A sweet perfume permeates the air when a common white jasmine (Jasminum officinale) blooms during the warm months of the year. The dark green leaves, each comprising five to nine leaflets, create an attractive foil and background to the starry, 1-inch-wide blossoms. Depending on climate, white jasmine is semi-evergreen or fully deciduous in winter. Grow it as a houseplant or outdoor vine where winters get no colder than -9.44 degrees Celsius. At maturity, it reaches 30 to 40 feet tall.
Common white jasmine blooms most heavily in summer, and lingers into early fall. The flower buds arise on maturing growth tissues that sprouted from late winter and spring. Therefore, do not prune the common white jasmine vine in winter, spring or early summer as you are removing the stems that yield the upcoming blossoms. Trim stems to tidy the plant after the flowers occur and wane. Flowering continues across the summer as long as soil is moist and fertile, although a brief hiatus may occur in very hot weather, with blooming resuming in early fall with more comfortable temperatures and lower humidity.
Native in warm temperate to subtropical parts of central Asia, the common white jasmine can bloom at different times based on when summer-like temperatures occur. In highland parts of Hawaii, Puerto Rico or in southernmost Florida, the months of April and May are comparable in temperature to what June is like farther north. In these warm regions, blooming can technically begin in mid- or late spring if winters are mild, the jasmine vine never experiences freezes and growth begins by mid- to late winter.
Locate a common white jasmine where it receives a cool, dry winter regime. Light frosts are fine, and ensures the plant is dormant. Avoid planting this species in greenhouses or outdoor gardens that are humid and warm year round like the equatorial tropics. Increase watering and provide a monthly fertiliser to the soil only from spring to fall. Keep the soil drier and do not fertilise from fall to spring. Use a low-nitrogen fertiliser formula to encourage flowers and diminish overgrowth of leafy branches.
Common white jasmine needs lots of sunlight to ensure production of flowers. Too much shade or low, indirect light far from a window inhibits flowering. Outdoors, plant white jasmine in full sun or partial shade. Ideally, the shade should occur during the hottest part of the afternoon, with direct sun being received all morning and again in the late afternoon or early evening. Indoors, place the jasmine container in as much direct sun as possible, or in very bright diffused light.
- "A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants"; Christopher Brickell and H. Marc Cathey, eds.; 2004
- "Sunset Western Garden Book"; Kathleen Norris Brenzel, editor; 2007