Lisa's Landscape & Design

Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time

Confederate Jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides)

I am a big fan of vines in the right space. They serve an excellent purpose in the landscape as there is a lot to be said for a vertical plant that can provide color and fragrance while hiding an unsightly fence, wall or view. However, you have to be very careful with the vines you choose as they can also be your enemy in the wrong place.

One of my favorite vines to use in landscape designs and in my own space is the Confederate Jasmine (also called Star Jasmine or trader’s compass). Though most people may think the name “Confederate” refers to the “South, or the Confederate States”, the truth is that is refers to the Malay Confederacy of Southeast Asia where this beautiful plant is a native.

Incredibly fragrant, evergreen and beautiful.

Incredibly fragrant, evergreen and beautiful.

The Confederate Jasmine is in fact not a true jasmine, it is a member of the milkweed family which is obvious if you break off a stem and the milky white substance drips from the cut. (Be careful with the milk because it will stain your clothes with a black mark if you are not cautious when trimming and some people are allergic to the milk.) The family name “jasminoides” refers to its jasmine-like fragrance and oh, how I wish you had smell-o-vision. This vine is so incredibly fragrant while in bloom that it is absolutely intoxicating. The aroma wafts through the entire yard and when the wind blows the fragrance carries though the neighborhood. With its stunning star-shaped white flowers and glossy green leaves, this is a very special vine in the landscape.

Confederate Jasmine has to be trained on a wire or fence. It makes an excellent vine because it is not invasive and does not attach itself to everything around it.

Confederate Jasmine has to be trained on a wire or fence. It makes an excellent vine because it is not invasive and does not attach itself to everything around it.

The Confederate Jasmine is hardy in zones 8-11, low water, evergreen, can tolerate sun to mostly shade and grows to about 10-15′. This vine is slow to get going, but after the first year or two it will take off and fill in quickly. Unlike Asian jasmine that will take over everything it comes in contact with, Confederate Jasmine also makes an excellent ground cover because it will stay on top of the ground and go where you encourage it to grow.

This video demonstrates how beautiful this vine truly is and I encourage you to find a special place in your landscape for this fabulously functional addition.

Lisa LaPaso

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“Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time”

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7 Comments

  1. This is my favorite vine also and the only vine I am growing! I have two beautiful variegated cultivars of it which also flower as heavily as the species.

    • Mine is in full bloom right now and the fragrance is so prevalent we can smell it in the front yard as well. Such a delightful plant in the landscape.

  2. I have both varieties of the jasmine;T. asiaticum and T. jasminoides. Both a trellised but both as big as each other. I never cut T asiaticum to the ground but I do the other, every 4 years. I adore their fragrance especially as one is planted by the front door.

    • I have never cut mine back but for a particular hard Winter when it suffered from burn. I adore the fragrance, but I particularly appreciate that it has to be trained and does not take over the area it is in. It makes it much easier to work with in the landscape.

    • Mine is so fragrant at night it is incredible!

  3. Erin

    I have a potted confederate jasmine vine that has been great for years, but is now dying with small white furry dots with a brown outline on the underside of the leaves? Any suggestions?

    • Hi Erin, wait for a spot sound like you might have a Mealy bug problem. I recommend some type of a safer soap or insecticidal soap for treatment both on top of and underneath the leaves. You can make your own insecticidal soap by using a gentle dish soap such as ivory. In a 1 gallon container of water add 2 tablespoons of dish soap and 2 tbs of Oil such as orange or even vegetable and shake. Apply the soapy water mix to the bugs and they will suffocate.
      You might also check for scale which Confederate Jasmine can also be prone to, and if it looks more like scale than it does Mealy bugs, you will need to purchase orange or horticultural oil and treated accordingly.

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