How to grow Winter flowering Jasmine

Winter flowering Jasmine is deciduous perennial which flowers from November to March. It is a tough, grow anywhere shrubby  climbing plant, which will both climb and also tumble down over a wall.

This winter form of Jasmine always flowers yellow. Its Latin name is Jasminum nudiflorum, which means naked flowers. The Latin name is describing the flowers on bare branches which appear ahead of the foliage. Winter flowering Jasmine is fully hardy to H5 and when mature grows up to 3m tall and similar in width, with arching branches which will create a mound. Although commonly described as a climbing plant, it has no tendrils and is not very self supporting; it is more of shrubby scrambler than a climber. It has long, arching branches which will go over a fence or wall. It can be trained or tied in  to cover a structure. 

Winter flowering Jasmine is deciduous with dark green leaves, which appear after flowering around April lasting to around October. The leaves tend to be sparse. Unlike other Jasmines, (not all of which are fully hardy) it is not scented. In common with many climbing plants, Winter flowering Jasmine is vigorous and grows relatively quickly.

Because the leaves are sparse, it can look a bit untidy when not in flower. To improve this problem, plant with an evergreen shrub or an evergreen climber such as Ivy. As a combination, Ivy and Jasmine are tough and tolerant of soil types, and semi shade and would be ideal for a difficult spot in the garden, such as a north-facing wall. It is also suitable for growing in a coastal garden. Generally, it is trouble and pest free,

Where to plant Winter flowering Jasmine

One advantage of growing Winter flowering Jasmine is its tolerance of a wide range of growing conditions, which makes it useful to grow in a tough spot. Winter flowering Jasmine will grow in any soil, acid or alkaline, poor soil, cold areas and in semishade. Although it flowers best in the sun it will grow pretty well anywhere. Winter flowering Jasmine needs little attention, and it does not demand pruning. However, it is improved by pruning, but at the right time see below.

How to prune Winter flowering Jasmine

Winter flowering Jasmine can get messy, with tangled stems, as shown in the image below. To overcome its untidy habit, pruning will help to keep it in shape. Jasmine is group 2 for pruning, which means prune only after flowering in early spring. It flowers on "old wood" (what does this mean?) The flowers form on branches grown last year. This means it is important not to prune it until after it has flowed, or you cut off the branches on which the flowers are forming, see below. 

When pruning, take out any diseased or spindly branches and thin out the whole plant if it is becoming too large. You can safely take out up to 20% of the plant growth annually. You can leave winter flowering Jasmine to its own devices to ramble. It will carry on growing well and flowering, although eventually it will become untidy. It looks better if given an annual prune, cut back to required size or a pair of buds and take out some old growth from the base.

If Jasmine has become overgrown or exceeded its allotted space, winter flowering Jasmine will tolerate renovative pruning and can be cut back hard to 60 cms. This may mean little or no flowers for the first year or so until it re grows.

Winter Jasmine will brighten up gloomy corners of the garden in winter. It looks good planted with variegated  evergreen shrubs such as Euronymous fortunei "emerald n gold" or Elaeagnus ebbingei "Gilt Edge". The yellow of the jasmine chimes well with the gold-coloured variegations.

The two images above are the same Winter flowering Jasmine, taken at the same time. At first glance, the full image on the left doesn't look too bad, quite a lot of flowers. The image on the right is a closeup, and you can see lots of branches which have been cut and are bearing no flowers. Almost certainly, this shrub was pruned at the wrong time. When a shrub is pruned directly after flowering, it has all year to make new growth and form flower buds on the new growth.

If, like this shrub, it is pruned at the wrong time, late in the year, the act of pruning cuts of many of the flowering bearing shoots. In the photo has some flowers, but it would have flowered much more if every shoot carried flowers. When a shrub "flowers on old wood" timing is important.

Unpruned Jasmine

This image is what Jasmine will look like if left to its own devices and not pruned at all. It will become spindly and some areas are bare, without flowers.

Jasmine has a tendency to grow straggly and it looks better combined with an evergreen climber which covers its spindly habit and barer patches. Pruning will also help.

Given that Jasmine only needs a light prune, and is otherwise completely unfussy, it is classified as a green wheelbarrow plant. Page updated 02.01.2024