Jasmine grown as a ground cover can be seen vining across the landscape. In Florida a common ground cover jasmine species is dwarf Asiatic jasmine (Trachelospermum asiaticum "Minima"). This dwarf jasmine is hardy in USDA zones 7b through 10 and has a prostrate vining growth form. The leaves are simple, glossy and dark green but may also come in a variegated form. Jasmine is in the Apocynaceae family, and like others in this family, has a milky sap that can be an irritant to some people with sensitive skin.
Habit and Uses
Asiatic jasmine (multiple varieties) does well in part shade to full sun. However in full shade the leaves tend to enlarge and the space between nodes increases. This produces a more vine-like look instead of the dense growth habit it usually exhibits. When used in beds, it has a tendency to spill out, but this is manageable with regular maintenance trimming. The vines are not able to climb due to lack of tendrils or twining. At the Museum of Natural History at the University of Florida, it is used as a green roof material, covering the metal roof. It can grow densely enough to be a turf alternative and once established can be mowed with a standard push mower.
Pests and Soils
Very few pests threaten Asiatic jasmine. Scale and whitefly are documented pests and sooty mold grows on the sugary excrement from these insects. These problems, while a nuisance, rarely pose a threat to the plants' viability. Asiatic jasmine prefers a rich soil with adequate moisture, but can live in a variety of conditions in Florida.
While the most readily available form of Asiatic jasmine to the public is small plants sold through retailers, it is possible to create hardwood cuttings using a generic rooting hormone and constant moisture in a growing medium. Rooting hormone is available at most hardware or garden center stores. Fine misters are recommended for propagation.
When choosing nursery stock for landscape installation, do not purchase plants with weeds or signs of stress. Plant small plants approximately 18 inches apart in a grid formation for even ground cover. If more mature plants are used, the spacing can be increased. If an established bed of Asiatic jasmine is available, cuttings can be taken and transplanted as though they were sod. Start with a well-tilled and weed-free area to ensure the jasmine has time to become established. It will likely outcompete weeds once mature. Amend soil as necessary with organic matter such as garden soil or compost. Do not use potting soil. An all-purpose fertilizer can be used but is not necessary in most conditions.
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