The sweetly-scented jasmine flower can fill a room or a garden with its heady scent. Though jasmine is a vine usually grown outdoors, some varieties can also be grown as houseplants. There is some confusion regarding jasmine and which variety is fragrant.
Types of jasmine
Common jasmine or Poet’s jasmine (Jasminum officinale), also called True Jasmine, is a deciduous vine with clusters of starry, pure-white flowers that bloom all summer. It’s a twining climber with rich green leaves that have five to nine leaflets, each up to 2½ inches long. The very fragrant flowers are up to 1 inch in diameter.
Hardy to zone 7, the vine grows vigorously and looks stunning climbing a large pergola, fence, or very large trellis. In the landscape, jasmine can also be pruned as a shrub near the house or near a walk so its intense fragrance can be enjoyed and so you can watch hummingbirds and butterflies come to the flowers.
Winter jasmine (Jasminum nudiflorum) is an “old-timey” shrub often found around Victorian homes. The beautiful yellow flowers are unscented, 1-inch wide, and they appear in winter or early spring before the leaves unfold. Winter jasmine is a good bank cover which will spread by rooting where the stems touch the soil. It is also very attractive when planted above retaining walls, with the branches cascading over the side. Hummingbirds love this vigorous vine!
Most other Jasminum species are semi-tropical vines, which are best planted in the spring after the danger of frost is past.
Not a true jasmine
Star jasmine or Confederate jasmine looks similar but is not a true jasmine. It is actually native to China and is known scientifically as Trachelospermum jasminoides. Hardy in USDA plant hardiness zones 7B through 10, the phlox-like flowers bloom on twining stems in spring and summer and are highly scented.