The Carolina jasmine plant (Gelsemium sempervirens) is an evergreen vine that produces an abundance of yellow blossoms that are produced from winter into spring. The flowers grow in clusters, have a tubular shape and are quite fragrant. Each blossom can easily measure 2 inches in length and 1 inch wide. Hummingbirds, butterflies and bees regularly congregate around the vine. Fruit appears in the summer, is bright red in color and measures approxomately 1 1/2 inches in diameter. The entire plant is highly toxic.
The vine will easily grow up to 20 feet long when planted in a shady location. Carolina jasmine can be grown in full sun but the growth rate is slowed and the vine tends to remain in bush form instead of a spreading vine. Grown wild, the Carolina jasmine will climb over fences, trees and shrubs with ease.
The Carolina jasmine vine is native to the southeastern United States. It flourishes in mild climates. The vine can tolerate frost but will die if exposed to severe freezing conditions for an extended time. It is widely grown along the coastal plains because of the vine's high tolerance to salt conditions.
Carolina jasmine is very drought-tolerant but flourishes with adequate moisture. The vine prefers to be planted in moist, well-drained soils. The plant will drop its leaves during a drought and rarely blossom if abundant rainfall does not occur or it is not watered regularly.
Carolina jasmine is a popular ornamental plant for growing on a trellis, arbor, sloping soil or along a fence line. The vine is an excellent low-maintenance plant choice because it does not require any watering. The plant can subsist on natural rainfall in the region if the homeowner does not mind the vine appearing scraggly with limited blossoms during times of drought. Plant Carolina jasmine away from livestock because ingestion of any part of the plant can prove fatal.
Pruning and Shearing
The Carolina jasmine can be allowed to grow wild or it can be trimmed to maintain size and shape. Shearing can take place several times a year to maintain the vine's rapid and aggressive growth habits. The woody stems can be woven into chain link with care. They are quite flexible but can easily break if care is not taken when handling.