Arabian jasmine (Jasminum sambac) is a popular landscape shrub with vining tendencies. It is prized for its very fragrant, white star-shaped flowers and is grown commercially in various tropical and semitropical climates for both perfume and tea. Known in Hawaii as pikake, Arabian jasmine comes in different varieties largely distinguished by flower type. An outdoor shrub in warm climates, it can be a part-time or full-time houseplant elsewhere. Arabian jasmine does well in rich or well-drained garden soil and good-quality potting soil.
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A member of the olive family, Arabian jasmine is a sturdy, vigorous, easy-care plant that can grow up to 10 feet tall and equally wide under optimal circumstances. Most shrubs reach 5 or 6 feet tall and 3 feet wide, growing moderately in spring and summer in full sun or part shade. Arabian jasmine blooms all summer wherever it grows, and almost constantly in warm climates. It grows well in dry to moderately moist soil and can adjust to drought conditions; cut back on water during its winter rest period. It won't tolerate waterlogged soils. Varieties may have single flowers -- grown in Hawaii for making leis -- semi-double flowers, roselike double flowers or carnation-like double flowers.
Uses for Arabian Jasmine
Grown in a large container or pot on a deck or patio or along a walkway, blooming Arabian jasmine can provide intense outdoor fragrance all summer long, and then be brought indoors as a houseplant. In any climate, it will grow well year-round indoors with adequate light. Wherever winters are frost-free, Arabian jasmine can be grown in the landscape as a well-pruned shrub or allowed to grow bushy and loose, sprawling like ground cover and exhibiting its vining habit.
Growing Arabian Jasmine
Arabian jasmine is hardy in USDA zones 9 through 11. It can be grown outdoors into Zone 8, where it will freeze back to the ground in winter but grow again the following spring from its roots. Arabian jasmine thrives in hot weather -- day and night -- that stimulates more and larger flowers, especially in full sun. Water deeply and well when irrigating but allow soil to dry somewhat between waterings. Prune Arabian jasmine in winter. Feed plants shortly thereafter with 10-10-10 or similar fertiliser then several more times during the growing season. Arabian jasmine is easily propagated from mature-wood cuttings.
Soil for Arabian Jasmine
According to the University of Hawaii Extension, Arabian jasmine will do particularly well in slightly acidic, well-drained rich loam or silty clay loam, and even sandy soils with regular irrigation. Good drainage is very important, because waterlogged or soggy soils are fatal to Arabian jasmine. A soil pH between 6.0 and 6.5 is ideal. Use very good-quality potting soil when growing Arabian jasmine in containers, and make sure pots drain well. Plants appreciate water but won't tolerate wet feet.
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