the attractive Confederate Jasmine vine
Mississippi Gardens Newspaper and Web Column - May 10, 2004
Vines are a versatile group of plants that add color, flare and function to Mississippi gardens. What would we do without vines to climb garden trellises, patio pergolas and chain link fences? Think of all those landscape structures (some not so pretty) that we are able to hide or enhance with one or two graceful vines. Vines are not only extraordinarily functional, but are also exceedingly attractive. Some flower profusely, others are pleasantly fragrant in bloom. The less floriferous types are beautifully evergreen.
One highly prized vine for Southern gardens is the Confederate or Star Jasmine. Confederate Jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides) is an attractive vine that puts it all together. It is ever (lustrous) green with star-shaped and highly fragrant flowers. The blooms are creamy white with slightly twisted petals. What more could we ask? It can be used to cover most any type of landscape structure as long as support is provided. It's also used effectively as a groundcover. Most recently, I found it being used to adorn breezeway posts at a medical facility. The covered posts were of painted metal and the jasmine vines were discreetly and cleverly supported from above. The jasmine warmed and welcomed guests to the cool brick and stone structure.
Confederate Jasmine is hardy in zone 8 where it thrives in moist, fertile, well-drained soil. Partial shade is a great location for best growth and flowering although it will grow in full sun or shade. It has an aggressive nature, but is not difficult to control. Each vine may grow to 20 feet in length or to a depth of 12 to 18 inches as a ground cover. Confederate will not make as thick a groundcover as its "cousin" Asiatic Jasmine (Trachelospermum asiaticum), but is sometimes added to an Asiatic Jasmine planting for fragrance.
Pruning is a practice that Confederate Jasmine benefits from and can be used to keep it in good shape. Since it blooms on last year's growth, wait until after flowering (April-May) to trim. Hedge shears may be used. Trimmings can be used to start new Confederate Jasmine plants. June and July are reported to be the best times for propagation, but it may root most any time of the year. When cut, Confederate Jasmine leaks a white, milky substance much like a poinsettia. This is one good way to assist in identifying this vine.
Cultivars of Confederate Jasmine may be found in the marketplace with names like 'Bruce Martin', 'Bronze Beauty', 'Madison', 'Silver Mist' (spotted and blotched white) and 'Yellow' (yellow flowers). There's always a place for a vine in any landscape. If not, we can make a suitable sight incredibly easy and what better choice is there for Mississippi gardens than Confederate Jasmine? Happy gardening!
These archived columns were written by Kerry Johnson<, a hobby gardener, former weekly newspaper columnist and retired Extension Horticulture Agent for 11 coastal counties in Mississippi.