Winter jasmine: flowering time, care & propagation
In the cold and dreary winter months, a little splash of colour in your garden can work wonders. The winter flowering jasmine, which blooms a beautiful glowing yellow, is a delight for gardeners and garden creatures alike.
The low-maintenance climbing winter jasmine can be planted as a bedding plant or as a potted plant to create a real focal point in your garden during the winter months – especially when its bright yellow flowers contrast stunningly against white snow.
Winter jasmine: origin, characteristics and flowering time
Winter jasmine (Jasminum nudiflorum) originates from provinces in north-west China, where it climbs and hangs on rocky slopes. It was first brought to Europe in the 19th century. As a jasmine plant, it belongs to the olive family (Oleaceae).
Jasminum nudiflorum is a climber that can grow up to 3 metres high. However, it does not cling to surfaces, so it needs a trellis and a helping hand to guide it upwards.
As a deciduous plant, winter jasmine sheds its leaves in autumn. It produces vibrant yellow flowers that appear before Christmas if temperatures are mild enough and often last until March or even April. As one of the early bloomers of the growing season, winter flowering yellow jasmine is a valuable early food source for bees and other insects while other plants are still dormant. Although it does not have a scent – quite unlike other jasmine plants – the winter jasmine shrub attracts lots of insects with its bright yellow flowers.
There are no white or pink winter jasmine varieties. Even though they still belong to the genus Jasminum, pink or white flowering plants are a different species of jasmine. The white flowering common jasmine (Jasminum officinale) is often equated with the winter jasmine and sold under this name. One pink flowering variety is Jasminum beesianum.
Planting winter jasmine in pots or containers and in flower beds
The plant grows best in sunny or partially shady places with protection from the weather to avoid frost damage to the flowers or shoots during the cooler months. However, even if the tips of the shoots do freeze, they will normally sprout again. Winter jasmine also looks great hanging from walls or growing up trees or trellises.
You can also plant winter jasmine in pots and place them on your balcony or terrace, but here too it prefers sunny and sheltered locations. Plant your winter jasmine in a pot with a volume of at least 10 litres and, as the plant grows, increase the size of the pot too by repotting every so often. To protect your plant from frost damage, insulate the pot by wrapping it with a jute sack or mats. To allow excess water to drain off easily, make sure the pot has drainage holes and add a drainage layer of structural material such as pebbles, clay shards or expanded clay to the bottom of the pot.
Winter jasmine plants are not too fussy when it comes to soil. However, it prefers chalky, nutrient-rich and humus-rich soil that is loose, slightly moist and anywhere from alkaline to slightly acidic. When planting winter jasmine in pots, use a loose, nutrient-rich soil with a suitable pH value, such as our Plantura Organic Flower Compost. This potting soil releases essential nutrients slowly over a long period of time which prevents over-fertilisation and, thanks to its high potassium content, also ensures good frost-hardiness and stable shoots. To help prevent soil from sinking too much, though this inevitably occurs with any soil after a while, mix in about 30% of soil aggregates such as expanded clay, lava rock or pumice. When planting outdoors, potting soil or mature compost can help the plant grow and thrive.
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Ideally, plant your winter jasmine in spring with enough space for it to develop a good root system. If you want a tall growing winter jasmine, you will have to attach it to a climbing support.
Winter jasmine care
Most of the time, winter jasmine grows well by itself. However, if you want to enjoy a well-maintained and long-lasting plant, there are a few simple tips that can be implemented with little effort.
Fertilising and watering winter jasmine
To keep your winter jasmine happy and healthy, give the plant some compost or potassium-based fertiliser in spring. Potassium increases frost hardiness, stability and pest resistance. Unfortunately, not all plant-based fertilisers contain sufficient potassium, unlike Plantura Flower Food, which meets winter jasmine’s nutrient needs while being 100% animal-free. Especially for winter jasmine in pots, it is a good idea to supplement the soil with fertiliser, as the nutrient supply in pots is limited.
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Generally speaking, it is not necessary to water mature, well-established plants. On the other hand, it is important to water young plants in their first year until they have developed a strong root system. Due to its robust nature, winter jasmine is also well equipped to withstand drought and heat. Nevertheless, it will be happy in a location where the ground is evenly moist.
How and when to prune
It is best to prune winter jasmine after it has finished flowering, as only young shoots will bear new flowers the following year and there would otherwise be an excess of old wood. If you do not wish the plant to spread uncontrollably in your garden, cut off long shoots that are hanging down to the ground as they could form new roots. Pruning back winter jasmine is essential to encourage lush flowering and maintain a desired shape.
Thanks to its vigorous growth, winter jasmine is easy to propagate from cuttings or a propagation technique known as layering. For propagation by layering, lower a shoot from the plant into the ground to allow it to grow new roots while still attached to the parent plant.
For cuttings, cut off a young shoot about 20cm long in spring that has not yet flowered. Remove all leaves, leaving only those at the tip. Plant the cutting deep in a low-nutrient, loose soil such as our Plantura Organic Herb & Seedling Compost. Overwinter these cuttings in a frost-free but cool place and move to a sufficiently moist location in May after it has taken root.
Tip: For better root development, trim the cutting at the bottom before planting in soil.
For ground layering, separate the shoot from the parent plant once it has developed a good root system. To do this, simply cut the new plant and dig its roots out of the soil using a spade. Then replant it in a new location.
Is winter jasmine poisonous?
Unlike the similar looking forsythia, Jasminum nudiflorum is not poisonous. It can therefore be safely planted in a garden with children or pets. However, many other false jasmines are extremely poisonous and are often confused with true jasmine plants. Therefore, it is always worth taking a close look at the botanical names of the plants when buying.
Want to know more about other climbing plants that are beneficial for insects? Then why not check out our article on insect-friendly climbing plants you can plant in your garden.