Winter Jasmine as a Pollinator Plant

Winter Jasmine as a Pollinator Plant
Native to China, this is recommended for zones six through nine. It is suitable
for all areas of the South with the exception being the tropical part.

The plant can be grown as far north as Boston. Winter jasmine is a member of the olive family. This plant adds Winter interest to the landscape even when it isn’t in bloom because the deep green twigs are very attractive.

With a fast growth rate, Winter jasmine is usually around three to four feet in height with a spread of four to seven feet if pruned on a regular basis. If left unpruned, the stems can be up to fifteen feet in length.

Depending on how it is trained or pruned, this slender, deciduous species can be a climbing shrub or a sub-shrub. The stems can be arching, spreading, trailing, or scrambling. The willowy, slender, angular twigs are almost four sided.

The deciduous, opposite leaves are compound. They’re a glossy, deep green. Up to 1½ inch long, these are composed of three oval leaflets. The foliage is retained late into the Fall. There are several variegated cultivars, including Aureum with yellow coloring on the foliage.

Winter jasmine features red flower buds. The blossoms appear before the leaves emerge, which explains the Latin species name. Flowering begins around the beginning of the year and can extend into March and April in the South.

Each day throughout the season, a small number of blossoms emerge. The solitary, vivid yellow flowers are up to two inches long and an inch wide. These arise in the leaf axils. They feature six wave-shaped lobes.

There appears to be disagreement as to whether Winter jasmine blossoms are scented or not. My Southern Living gardening book says they aren’t.

Winter jasmine is a good nectar and pollen plant. The pollen is yellow.

The plant can bear small black berries, but these are rarely seen in cultivation.

Normally with most pollinator plants I recommend related species that are suitable for pollinator gardens. However, in the case of Winter jasmine none of its relatives are listed as pollinator plants.

Growing Winter Jasmine

Winter jasmine is one of those plants that thrive in poor soils. It prefers well drained sites and adapts to dry soils. However, in order for the plant to bloom freely, it will need watering when rains are inadequate.

Although winter jasmine adapts to both full sun and shade, it is more free flowering when grown in sunny spots.

The plant transplants well and can be trained to a trellis, fence, wall, or other support. Winter jasmine is perfect for growing on banks, in raised beds, and as informal hedges. This also makes a good specimen plant.

Winter jasmine can be trained as a shrub by shortening the shoots and attaching the remaining stems to a support. The plant isn’t a true twining vine, so will need to be tied in place.

Prune in the Spring after the plant has quit flowering. If left unpruned, the plant can become untidy. Prune annually by removing some of the older shoots.

Generally, winter jasmine experiences few serious problems. The plant does tend to spread because the shoots can root wherever they touch the soil. If necessary, control the plant’s size by removing the unwanted stems.

This plant can be propagated from seeds, cuttings, and layering, Quackin Grass Nursery sells a variegated winter jasmine called Mystique.

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