Of the many types of jasmine, there is one that stands out as an indoor plant: J. polyanthum. This delightful plant goes by different common names (pink jasmine, Chinese jasmine, winter-blooming jasmine, or just jasmine), so you might need to inquire carefully. The true J. polyanthum is a vining species that needs a light support, pruning, and flowers with a profusion of pink blossoms in the winter—a rarity in the world of houseplants. Still, even if you get another variety of jasmine, they are all candidates for indoor growth, including orange jasmine, lake jasmine, and Arabian jasmine. They vary in difficulty to grow, so if you're not experienced with jasmine, I'd suggest a basic J. polyanthum first. They are wonderful plants and are known for their strong night-time fragrance that will light up your house.
- Light: It varies by species. The J. polyanthum prefers bright light and can even handle some direct sunlight.
- Water: Never let the compost dry out, even during the winter when the plant is in bloom. Good drainage is important, too, so ideally, the soil should be lightly moist all year, but never saturated.
- Soil: Any standard peat-based or coir-based potting with added drainage material will do a good job.
- Fertilizer: Feed with a weak liquid fertilizer throughout the growing season.
Vining jasmine can be easily propagated by stem-tip cuttings. Take the cuttings at the same time you repot the plant. To increase your chances of success, use a rooting hormone and place the cuttings in a warm, bright location with high humidity and a steady, but careful, supply of water. New growth should emerge in a few weeks.
Repot in the spring. Because these are vining plants, you'll have to prune them somewhat aggressively at the beginning of the growing season to control rampant growth and provide some growing support. These are commonly grown with an arch for growth support, and the plant is allowed to twine around the arch and provide a pretty focal point. Be careful not to let your jasmine run you—keep it pruned, and it will be healthier and easier to manage.
The J. polyanthum is the most popular indoor jasmine, but it's by no means the most popular jasmine in cultivation in areas that can support jasmine. You might also find J. primulinum, or primrose jasmine, which has a shrub-like growth habit and yellow, non-fragrant flowers. Orange jasmine is another wonderful species; this plant features small white flowers that a delicate citrusy scent and small glossy leaves. Lakeview jasmine is also a popular non-vining plant, with white, fragrant flowers much like the orange jasmine. If you're not certain what variety of plant you're dealing with, ask whether the plant grows as a twining vine or as a shrub and adjust your plans accordingly. Keep in mind, though, that jasmine that is non-twining will still need aggressive pruning in the early spring to remain contained.
To grow jasmine well, provide it some direct sunlight in the summer, constant moisture throughout the year (although a bit drier in the winter), and cooler temperatures in the fall to stimulate flowering. These plants are much more cold tolerant than many people think and have no problem tolerating fall temperatures of 40˚F. If your plant doesn't bloom, chances are it didn't get a cool period in the fall it needs to stimulate blooms. A healthy jasmine vine can be kept for many years, providing you keep it well pruned and in fresh potting soil—you shouldn't have to jump these up in container size once they reach your desired size, but you will have to occasionally refresh the roots by root pruning them and providing fresh potting soil. Jasmine is vulnerable to pests including aphids, mealy bugs, scale, and white fly. If possible, identify the infestation as early as possible and treat with the leave toxic option.