When yards in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 7b through 10 cry out for a tough, rapidly spreading ground cover, Asian jasmine (Trachelospermum asiaticum) heads the list of possibilities. The plant, which grows as a perennial in those USDA zones, is also called Asiatic jasmine, yellow star jasmine, small-leaf Confederate jasmine and dwarf jasmine. Although it grows best in moderately shady sites, the sprawling evergreen vine spreads into a weed-choking mat within two years after planted in a full-sun site. When properly sheared, it also swallows leaf litter and other debris.
Asian jasmine can be a hanging-basket or container plant and performs well indoors with six to eight hours of daily sunlight in winter.
When to Plant
If frost is a possibility in your area, then plant Asian jasmine between the last average spring frost date and early summer so its roots have time to establish in the new location before fall frost is likely. A poorly rooted plant may heave out of the soil as the ground freezes and thaws during winter. If frost isn't an issue, plant Asian jasmine any time in fall so hot weather doesn't stress the plant as it establishes.
Where to Plant
Asian jasmine grows best in partial sun to partial shade -- four to six hours of direct sunlight daily. Morning sun exposure is best. Plant it in organically rich, well-drained soil that won't become waterlogged. If your chosen planting site's soil doesn't have those characteristics, amend it with a 3-inch layer of organic compost.
Loosen the top 6 to 8 inches of soil with a spade or cultivating fork, and remove the weeds, stones and other debris. Then spread the compost evenly and work it thoroughly into the loose soil.
- A 3-inch compost layer equals about 900 pounds of compost for 100 square feet of soil.
- For the quickest coverage, allow 1 foot between Asian jasmine plants that are in 4-inch-diameter plant nursery pots and 18 inches between plants in 7- to 8-inch-diameter, or 1-gallon, pots.
Way to Plant
Before digging planting holes, set your potted Asian jasmines in staggered rows on the planting site, with the pots in one row spaced between the pots in the next row. Stand back occasionally to check the spacing. When the design looks balanced, begin planting.
Things You'll Need
Ruler or tape measure
Remove each Asian jasmine plant from its pot, loosen its roots with your fingers and dig a hole that is the same depth as the plant's root ball. If the plant was in a 4-inch-diameter pot, then make the hole a little wider than the root ball. If the plant was in a 1-gallon pot, widen the base of the hole enough to accommodate the plant's outspread roots.
For the larger plants, mound the extra soil from the bases of the holes in the holes' centers. This technique allows the plants' crowns to sit slightly above the soil line, lessening the chances of crown rot. The crown is where the roots and stems meet.
Center each plant in its hole, and replace the soil around the roots. Tamp the soil lightly with a spade as you work. Tamping removes air pockets from the soil.
Water the planting site thoroughly. The water settles the soil.
Spread a 2-inch layer of organic mulch on the soil surface between the planting rows, and rake it smooth. Don't allow the mulch to cover or touch the plants' crowns. Mulch suppresses weeds and conserves soil moisture, but it can lead to diseases when it touches plants.
- If you plant Asian jasmine on a slope, create a terrace for each staggered row, with a small basin behind each planting hole to catch excess water.
- Water the transplants as needed to keep the soil consistently moist -- never saturated -- until the plants' new leaves emerge. That's when you'll know their roots have become established.
- University of Florida Cooperative Extension Service: Trachelospermum Asiaticum
- Floridata: Trachelospermum Asiaticum
- Fine Gardening: Planting Ground Covers
- Horticulture Magazine: Part Sun vs. Part Shade
- Cornell University Gardening Resources: Using Organic Matter in the Garden
- South Florida Plant Guide: Asiatic Jasmine
- Sunset: Planting Ground Covers
Passionate for travel and the well-written word, Judy Wolfe is a professional writer with a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from Cal Poly Pomona and a certificate in advanced floral design. Her thousands of published articles cover topics from travel and gardening to pet care and technology.