Carolina jessamine (Gelsemium sempervirens) is a vigorous climbing semi-evergreen to evergreen vine with shiny dark green foliage. In late winter to early spring Carolina will put on a beautiful display of fragrant trumpet-shaped yellow flowers in the late winter and spring. The stems of the Carolina Jessamine can exceed 20 feet in length and will wind itself into almost anything it comes into contact with.
Carolina Jessamine is extremely easy to grow which is one of the main selling points for gardeners who purchase it. Since it is a vine, they are usually found sprawling across patios and entryways or up/over trellises and pergolas. If you would like you could even use it as a container plant or as a ground cover along banks to help alleviate erosion.
The Carolina Jessamine thrives under full sun but will also tolerate partial shade conditions without much of a fuss. It will flower in both, but the best and healthiest blooms will be produced when exposed to 6 – 8 hours of uninterrupted sunlight. In addition to the blooms, the foliage will also grow to become much dense when full sun exposure is provided.
Cold hardy from USDA zones 7 – 10 Jessamine is tolerant of temperatures ranging from approximately 64° – 90°. As the cooler weather approaches the yellow flowers will begin to bloom! If you live outside of the recommended zones of growth you should have no problems with container growing which will allow you to bring this vine indoors.
This vine is highly adaptable and will grow in a variety of conditions. Rich, well-drained soil that remains moist is ideal for growth, but it will also withstand drought like conditions once established.
As we have already established, the Jessamine enjoys rich and well-draining soil. Until it has become established water regularly. Once established they are quite drought tolerant, but still respond well to routine watering. If you would like to fertilize do so in the spring using either a slow-release general purpose fertilizer or 2 – 3 inches of compost, leaf mold or aged manure which are all ideal.
When to Prune Your Carolina Jessamine
If you allow your Jessamine to do as it pleases you will soon discover that it will grow wildly, and its foliage will begin to grow at the far reaches of the vines. After the flowers have faded cut back the tips of the vines as this will encourage fuller growth on the lower half of the stems.
In addition to pruning after flowering season you can cut back laterally growing vines that stray away from the climbing area and removed any that are dead or damaged. You are able to cut Carolina Jessamine down to a minimum of 3 feet without causing any harm or damage.