Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Backyard Nature Wednesday: Carolina jessamine

Carolina jessamine (Gelsemium sempervirens) is a native evergreen vine. It is a part of the natural ecosystem from Texas east to Florida and as far north as Virginia. It is a robust grower that has no serious diseases or pests and yet it is relatively easy to control with pruning and pulling up "volunteers." 

The vine is sometimes mistakenly referred to as Carolina "jasmine," but jasmines actually belong to a completely different genus, Jasminum.

Carolina jessamine puts on a truly spectacular display at this time of year. The vines are covered in masses of fragrant yellow trumpet-shaped flowers.

This vine is on a trellis next to my patio, so when I sit outside these days, I'm able to enjoy its wonderful fragrance. 

From every angle, the vine is covered in its wonderful blossoms.

My vine is in full sun and that's where jessamine is happiest, but it will also grow in partial shade or even full shade. And though mine grows on a trellis, it can also be allowed to sprawl and used as a ground cover.

Carolina jessamine is a drought-tolerant plant. In this area, it almost never needs extra water, but in the drier areas west of here, it could benefit from occasional supplemental watering.

This vine can grow as high as 10 to 20 feet and as much as 4 to 8 feet wide. It will thrive as far north as zone 6 and will easily adapt to a wide variety of soils.

The blossoms are fairly long-lasting, but when they finally fall, you get a carpet of yellow.
  

10 comments:

  1. How beautiful! It doesn't look like winter at all in your yard.

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  2. beautiful, thank you for sharing.
    but, I am a sucker for jasmine

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    1. Jasmine is a wonderful plant in its own right.

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  3. I love Carolina jessamine almost as much as I love camillas. Right now, I am trying to grow one of the hardiest camillas, April Rose, in my zone 5b garden. When I retire, jessamine may be my next attempt at growing plants out of their zone. Allegedly, Wayside Gardens has a "hardy" jessamine but it is still rated only to zone 6.

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    1. Maybe if you could give it a location where it would have some protection (along a south-facing wall, maybe?) it could survive your winters. And, of course, there's always frost-cloth if you want to provide extra protection. It's a plant that's worth a little extra effort, I think.

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  4. Beautiful. My first husband and I had one that took up a fence on the side of our garden. I've tried to get one growing here at this house but not had any luck. Will have to pick another location and try again.

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    1. Don't give up. They really are very resilient and adaptable plants.

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  5. I love a scented flowering vine. I wonder if I could grow it here. I have some areas that are in full sun in the summer but almost full shade in fall, winter, and spring. The name Jessamine is one I have only heard naming a person, Jessamyn West, one of my favorite California authors.

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    1. I suspect it might grow well for you, Judy. You are not farther north than zone 6, are you?

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