With its distinctive star-shaped flowers and sweet, heady fragrance, jasmine is a striking addition to any garden.
Climbing jasmine vines such as Jasminum Officinale are vigorous ramblers and will happily clamber up a trellis. Growing up to a height of 9 metres, jasmine can provide a beautiful screen in the garden and cover walls, outbuildings and even arches with a blanket of glossy green leaves and fragrant white or yellow flowers.
As many types of jasmine are evergreen, it’s a popular and practical choice, providing year-round interest in the garden.
Types of trellis
When you think of trellis, you probably imagine a simple wooden lattice. Inexpensive and easily affixed to walls and fences, this type of trellis provides an effective frame for jasmine and other climbing plants to scramble up.
Trellis is available in wood, bamboo and wire, the latter providing a neat, long-lasting support solution. Pergolas enable you to create a tunnel or rooflike structure, allowing the plants to climb and intertwine overhead, while arbour trellises provide elegant, more complex support systems.
For a fun weekend project, you could even have a go at building your own trellis.
Training your jasmine against a trellis
Whilst you can just let jasmine grow rogue, it will eventually end up becoming an unkempt, tangled mess. Training jasmine against a trellis allows you to gain maximum visual impact and is most practical if you want to create a screen. Jasmine is hardy and will tolerate partial shade but is happiest in a sheltered, sunny spot, so be sure to choose a suitable location.
- Plant the jasmine a few inches away from the wall or fence, making sure it’s close to the bottom of the support. You’ll need to add some rich, organic matter to nourish the new plant. The planting hole doesn’t need to be especially deep. Jasmine will also grow happily in a pot if you wish to grow it on a patio, use plenty of organic compost and keep it well watered in warm weather.
- Use jute twine or soft strips of cloth to gently fix the jasmine to the trellis. Keep the fixing loose so it allows for growth and doesn’t cut into the stem. I fix stems to the trellis using the ‘figure of eight’ method, this way the plant can move freely with no damage to the stems. You can also carefully weave the stems through the trellis, jasmine stems are quite tough but take care to avoid leaf damage and breakage.
- As the plant grows, gently fasten the new shoots to the trellis, jasmine will happily intertwine as it grows and you can leave it to clamber and weave up the trellis, naturally finding its way in between the trellis holes and other vines.
An alternative to letting your jasmine make its own way across a trellis is to fix the main vine horizontally along the bottom of the support.
As shoots grow from the main stem, fix them vertically along the trellis using soft ties. This is an effective way to encourage jasmine to climb a pergola or provide impressive wall cover.
Pruning your jasmine
Early spring is a good time to trim your jasmine, tidying up any unruly shoots before more vigorous growth and flowering begins. Jasmine is an easy plant to care for and it’s very tolerant of pruning.
Start by unravelling any tangled vines from the support and trim them back as much as half their length, depending on how overgrown the vines have become. You may need to tie the remaining stems back onto the trellis or support. You can cut less overgrown vines back by up to a third.
The jasmine plant is native to Asia and is believed to have crossed the Red Sea into Africa and then Europe around 1000 BC.
Jasmine belongs to the same family of shrubs as olives, Oleaceae.
The scent of jasmine flowers has been used to fragrance Chinese green tea for centuries. Considered an aphrodisiac, it’s added to over 80% of women’s fragrances.
Jasmine is believed to have medicinal qualities and is used in Chinese medicine to treat headaches and reduce blood pressure.
Although known as a tropical plant, jasmine is extremely hardy and can survive sub-zero temperatures, great news for us northern hemisphere gardeners!
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