The wonderful fragrance of jasmine often gives the identity of the plant away, but not all jasmines deliver a scent. Jasmine grows well in hardier, mild zones, where the threat of frost is minimal. For those in cooler climates, jasmine grows well in containers or as an annual.
Jasmines come in many varieties, most consisting of a fast-growing plant. A few bloom all summer long. Jasmines range in size from a few feet tall to species that grow up to 15 feet in height. Some jasmine stays green all year, while other types lose their leaves each fall. Most jasmine can grow as a vine on trellises, fences and other vertical objects.
The more fragrant jasmine, J. officinale, also known as common jasmine or poet's jasmine, produces plenty of aromatic flowers on long vines. Most jasmines grow as vines, but a few varieties work well as shrubs, including J. Floridum with its yellow unscented flowers and habit of forming mounds up to five feet in height. J. Humile features scented yellow flowers, and plants grow in mounds up to 10 feet in height. Primrose jasmine (J. mesnyi) grows well as a hedge, and has bright yellow flowers that bloom in late winter or spring. For gardens where space is at a premium, dwarf jasmine (J. parkeri) makes a great choice, growing to about one foot in height and featuring yellow unscented flowers that bloom in the spring.
Jasmine thrives in a warm area of the garden, with full to partial sun and fertile soil that drains well. The plant requires water early in the summer as it becomes established, and regular moisture during the summer, especially on dry, hot days or during times of drought. The plants grow best when pinched and shaped to control their growth.
Jasmine works well as a hedge along borders or in areas where vegetation helps create a privacy screen. The plants also make wonderful additions near doors, windows, porches and decks, where their fragrant blooms can offer the most enjoyment. Jasmine also grows in containers, as long as the plants receive regular, if not daily, watering. The flowers and other parts of the plant get used in teas, herbal bath powders, perfume and soap. Jasmine is a nectar-filled food source for butterflies, bees and hummingbirds.
A variety of products are derived from jasmine, including skin creams. In China, jasmine flowers are used for their strong antibacterial and antiviral properties, including cooling down people who become overheated from the sun. Jasmine offers astringent benefits that help treat inflamed eyes and skin. The plant works well when used for gargling to treat sore throats and mouth ulcers. Jasmine also is used in aromatherapy products.