657 Jasminum nudiflorumCommon Names: winter jasmine, hardy jasmine Family: Oleaceae (olive Family)
Winter jasmine is a rambling, diffuse shrub with slender, arching stems and four-angled green branchlets that bear opposite compound leaves with three leaflets. The glossy dark green leaflets are oblong and about 1 in (2.5 cm) in length. Bright yellow, unscented, funnel shaped flowers about 1 in (2.5 cm) wide are produced in late winter and early spring before the leaves appear. Winter jasmine grows in a mound that can get 6-10 ft (1.8-3.1 m) tall with a similar spread. Where they touch moist soil, the long trailing branches will root and produce new plants.
Several cultivars are available: 'Aureum' has yellow blotches on the leaves; 'Nanum' is a slow-growing, dwarf form.
Winter jasmine, Jasminum nudiflorum, is native to western China. It has been cultivated in the West since the middle 1800's.
CultureWinter jasmine is fast growing, easy to maintain, easy to transplant, and tolerant of poor soils. Light: Winter jasmine flowers best when growing in full sun, but it does quite well in the shade. Moisture: Moderately drought tolerant. Hardiness: USDA Zones 6 - 9. Propagation: Cuttings are easy to root any time during the growing season.
Do you want masses of bright yellow flowers on leafless green shoots when almost nothing else is blooming? Use winter jasmine where you want some color in early spring when most everything else is still dormant and brown. Even in the dead of winter, the willowy green stems are conspicuous and attractive. Winter jasmine is a good choice for poor soils, on slopes, or above retaining walls where the long trailing branches can cascade. Prune winter jasmine back severely every 3-4 years to rejuvenate if you want to keep it as a specimen shrub. Or, it can be trained on a trellis or tied to a wall where it can get more than 15 ft (4.6 m) tall. Don't plant winter jasmine along an east-facing wall, however, as it seems to do poorly with early morning sun.
Winter jasmine is unusual among the 200 or so species of true jasmines in that its flowers are not fragrant. (See Floridata's downy jasmine, J. multiflorum, profile for a discussion of other species in this Old World genus.
Another winter blooming jasmine with yellow flowers is the primrose jasmine (J. mesnyi) which is similar in appearance but is less cold hardy and has fragrant blossoms.
Winter jasmine may root where the branches touch the ground and can become difficult to control in some situations.
Steve Christman 3/16/00; updated 1/9/04