The genus jasminum, belonging to the Oleacee family, has about 250 species of flowering shrubs, often climbing, falling or prostrate, evergreen or deciduous, with yellow, white or pinkish-white flowers, often intensely scented. Most of them originate from Asia, 10-15 species are commonly cultivated in the central-southern areas of our peninsula, some of which can be planted even in the north, in some cases requiring shelter for the winter months.
In general they are easy to cultivate shrubs, which develop best even in the common garden soil or in partially clayey substrates; prefer sunny locations, sheltered from the winds; they tolerate drought without problems, but the best blooms occur with regular watering, leaving the soil to dry well between one watering and another. At the end of winter, at the base of the plant there is a mature organic fertilizer, or a slow release granular fertilizer for flowering plants.
The most widespread in Italy
Of all the existing jasmine species, certainly the most cultivated is the j. polyanthum, semirustic plant, evergreen, climbing, with small white flowers; jasmine flowers are very fragrant, they bloom in spring and from them an essential oil is obtained used in perfumery; this jasmine fears the cold, so in areas with cold winters it must be repaired in a cold greenhouse or similar place, with minimum temperatures not lower than -2 / -3 ° C.
Another jasmine widespread in our gardens is the j. nudiflorum, called Jasmine of St. Joseph; it has a compact habit with some hanging or climbing stems; it has deciduous leaves. At the beginning of spring, before the appearance of the small oval leaves, it produces a profusion of golden-yellow star-shaped flowers, devoid of perfume.
There are many cultivable jasmines in our gardens, about ten of which are fairly easy to find in nurseries.
Jasminum floridum is an evergreen shrub, fairly compact, it grows up to 150-200 cm in height, with erect and rounded growth habit. The leaves are composed of 3-5 oval leaflets, lanceolate, dark green. It does not fear the cold and has a not very abundant puncture, but which lasts from May until August.
Jasminum sambac is an evergreen shrub, up to three meters high, with oval, leathery leaves and double or stradoppi flowers, of white color, very perfumed. Fears frost, so it must be protected during the winter; in the vegetative season it loves regular watering, especially in case of drought.
Jasminum mesnyi is an evergreen shrub, up to 2-3 meters high, with hanging branches, with a square section; blooms in early spring, with yellow star-shaped, semi-double flowers. The leaves are composed of three small oval leaflets, dark green in color. It is a vigorous shrub, which is usually pruned after flowering and also in autumn. It does not fear the cold and tolerates even long periods of drought without problems. It prefers sunny positions, but also develops in partial shade. The flexible branches make it also suitable for growing as a climber.
Jasminum multiflorum is a shrub native to India; it fears the cold a little and should be planted in a sheltered place, covering the foliage during the winter. From spring to late summer it produces small clusters of white, lightly scented flowers. It prefers bright and not windy places, it has a rounded habit, with densely branched stems, arched at the apex; it grows up to 2-3 meters in height.
Jasminum parkeri does not fear the cold, it produces small yellow flowers already at the end of winter; the small flowers open upwards. It is a compact shrub, with small evergreen leaves, shiny and leathery. This species of jasmine is also grown by bonsaists.
Jasminum fruticans flowers in spring, with golden yellow flowers; it has compound leaves, consisting of three oval leaflets, of a bright green color. It does not fear the cold.
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Among the many plants called Jasmine, some, very widespread and cultivated, do not belong to the genus jasminum.
Trachelospermum jasminoides (false Jasmine or star jasmine) is the most common in Italian gardens; it is a vigorous climbing shrub, with a fairly rapid growth, which bears even very cold winters. The leaves are oval, dark green, shiny and thick; the flowers appear in late spring and bloom in the summer, the scent is intense and penetrating, very similar to that of authentic jasmine. The limited cultivation requirements make it preferable to polyanthum jasmine in the northern regions.
Present only in the southern regions is the Cestrum nocturnum (nocturnal jasmine), native to central-southern America, produces small white flowers in the summer period, whose intense fragrance develops only at night; it is a shrub belonging to the Solanaceae family, there are species of cestrum with flowers of yellow, orange or red color.
Gelsemium sempervirens (Carolina jasmine, yellow jasmine) is a creeper native to South America; in summer it produces bunches of large golden yellow flowers; it has evergreen leaves, lanceolate, of an intense green color and thin semi-woody stems; it fears the cold and prefers sheltered and sunny locations.
The Stephanotis (Jasmine da intenrno, Jasmine of Madagascar) is a climber with large oval leaves, which fears the cold and is generally cultivated as a houseplant. It produces large trumpet flowers similar to jasmine flowers but with a larger size, slightly fleshy and fragrant.