Sunday, January 29, 2012

Winter Jasmine

It's January, and my little winter jasmine plants are blooming.  It's a welcome reminder that, despite the warm weather and other stirrings of spring, it is indeed still winter!

Winter jasmine, or Jasminum nudiflorum, can be found labeled as a vine or as a deciduous shrub; it's really kind of a rambling, sprawling sort of plant.  It is in its element spilling down a bank or over a wall.  It is often used as a ground cover for a slope - it tolerates poor soil as long as it's well drained and roots wherever the stems touch the ground.

Winter Jasmine starting to cascade over a rock wall in summer
Winter jasmine will grow to around 4 feet tall and up to 7 feet wide as a shrub.  If trained up a trellis like a vine, it can grow up to 15 feet tall.  It can be pruned quite hard if so desired right after it is done flowering.  It blooms on old wood, so don't wait to prune it - if you do you might be cutting off all those possible flower buds!

Winter jasmine pruned into more orderly bush shapes
I must say that I rather like the pruned look on this shrub.  It also can look really great cascading down a bank or over a wall; however, if not situated or pruned properly, winter jasmine can look like a hot mess.

A hot mess
Sometimes people mistake winter jasmine for the spring-blooming forsythia (perhaps in hope of a very early spring), but forsythia is usually bigger and more upright in habit.  Forsythia's blooms are usually a brighter yellow in color and they bloom all at once for an amazing, but short-lived display.  Winter jasmine spreads out its blooms over several weeks during the winter months, and the stems of winter jasmine are a nice green as opposed to the yellow-brown of forsythia stems.

Winter jasmine blooms on green stems
After it blooms, the plant will then leaf out.  Native to China and hardy in zones 6-9, winter jasmine can be planted in part shade, but it really blooms best in full sun.  Sadly, the flowers of this jasmine are not fragrant. 

Its best attributes are the beautiful yellow blooms that brighten up a dreary winter's day.


  1. I always like learning about new plants. I have a forsythia in my front yard, so I get to enjoy the spring blooms. We had a nice blue jasmine on the chimney, but last winter did it in, so we are looking for something to replace it. Thanks for the plant character sketch!

    1. Is blue jasmine the same thing as clematis crispa? It sounds lovely. That's too bad it died! (I'm assuming it climbed all the way up to the chimney?)

  2. That second pic is very pretty, but from the look of those shrubs, it won't stay that size for long!

    1. Oh no, they grow pretty quickly! They also spread and make new little plants pretty quickly, which is how I got my new little passalong winter jasmine plants :)

  3. I grew winter jasmine when I lived in SC and it filled in a spot in my naked yard really quickly. I don't think I've ever seen it here, though. You mentioned clematis crispa in an earlier comment. I have that growing in my garden. Very easy and pretty. You can buy it at Brushwood Nursery. They're very reliable.


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