If you've ever enjoyed the scent of jasmine flowers, you'll always remember it '– just like a familiar piece of music that evokes fond memories. When you grow Belle of India Jasmine (Jasminum sambac 'Belle of India'), its fragrance is matched only by the beauty of its flowers. And best of all '– you won't have the short season of bloom that you'd get from other jasmines when you grow Belle of India because its free-flowering habit tickles your fancy (and your nose) all season long!
Continuous Flowering from Spring through Fall
When we say "continuous," this means that Belle of India Jasmine is classified as an everblooming plant because it can produce flowers beyond a single yearly flush. Its bloom season is not restricted to once in spring or summer like many other flowering plants. You'll see flowers beginning to bloom in spring with their heavier show through summer, but you'll also enjoy a lighter blossom set that continues throughout the growing season. If you live in its perennial range across USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 9 through 11, you may see flowers during all four seasons. In tropical and subtropical climates within these hardiness zones, Belle of India Jasmine may bloom year-round. But even if you don't live within its perennial range, you can still grow this versatile plant year-round '– all you have to do is move it indoors during the winter!
White Double Flowers
A flurry of white flowers against a sea of dark-green leaves gives Belle of India Jasmine a dazzling look in your garden. Each pure-white flower is a star-shaped stunner with flower petals that are longer than other types of jasmines. These flowers reach a substantial 2 inches in diameter! And you won't get single flowers as on most types of jasmine; these blossoms are fully double! And it's the way these flowers arise on the stems that give them even more impact '– they're formed in clusters of three to 12 flowers, so one stem creates a mini bouquet!
Exceptionally Fragrant Blossoms
That's how the Missouri Botanical Garden describes the flowers of this jasmine species '– "exceptionally fragrant." You may catch the intoxicating scent wafting on the breeze even before you see the flowers! This is definitely a plant you'll want to grow next to an outdoor living space, such as a porch, patio, or deck, so that you'll be fully able to enjoy the rich fragrance of its flowers as you sit outside. The scent of jasmine is so popular among perfume makers that a simple online search reveals numerous perfumes that are jasmine-scented. Now you can grow the actual flowers that are the coveted choice of perfumers around the world!
So Easy in Containers
Belle of India Jasmine is such an easy plant to grow in containers that even novice gardeners can care for it with ease. You don't have to have a huge pot for this plant, so it won't be too heavy to move back and forth when the seasons change. You only need a pot that's slightly larger than its rootball, and you may have to pot it into a larger container as it grows. But you shouldn't ever have to use a pot that's larger than 10 inches in diameter, which is very manageable. It's not like some frost-tender plants that need huge pots to accommodate their mature growth. Eventually, those types of plants need pots that are simply too heavy to keep moving in and out. Belle of India Jasmine is perfectly happy (and easily maintained) in a 10-inch pot!
It Even Blooms Indoors
You may not be a fan of houseplants, but we think this plant will change your mind! When you smell jasmine flowers blooming in a sunny window of your home in the dead of winter, you'll be hooked! Belle of India is a stellar performer in sunrooms, on tables in front of sunny windowsills, or in kitchen greenhouse windows. Although it will tolerate shady conditions, Belle of India Jasmine blooms best indoors when it gets as much direct sunlight each day as possible. If the sunniest spot in your home is also near a heating vent, the dry air is a negative for this tropical plant. But that's a snap to overcome. Simply place the pot on a tray lined with pebbles, and add water until the level reaches just below the top of the pebbles (you don't want the pot submerged in water). As the water evaporates, it acts as a natural humidifier for your Belle of India Jasmine! All you have to do is periodically add water to your humidity tray.
Glossy Dark-Green Foliage
Its lustrous evergreen leaves give Belle of India Jasmine a just-polished look. If you grow it indoors, all you'll need to do is occasionally wipe the leaves with a damp cloth to clear them of any dust that may accumulate. And even when it's not in bloom, the richly colored foliage adds a lush, tropical look to your garden ?… no matter if you live far from the tropics!
Low Maintenance and Non-Finicky
All gardeners love plants that don't need a lot of maintenance so they can spend more time enjoying them than caring for them. If you'd like to grow Belle of India Jasmine, but you're concerned that it may be a high-maintenance plant because of its tropical look, we can assure you that it's truly easy to care for. But you don't have to take our word for it. The Missouri Botanical Garden categorizes this particular species of jasmine as "low maintenance," not only for its ease of care but also because it is not typically bothered by insects or disease.
A Versatile Evergreen Vine
In its native habitats throughout Asia, India, and the Middle East, this jasmine species may grow to 25 feet. But here in the U.S., the Belle of India cultivar typically tops out around 10 feet tall in the landscape (where it's winter-hardy) and only 5 feet tall in containers. This offers lots of design options! If you live in its perennial range where you can grow it outdoors year-round, you can train it to climb a garden wall, drape it over a fence, or grow it on an arbor or pergola. You can also prune it as an evergreen hedge by spacing multiple plants up to 5 feet apart and trimming the long stems as they grow. The individually spaced Belle of India plants will quickly grow together to form a dense flowering hedge. When it's in full bloom, this hedge will perfume your entire yard!
A Beautiful Espaliered Plant
If you're a creative gardener who wants a little something extra in the landscape, you can train Belle of India Jasmine as an espalier. If you're unfamiliar with that term, it simply means training a plant on a flat vertical surface, such as a trellis or wall, so that its stems or branches are pruned to take a specific shape. For example, you'd keep one main central stem, and tie the other long stems so they grow horizontally away from the main stem at equal distances from each other. The finished shape adds a stunning architectural element to your garden!
Pruning is Optional but Helpful for Reblooming
If you don't like pruning your plants, don't worry '– you'll never have to prune your Belle of India Jasmine to keep it flowering! But you can help it reach its maximum flowering potential if you do a little nip-and-tuck pruning on it. After its first heavy flush of flowers has faded, lightly trim it back. This will encourage your plant to branch out, which will ultimately produce more flowers. Belle of India responds very well to pruning; you don't have to be concerned that you're not a pruning expert, because you can't hurt it! There's no specific place on the branches to make pruning cuts, and there's no specific amount of growth you're supposed to trim '– it's very resilient. The only rule of thumb you'll want to follow is when not to prune '– don't cut it back in winter; that's the only pruning guideline!
Simple Care Tips
Sun. In cooler climates, Belle of India Jasmine can handle full sun for most of the day. But if you live in a hot climate, your plant will grow best with morning sun and afternoon shade.
Water and soil. Belle of India Jasmine does not like soggy soil '– whether in the landscape or in containers. You'll want to make sure that the soil drains well, and that you don't keep this plant overwatered. This is another reason that it makes a perfect container plant '– containers offer good drainage, as long as you use a loose potting mix and you don't water it too much.
Fertilizer. For its profusion of flowers, you may think you need to give it heavy doses of fertilizer. But Belle of India Jasmine is not a heavy feeder. It will, however, benefit from a slow-release fertilizer in springtime to keep it healthy and productive. You don't want to fertilize it in winter; let it rest before applying fertilizer again in springtime.
Jasmine Trivia Corner
• The dried flowers are used to flavor jasmine tea and jasmine rice.
• This jasmine species is the national flower of the Philippines.
• Jasmine flowers are used in Hawaii to make leis.
If you've ever enjoyed the scent of jasmine flowers, you'll always remember it '– just like a familiar piece of music that evokes fond memories. When you grow Belle of India Jasmine (Jasminum sambac 'Belle of India'), its fragrance is amazing.
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