What is a Pink Jasmine?

wiseGEEK Writer

Pink jasmine (jasmine polyanthum) is a shrub that originates from Asia. It has the ability to climb and can cover walls or trellises, if planted in the appropriate region. It’s also known for its strong fragrance and for its midwinter blooming. In mild climates in the Northern Hemisphere, the shrub may begin to flower in January. The plant’s name is slightly deceptive, though, because the flowers are white. Prior to opening, the buds are a dark pink, and many gardeners enjoy the contrast of white star-shaped flower and pink buds on the plant.

Pink jasmine is known for its white flowers and strong fragrance.
Pink jasmine is known for its white flowers and strong fragrance.

As a climbing shrub, pink jasmine has many advantages. When well established in balanced soil, it can climb to 20 feet (6.10 m) in height. Since it is an evergreen, the green shiny leaves can lend attraction to the climbing plant, even when it is not blooming. It isn’t necessary to grow the shrub that tall — annual pruning can create smaller shrubs, trimmed to more manageable sizes. Some gardeners even pot their plants to keep the size smaller, or alternately the plant can be grown as a small shrub indoors.

It is necessary to consider the area when growing pink jasmine. It usually won’t tolerate areas with significant snow or winter frosts, unless it is an indoor plant. In the US, the recommendation for pink jasmine is that it be grown in zones 8-11, so it may not be the best fit in all regions. Sometimes the plants do well in other zones if gardeners keep them inside or in a greenhouse during the coldest months. It’s difficult employing this strategy to create impressive climbing plants, but it is certainly possible to have small outdoor shrubs in this manner.

Some other guidelines for growing pink jasmine include where to plant it. It tends not to tolerate full hot sun and thrives better under shade to mild sun conditions. Gardeners suggest that careful pruning is needed each year to ensure blooming. The shrub also requires plenty of water, especially in the hotter months.

Much is said about the fragrance of pink jasmine. Many people love it and they specifically plant the shrubs under windows or close to screen doors so they can smell it in the house. A critical minority does not care for this fragrance, or they like it but they find it is so strong that they only can tolerate it at a distance. It’s a good idea to spend some time smelling pink jasmine before planting it, as this may help amateur gardeners determine how they feel about the scent before they decide to live with it.

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