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Winter-Blooming Jasmine

The fragrance hits your nose as soon as you walk in the house.  Our Jasmine polyanthum is blooming and is covered with thousands of five petaled, star-shaped clear white blooms.  Each blossom is slightly fragrant, but when the whole plant is in bloom, the effect is tremendous.  An olfactory near-overload if you will.  It lasts several weeks before the plant drops the flowers and returns to its every-day green glory.  This jasmine, originally found in China, is very vigorous and would easily climb to 18’ tall if we let it.  It’s in a large pot with a small trellis buried deep inside the mass of green, and the viny foliage keeps wrapping around itself.  It gets trimmed every year, up until about the middle of August, asthat is when the blooms begin to form.  This year, I will cut it back severely to try to tame it a little bit and allow it to keep its place in the house.

It’s very easy to grow, needing only bright light and regular feeding.  It is not susceptible to pest or disease problems. Because of its vigor, it is an invasive species in milder climates. It has naturalized in Australia and New Zealand where it forms a dense ground cover, smothering seedlings of native plants. There is no worry of invasiveness here, as it is not winter hardy on Nantucket, only surviving weather in zones that have warmer winter temperatures than we do. 

All in all, it’s a great northern houseplant that packs a visual and fragrant punch for several weeks in the winter.