Jasmine Plant Problems: How To Treat Common Diseases Of Jasmine

Jasmine Plant Problems: How To Treat Common Diseases Of Jasmine


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By: Bonnie L. Grant, Certified Urban Agriculturist

Jasmine flowers bear the intoxicating fragrance familiar to us from perfumes and finely scented toiletries. The plants have an exotic appeal with starry white flowers and shiny leaves. The plants may be grown outdoors or indoors and are fairly easy to grow. However, jasmine plant problems do exist and it is important to be able to identify them. Disease in jasmine plants is easily recognizable and usually the result of cultural issues and easily corrected.

Disease in Jasmine Plants

Jasmine plant problems do not occur very frequently, and the plant thrives if it receives attention that mimics its tropical to sub-tropical native region. Jasmine diseases can threaten the foliage, roots, flowers and overall health of the plant. Sometimes they are the result of excess moisture in overly warm conditions; sometimes an insect vector is the cause. The variety of common diseases of jasmine is as broad as it is in any plant, but the first step to diagnosis is to ensure you are giving proper care.

Common Diseases of Jasmine

Once you are sure the soil type, lighting, heat level, nutrient and moisture acquisition needs of your plant are all being met, it is time to investigate other causes of jasmine plant problems. Foliar problems are common with jasmine plants because they like to live where temperatures are warm and slightly humid. These conditions are most favorable for a variety of fungal diseases.

The most common diseases of jasmine are blight, rust and Fusarium wilt, all of which affect numerous other varieties of plants. These are primarily diseases of the leaves and stems which leave necrotic areas, discolored halos or patches, wilted leaves, streaked stems and occasionally spread to young vegetation. Treating jasmine plant diseases from fungal issues requires a fungicide or baking soda and water spray. Prevention is more crucial because once the fungal spores are active, they are difficult to get rid of. Avoid overhead watering and allow plenty of circulation around the plant to help reduce the chances of fungal issues.

Root knot galls also cause leaves to drop and discolor but mostly this is due to the damage of the nematodes, which are munching away on their roots. The larvae are very difficult to remove once entrenched but you can try a soil drench with an appropriate insecticide. Otherwise, only buy resistant varieties of jasmine.

Treating Jasmine Plant Diseases

Step one in combating any disease is to isolate affected plants.

Step two requires the removal of damaged and diseased plant parts. This includes picking up dropped leaves.

In the case of potted plants, installing the jasmine in a clean, sanitized pot with fresh soil will often prevent further fungal spores from damaging the leaves. Then follow proper water and cultural practices to prevent further common diseases in Jasmine.

In ground plants are a bit more difficult, but you can dig around the plant and put in fresh soil or completely remove it and wash off the roots and replant it in a newly amended site.

Use Neem oil sprays for any insect issues, fungicides or a mixture of baking soda and water to combat fungi and correct cultural care to promote the health of the plant and help it recover its beauty.

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Arabian Jasmine Plant: Fragrant Flowers & Lush Foliage

Exotic and alluring, the Arabian jasmine plant is a native of Southeast Asia. Known botanically as Jasminum sambac, its highly fragrant flowers are prized. In fact, it’s the national plant of the Philippines and one of the three national plants of Indonesia! The floral aroma is used in China to scent jasmine teas, and jasmine flowers adorn leis in the Hawaiian islands.

As you can probably guess, this tropical delight is a real treasure in the garden. Fragrant plants like this one add ambiance, and the dark green leaves on this shrub are visually appealing. If you’re trying to coax a little tropical variety into your outdoors space, you’ll definitely want to consider Jasminum sambac!

Useful Products For Growing Arabian Jasmine Plant:


Asian Jasmine Care

The Asian Jasmine is a hardy plant, ideal for many types of gardens from Chinese to cottage, coastal and tropical. It requires well-draining soil and grows well in a range from full sun to full shade. It can tolerate a range of temperatures and grows in USDA Zones 7b to 10 but is less suited to constantly cold climates. Keep the pH of the soil slightly acidic to neutral soil between 5.5 to 7.0. It grows with a creeping, spreading habit and can be used as ground cover, or to climb walls, fences, and trees to create an attractive display. You can prune or trim it back if it grows beyond the boundaries you have set. Use an organic fertilizer with an increased phosphorus value for increased bloomin.


Types of Jasmine

There’s around 200 varieties of jasmine out there to choose from, but here we’ll look at a few of the most popular ones. There are both scented and unscented varieties to choose from, and they come most commonly as shrubs or vining varieties.

Jasminum officinale ‘Common jasmine’, ‘Summer jasmine’, ‘Poet’s jasmine’

Jasminum officinale

Also called white jasmine or true jasmine, this white-flowered deciduous climber is the state flower of Pakistan. Its five-petaled flowers are often referred to as starry in shape due to their natural petal arrangement, and its slightly-fuzzy leaves tend to be sharply pointed. It flowers in the summertime, although it can be encouraged to flower at other times of year indoors, in climate-controlled greenhouses, or in very warm climates. White jasmine flowers are also harvested for production of essential oil, as they are an aromatic variety. It is a semi-evergreen variety.

Jasminum grandiflorum ‘Spanish jasmine’, ‘Royal jasmine’

Jasminum grandiflorum

Jasminum officinale forma grandiflorum, or Jasminum grandiflorum, is a subset of the officinale variety. It is raised for its aromatics, and from the grandiflorum species, jasmine absolute is produced for the perfuming and food industries. Tending towards a jasmine bush or shrub, it can also be gently trained to climb.

Jasminum nudiflorum ‘Winter jasmine’

Jasminum nudiflorum

Winter jasmine tends to flower earlier in the year than other varieties, tending towards late winter or early spring. It produces brilliant yellow flowers on vines, and is best trained to trellis growth or used as a slightly-mounding ground cover.

Jasminum sambac ‘Arabian jasmine’

Jasminum sambac

This jasmine shrub flourishes in warm environments, and has been classified as an exotic invasive in Florida. It tends to sprawl, and while it typically grows in the 4-6 foot range both tall and wide, it can reach sizes of close to 10 feet. If maintained as a shrub it will bush out, but it can be trained to supports to create an evergreen vining growth pattern as well. This true evergreen variety has glossy leaves. Its attractive white, multilayered flowers are used to make leis in Hawaii, and it is the national flower of the Philippines and Indonesia. Jasminum sambac is also popularly used to offer its strong fragrance to jasmine teas.

Jasminum parkeri ‘Dwarf jasmine’

Jasminum parkeri

Dwarf jasmine is popular for container or topiary use, and it’s easy to see why – its natural form is an evergreen shrub, about a foot tall and with small stems that can easily be shaped to form around a topiary frame, and it can sprawl a few feet across. It is an evergreen, and produces clumps of five-petaled yellow flowers. While lightly scented, it does not produce as strong of an aroma as Jasminum officinale or sambac.

Jasminum fruticans ‘Wild jasmine’

Jasminum fruticans

This jasmine loves a Mediterranean climate, and produces prolific amounts of yellow flowers on vibrant green foliage from spring through the fall. It can grow to be about 4 feet tall and wide, but if trained as a vine requires support for weak stems. Wild jasmine is an odorless cultivar. This variety is an old one – it was first documented by the Padova Botanic Garden in Venice, Italy in 1545!

Jasminum dichotomum ‘Gold Coast jasmine’

Jasminum dichotomum

This woody jasmine vine is unusual in that it originated in Africa, unlike most of the other varieties that originated in Asiatic regions. It produces pink-colored buds which then bloom into six-petaled white flowers year-round in warm climates, and has shiny dark green leaves. However, it’s also an invasive plant in many regions, as it spreads quite rapidly.

Jasminum polyanthum ‘Pink jasmine’

Jasminum polyanthum

This varietal is quite popular as a house plant, as it can easily create long, trailing vines. As a twining climber, it can reach heights of six feet if supported by a trellis. The name pink jasmine refers to the pink buds which appear in large quantities in spring, and they bloom into five-petaled star-like white flowers. It can bloom year-round in warmer climates or indoors.

False Jasmines

There are multiple other plants that are commonly called jasmine, but aren’t even related. Here’s some to be aware of, as they don’t have the same growth habits!

Cestrum nocturnum ‘Night-blooming jasmine’, ‘Lady of the night’

Cestrum nocturnum

While not actually a jasmine, night-blooming jasmine might have gotten its name in part out of confusion – it’s also called night-blooming jessamine. It is actually a member of the potato family, but not an edible one. In fact, it may very well be poisonous. While its flowers produce a sweet, strong aroma, people who have respiratory issues or asthma often have breathing problems around this plant. The list of issues caused by actually eating it is extensive, and it’s often considered to be an invasive plant as well. But it produces tubular white flowers that have a star-shaped, five-pointed blossom at the end, and it can occasionally be mistaken for vining forms of jasmine. Still, for all of its potential dangers, it really is quite beautiful!

Trachelospermum jasminoides ‘Star jasmine’

Star Jasmine

Quite often found in southern California or other warm areas of the United States, this namesake of a true star jasmine is actually a different form of shrubby vine, although it does resemble jasmine in a lot of different ways. Its growth patterns are similar, its creamy-white flowers are similar to the white star-shaped true jasmine flowers, and it produces a sweet fragrance. While it can survive quite well in the southern US, it is an annual in most other regions and often must be brought indoors to keep it alive during colder months. As it shares the common name ‘star jasmine’ with some true jasmines, be sure to check the botanical name to make certain that you are getting the plant you are looking for.

Gardenia jasminoides ‘Cape jasmine’

Gardenia jasminoides

While this gardenia species does have white flowers and shiny dark green foliage, that’s really where its similarity to a true jasmine ends. Its flowers are more gardenia-like in shape than jasmine, and its leaves tend to be larger and thicker. While it also has a scent, it is more similar to gardenia than to jasmine, and even though it is beautiful and a popular plant in warmer climates, it has different growth patterns and care required.


Q. Jasmine leaf drop

We have a large jasmine planted in a pot outside against a west facing wall and for the past 2 years it has shed a lot of its leaves in late April beginning of May. They turn yellowy brown and fall off. Consequently, it looks a bit thin and bedraggled, although it does perk up later in the summer. We do get quite a lot of wind, which I appreciate may be a factor. We try and remember to feed it once a week but have never pruned it, as it has grown to about 12 feet high and has intertwined with trellis work on the wall. What should we do about the leaf drop and how and when should we prune it?

Jasmine should be pruned immediately after they flower to give the vines time to develop growth for the next flowering season.


Caring For Jasmine

Overall, jasmine can be relatively simple to care for, but there are some things which you should be mindful of.

Most jasmine varieties prefer full sun to light shade. They do not like full shade locations as those tend to be cooler in temperature.

Almost universally, jasmine prefers well-drained soil. However, different cultivars may like it a bit sandier than others. Clay soils are not recommended without serious amendment to lighten the soil content. Also, jasmine is a somewhat heavy feeder, so be prepared to fertilize regularly. If you want the plant to grow rapidly, offer it a higher nitrogen fertilizer, as that tends to cause an explosion of growth which can be good when trying to establish a vine-covered arbor or a larger shrub. If you want flowers, jasmine likes lots of phosphorous to encourage blossom development. You can use a standard balanced fertilizer if you don’t have one ideally suited to jasminum species.

In winter for zones 9-11, mulch to help keep the roots and base of the plant warm unless it is a grafted plant. If it’s grafted, you can still mulch for root warmth, but leave an indentation in the mulch right around the graft joint so that it is not covered.

Water

Jasmine prefers regular watering, and most cultivars require humidity to properly bloom. This is why it’s quite popular in areas like the southeastern US, and why some varieties have become aggressive to the point of being invasive in areas like Florida. If growing indoors, you may wish to ensure your soil is slightly more moist than if it were outdoors, as the evaporation of the water will help aid in blooming – but make sure it’s not soggy!

Pruning

Depending on the varietal of jasmine that you have, pruning may need to be aggressive during warm weather, when the plants have an explosion of growth. For instance, if you are growing a vining variety, you will need to regularly train it to trellis and may need to secure the weaker vines to assist it in holding on. Excess vines should be pinched off regularly, and trimming a vine to length may promote division of the vine.

With a shrub, the goal in pruning is to maintain it as the size/shape of shrub that you wish it to be. Some varieties grow much slower than others, so this may not be a difficult task – but others are surprisingly vigorous and may require regular trimming, especially if used for topiaries or other shaped decorative forms. Be mindful to leave enough vine that it provides protection for the base of the plant whenever possible.

Some grow jasminum officinale as a hedge plant. If doing so, focus initially on trying to promote bushy outward growth. When it has reached the size you desire, regularly pinch or trim excess growth to maintain it at that size.

Propagation

While some varieties of jasmine do set seed, most seed is unreliable and is not guaranteed to germinate. It is easiest to propagate jasmine by taking cuttings about 4-6” in length, applying a coating of root hormone to the cut end, and then placing into a container of potting soil. Some nurseries also offer grafted plants where another jasminum subspecies is grafted onto an officinale root base.


Conclusion

If you don’t want to worry about the sun, shade, watering, fertilizing and pests, the Asian Jasmine is the answer. It will enhance a Chinese, cottage, or tropical-themed garden.

It is hardy and grows with a lovely creeping and twining habit. I love the fragrant creamy-white flowers that it produces in abundance. It adds a pop of all-year color to my garden and attracts birds as an added bonus.

This is a great choice for any shady spot where you want a ground cover or where you want to create a stand-out feature on its own.

I am going to team up my Asian Jasmine up with a companion called a Creeping Juniper. The Creeping Juniper has lighter greeny-yellow leaves and is also a great ground cover.

The leaves will be a lovely contrast to the dark green glossy leaves of the Asian Jasmine.

Marcel runs the place around here. He has a deep passion for houseplants & gardening and is constantly on the lookout for yet another special plant to add to his arsenal of houseplants, succulents & cacti.

Marcel is also the founder of Iseli International Commerce, a sole proprietorship company that publishes a variety of websites and online magazines.


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