Jasmine (Jasminum officinale) is one of those plants that practically dictates where it should be planted. Because of its highly fragrant flowers it deserves a spot next to a frequently opened window or where folks like to congregate outdoors. Jasmine is a fast-growing shrub, or vining shrub, that quickly reaches a height of 10 to 15 feet. If grown as a vine, it requires a sturdy support, such as a trellis or arbor. It blooms from summer to fall with sweetly scented white flowers. Grow jasmine in zones 7 through 10 on the U.S. Department of Agriculture Plant Hardiness Zone Map.
Jasmine thrives in areas of the garden that are warm -- at least 18.3 degrees Celsius -- and receive full sun. A southern exposure is ideal. Avoid planting it in lower elevations as these can sometimes develop frost pockets that can harm the plant. Although it grows in most soil types, a 3-inch layer of compost incorporated into the soil at planting will help jasmine establish quicker and build a healthy root system.
Moisture and Fertilizer
Too much moisture at the jasmine's roots can cause the plant more harm than good. Allow the top 3 inches of soil to dry before watering and then saturate the soil to a depth of 6 inches. Keep an eye on the soil's moisture content in windy or hot weather as it has a tendency to dry out quicker then. Fertilise jasmine with 1 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of soil around the plant. Give the jasmine the first application in the spring of its first year and again three more times over the first season. Cut the rate back to one early spring application, at the same dilution, in subsequent years.
Although jasmines aren't bothered by many pests, whiteflies and spider mites are common. Whiteflies congregate in groups on the underside of foliage and will fly off in a cloud if you disturb or shake the plant. Spray jasmine with insecticidal soap to control the whiteflies; you may need to respray throughout the growing season. Spider mites are tiny and difficult to see with the naked eye but leave a telltale webbing on foliage. Use a miticide, registered for use on spider mites, according to package directions, or cut the plant to the ground after flowering and dispose of the infested portions. Jasmine's bottom foliage naturally turns yellow as it ages. A sudden yellowing of foliage could indicate a micronutrient deficiency, usually iron. Choose a fertiliser that specifies it contains micronutrients, or purchase a commercial nutrient spray and apply according to the label's instructions.
Jasmine has a tendency to grow lanky, with vining stems that protrude from the rest of the plant. The plant requires annual pruning to keep it the shape you desire and tame the unruly stems. The best time to prune jasmine is in the spring, just before it produces new growth. It tolerates heavy pruning so feel free to cut it back as hard as you need to. During the growing season, cut 1/2 inch off the tips of new shoots to encourage the jasmine to grow bushier.