If I haven’t had time to pot up bulbs for the house before Christmas I usually nip into Homebase around New Year to snap up some bulb sale bargains. This year I treated myself to a hoop of Jasmine polyanthum and now the kitchen is filled with its heady scent and the expectation of six weeks of flowers.
There is something rather old fashioned and charming about this plant. I’m tempted to buy one most years and generally it fades away after flowering. I’m not intuitive with houseplants so I decided to do some research on caring for this specimen to give her more of a fighting chance.
I discovered that this is an easy plant to care for and should flower year after year given the right conditions. Ah there’s the rub! We now have it on a south west facing windowsill behind the sink which suits its need for a moist atmosphere. This should be supplemented with an occasional spray from a plant mister (she had her first shower this morning). Try to avoid putting jasmine near a radiator as this could dry out the leaves and stress the plant. You can counteract the dangers of a warm, dry position by standing the plant on a tray of damp gravel. Ideally the temperature should be relatively cool, no more than 15c and no less than 4c. Beware, if houseplants are on a windowsill, behind curtains at night it can get very chilly.
Jasmine flowers on new wood so only prune it in the spring, after the plant had finished flowering. Don’t rush to do this after the first flowers are over as there is often a second flush. So give it a good month before reaching for the secatuers. We will probably re-pot ours so as it will be less likely to dry out when it’s put outside for the summer. This is their preferred summer holiday destination (a nice long one that stretches until the autumn.) Apparently they can grow vigorously so if she survives her sojourn in the kitchen we’ll award her with a bigger hoop. Then all we have to do is to water and feed her regularly through the summer and tuck in extranious growth .
Tomato food is ideal and a dose of this every couple of weeks will ensure a decent show of flowers next January.
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