Closeup of Confederate jasmine flowers - if you could only smell their perfume as well! [Click here to download a large version.]
This beautiful and energetic evergreen vine creates a special scene all through the year as clambers 40 ft (12 m) up tree trunks using its holdfast roots to pull itself almost to the top. During April and May the plant goes two-tone as it flushes light green with new growth. Shortly thereafter the scene transforms again when the delicate 1 in (2.5 cm) white pinwheel flowers delicately breathe enchanting fragrances into the spring air.
Confederate jasmine grows as a neat tangle of slender wiry stems that exude white latex when cut. These are covered with thick glossy evergreen leaves that are 2 in (5 cm) long, oval shaped, and pointed at both ends. The stems will twine and clamber over supports and cling to walls and hard surfaces with great ease and abandon.
Variegated Confederate jasmine looks its best in spring with it colorful young foliage. Click to download a large version (800x600) of this image.
It should be noted that Confederate jasmine is not a "true" jasmine - these are members of the genus Jasminum (see downy jasmine (J. multiflorum ), pink jasmine (J. polyanthum ) and hardy jasmine (J. nudiflorum). The common name of Trachelospermum jasminoides honors the wonderful jasmine-like perfume produced by this vine. There is a variegated selection 'Variegatum' that has cream-splashed leaves and is a less vigorous grower than the species.
Despite the common name, Confederate jasmine is not native to the American south - it comes from China but has been a popular garden plant in Europe and the U.S. for centuries.
Not particular as to soil but prefers well drained situations with some organic matter. Light: Bright sun to part shade. Moisture: Average water. Can tolerate drought once established. Hardiness: USDA Zones 8 - 10. Look for cultivars that are hardy to Zone 7. Propagation: Use rooting hormone powder on cuttings. These root easily when taken in the spring.
Jack has Confederate jasmine climbing up and all over a grove of longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) trees that perfumes the entire neighborhood for several weeks each spring.
Use Confederate jasmine to cover fences and pergolas or to clamber up tree trunks. Use to soften concrete and brick walls and absorb heat in urban landscapes. Works well in containers and urns and the variegated variety is especially nice in hanging baskets. It makes a great indoor or greenhouse specimen. When grown indoors it will reward with fragrant blossoms if supplied with at least a few hours of sun in the winter. Confederate jasmine make a good groundcover for large areas where it will scramble all over itself and may be sheared to maintain a height of about 2 ft (0.6 m).
Pest-free, easy to maintain, drought resistant and heavenly fragrant, this is probably the south's favorite flowering vine. Confederate jasmine is highly recommended to new gardeners. It is easy to grow and satisfies with quick growth and a fabulous floral display. One of my favorite times of the year is when the confederate jasmine that climbs the pines in my front yard comes into bloom. On moonlit nights the warm spring breeze wafts exotic fragrances about that summon me outdoors to witness thousands of tiny white star-like blossoms glowing in the full moonlight. It's sooooo spiritual!
Do not grow Confederate jasmine on trees that are near structures. Any vine (wisteria, Virginia creepers, English ivy, etc.) can make trees top heavy and subject to falling in high winds. If you grow this or any vine on trees, monitor growth and trim stems if it becomes too massive.