Poet’s jasmine a welcome in winter

The Associated Press
Friday February 16, 2001

About this time of year, you might demand more of your houseplants than just being green. Perhaps you would like some flowers and aroma – from a jasmine plant, for example. 

Gardenia is a familiar houseplant that has been called jasmine, although it’s unrelated to the jasmine genus. It can be a troublesome houseplant because of its tendency to drop flower buds before they open and because the plant’s leaves turn yellow if soil conditions are not just right. Scale insects are also very fond of this plant. 

A few true jasmines grow as shrubs in warm climates, but they do not look very happy or very pretty in pots indoors in winter. And not all bloom in winter, when their fragrance would be so welcome. 

A true jasmine commonly sold for winter flowering is poet’s jasmine, sometimes called winter jasmine. Poet’s jasmine makes a nice hanging basket plant, becoming a ball of fragrant, white blooms dense enough to almost hide the delicate leaves.  

Jasmines like moist soils, so add an extra dose of peat moss to their potting mix. Part shade is sufficient in summer, and a sunny window is best in winter. Poet’s jasmine is a particularly vigorous grower in summer, so it needs its trailing vines tucked into each other or a trellis or clipped back periodically. Don’t cut anything after midsummer, or you also will be removing potential flower buds.