This time of year, one wall of my house is responsible for perfuming the entire neighborhood. My Confederate Jasmine is in bloom, and the scent permeates the air, especially on hot sunny afternoons and into the night.
What’s in a Name? Confederate Jasmine, sometimes called Star Jasmine, has a very confusing common name. First, it’s not a true jasmine, instead belonging to the same family as milkweed (break off a piece and you’ll see the sticky sap that leaks out, just like with milkweed). The botanical name is Trachelospermum jasminoides, with species name jasminoides referencing the incredible jasmine-like fragrance. Second, contrary to what we in the U.S. might think, Confederate Jasmine does not come from our own Southeast and the “Confederate” doesn’t refer to our own history. Confederate Jasmine comes from southeast Asia, and according to several sources around the internet, the common name actually refers to the Malay Confederacy.
Regardless of the origins of the name, Confederate Jasmine does indeed grow very well in the southeast. It’s hardy outside in zones 8 – 11, and the shiny green leaves are present year-round. It’s a strong climber, and though a little slow to start, can cover a trellis or fence in just a few years. If no structure is nearby for it to climb, Confederate Jasmine will sprawl along the ground, making great ground cover.
You can also grow Confederate Jasmine indoors in a pot. For most of the year, it prefers bright indirect light, but in winter, move it to a window for about 4 hours of sunlight. This will encourage it to bloom. Whether planted inside or out, it blooms for about a month or so in spring, with a very strong fragrance. Though most enjoy it, some may find it cloying, so I suggest sniffing out someone else’s Confederate Jasmine before deciding to plant your own. (It’s easy to propagate from cuttings, so you can share this plant with friends who admire it – or snag a cutting from a friend for yourself!)
Do you grow Confederate Jasmine? Share your tips with us below!