Jasmine plants are a garden staple, from its scent and inflorescence to its use as a popular tea.
But did you know there’s another plant in the same family as milkweed and dogbane (Apocynaceae) that serves as a great substitute?
Trachelospermum asiaticum (tray-kee-low-SPER-mum ay-see-AT-ih-kum) is a native to Japan, and Korea, China, and India, with a scent surprisingly similar to true jasmine.
The plant is known by several common names, including:
- Asiatic jasmine
- Asiatic star jasmine
- Japanese star jasmine
- Small leaf Confederate jasmine
- Yellow star jasmine
As with true jasmine, Asiatic jasmine is a twining, broadleaf evergreen that serves as a perfect ground cover.
The fragrant flowers are far less pronounced than on jasmine, making the densely packed oval to lanceolate, glossy green leaves the main year-long show.
As the leaves age, they become a dark green providing even more of an attractive display.
Asiatic Jasmine Care
Size & Growth
A moderately fast grower, this twining climber generally reaches a mature height of 1’ to 2’ feet tall and a spread measuring 10’ to 12’ feet wide.
When Asiatic jasmine is allowed to climb, the vines have been known to achieve a height of up to 19’ feet with a much slower growth rate.
Flowering and Fragrance
During its July and August bloom time, an intermittent display of creamy-yellow, gold, yellow, or white flowers graces the emerald green foliage color of Asian jasmine.
While more sparse than on true jasmine, these small, 4 to 5 ray flowers are still attractive.
They bloom on short laterals along older wood.
The flowers of Asiatic jasmine have an aroma very similar to that of jasmine, further making this ground cover a great substitute for the real thing.
Light & Temperature
Asiatic Jasmine loves both full sun and partial shade.
In areas where the midday sun is especially harsh, you may need to provide some shade protection.
It grows best in USDA hardiness zones 8 to 10, but will survive as far as USDA zone 7a with indoor wintering or when grown as an annual.
Watering and Feeding
New plants need regular watering to help ensure healthy roots. However, once well-established, their water needs are more forgiving.
Adult Asiatic jasmine plants can survive short periods without water, making them a good choice for arid, near-desert regions such as the American Southwest as long as they have part shade in the hottest parts of the day.
Avoid overwatering, as this may lead to leaf spot. Thankfully, Asian star jasmine suffers less damage from this disease than similar species, but it may still contaminate nearby plants.
Soil & Transplanting
This hardy plant can grow in most well-drained soils, but prefers a humus-rich mix.
If propagated, year-old plants may be transplanted from pots to the garden in late spring to early summer.
When using as a ground cover, be sure to space the young plants 5’ feet apart so they have plenty of room to stretch.
Grooming And Maintenance
Trachelospermum Asiaticum is a low maintenance plant. It’s usually best to lay mulch throughout the area you want the plant to cover until it fills out.
Prune in early spring to encourage healthy growth or control the spread.
How To Propagate Yellow Star Jasmine
This plant may be propagated through either seed or cuttings.
Any seeds should be germinated in a greenhouse in early spring.
As seedlings become large enough to handle, transplant them into pots.
Allow the young plants to overwinter once indoors before planting in the garden.
When growing Asiatic jasmine from cuttings, use half-ripened limbs cut to 2.4” to 3.1” inches long with the heel. Be sure that any milky sap has dried before planting the heel.
Japanese Jasmine Pests or Diseases
The Asian jasmine is quite resistant to a lot of common problems.
It is known to be deer resistant.
It is partially drought and salt tolerant and has a higher cold tolerance than its cousin Confederate jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides).
Japanese beetles (AKA Asian lady beetles) are the primary pest associated with this plant, which is naturally resistant to many diseases.
Unlike true jasmine, both the leaves and roots of Asiatic jasmine are toxic.
Suggested Asiatic Jasmine Uses
The dark green leaves of Asiatic jasmine make an excellent ground cover for borders or along banks and slopes. Once established it is somewhat drought tolerant.
Its densely packed foliage makes it a great choice for both natural weed control and erosion control.
It adds a showy bit of privacy when allowed to climb an arbor, fence, or trellis.
As a creeper, Asian jasmine also works well in hanging baskets or tall planters where it can cascade down the sides.
Butterflies and songbirds are both attracted to this plant.
For the best experience, plant Asiatic jasmine in full sun near a commonly open window so your family can enjoy watching the wildlife as the pleasant jasmine scent wafts into the house.