drought tolerant shrubs

Winter jasmine yellow flowers on trellis

My Tough Plants #6: Winter Jasmine

Winter jasmine seemed like the right plant to feature for my first post of 2021. The bright yellow trumpet-shaped flowers that appear as the days grow shorter are a fanfare for the new year and an early promise of spring.

Winter jasmine, Jasminum nudiflorum

All right, I’ll admit that ironically enough, winter jasmine isn’t exceptionally tough in terms of winter hardiness. It’s hardy only in the USDA’s climate zone 6 or milder. That means low temperatures of no more than -23C or -10F. Given that its claim to fame is winter bloom, winter jasmine will not be found in places that have snow and frigid temperatures all winter.

But in relatively temperate places, winter jasmine is a treasure. Its long, whippy stems are bright green, and from November onward it produces bright yellow flowers. Unfortunately, they are scentless, which seems to contradict the name “jasmine,” but they are cheerful in a season when flowers of any kind are welcome.

Winter jasmine tolerates both drought and shade to a certain extent, which makes it a good choice for my garden, with its sandy soil and Norway maples.

The plant is a flexible shrub. It may be grown tied to a trellis or fence, or cascading down a retaining wall. I have also seen it trimmed into a bun shape, which destroys the plant’s natural graceful shape, but even so it was blooming well.

Winter jasmine yellow flowers on trellis

Stems that touch the ground will root and form new plants. This makes winter jasmine a good pass-along plant, but it’s worth keeping this habit in mind if you don’t want it taking up more than its share of garden space. Cut those stems back when pruning in spring.

More information:
Plant Pick: Winter Jasmine by Vancouver Island Master Gardeners Association.
Jasminum nudiflorum by Missouri Botanical Garden.

Winter jasmine, Jasminum nudiflorum

Photos (featured image and second from top) taken December 11, 2020. Others in 2018 and 2012.