambling, open evergreen shrub with long, slender, arching stems that will climb like a sprawling vine if given support. Without support, it grows in a fountainlike mound 5-10 ft (1.5-3.1 m) in height and spread. The stems are square in cross section, and green, becoming woody with age. The glossy dark green leaves are opposite and divided into three leaflets, each 1-3 in (2.5-7.6 cm) long. The fragrant trumpet shaped flowers are borne in early spring and sporadically into summer. They are semidouble with 6-10 petals, almost 2 in (5.1 cm) across, and sweetly fragrant. Primrose jasmine is very similar to the closely related winter jasmine (J. nudiflorum), but is less cold hardy, has larger, fragrant flowers, and blooms a little later in the season.
Primrose jasmine, Jasminum mesnyi, is native to southwestern China.
CulturePrimrose jasmine is fast growing, easy to cultivate and tolerates any soils except those that are constantly wet. Light: Primrose jasmine does well in full sun to partial shade. Protect from full midday sun in the Deep South. Moisture: Regular garden watering. Hardiness: USDA Zones 8 - 10. An evergreen in mild climates, primrose jasmine can tolerate light frosts. However, it may die to the ground following a hard freeze, but usually comes back in spring if the winter wasn't too severe. Late spring freezes can kill new shoots and flower buds. Propagation: Primrose jasmine is easily propagated from semiripe tip cuttings. In fact, the branches often take root where they touch the ground.
Primrose jasmine makes a fine specimen shrub, growing in a fountainlike mound of glossy green foliage with bright yellow fragrant flowers in early spring and sporadically into the summer. Use it to trail over fences or walls. It is spectacular in masses and adds interest to mixed shrub hedges and screens. Use any of the mounding jasmines for erosion control on banks or slopes where their long trailing canelike stems will take root where they touch the ground.
Primrose jasmine blooms on the previous season's growth, so prune soon after flowering. Remove old, less productive canes to ground level, and head back flowering shoots to a strong bud or lower shoot. Shearing would destroy the natural beauty of this graceful shrub. If grown in a restricted space, primrose jasmine may require pruning several times a year.
Primrose jasmine is one of the best jasmines for the Deep South, especially on sandy soils. It can be disappointing in zone 8 when late spring freezes kill back the new growth. This jasmine is especially useful in the landscape because it is evergreen. See Floridata's downy jasmine (J. multiflorum) profile for a discussion of other species of jasmines and unrelated plants that are called "jasmine".
Steve Christman 3/13/01; updated 1/9/04