Filling the air with the sweet smell of orange blossoms, orange jasmine (Murraya paniculata) is a welcome addition to any tropical garden. It is included within the Rutaceae (citrus) family and is known as orange jessamine, mock orange, chalcas, or satinwood. Orange jasmine is a great choice if you’re looking to attract bees, birds, or butterflies to your garden. Caring for Murraya orange jasmine is also surprisingly simple.
Orange Jasmine's Appearance
This lovely plant is a compact evergreen shrub with oval, shiny, deep green leaves that can get up to 2 3/4 inches long, extending from interesting, gnarled branches. At maturity, this plant will be 8 to 12 feet tall and wide, creating a large, round shrub.
Clusters of small, fragrant flowers bloom in spring, followed by bright reddish-orange berries in summer. The flowers are very fragrant and smell like orange blossoms and flowering will occur year-round. The fruit is 1/2 to 1 inch long and red. It is prized by birds.
Planting and Exposure Requirements
This species is best suited for growing in Zones 9 through 11. It originally comes from Asia and Australia and propagation is through seeds and cuttings.
Orange jasmine plants require protection from hot, direct sunlight. When growing Murraya orange jasmine, locate the plant where it receives morning sunlight and afternoon shade, or alternatively, where it is in broken sunlight or dappled shade all day.
Water and Food Guidelines
Plant orange jasmine in well-drained soil that it is free of nematodes (roundworms). Water orange jasmine plants deeply whenever the top two inches of soil feels dry to the touch. As a general rule, once per week is about right. However, more frequent irrigation may be needed if you live in a hot climate, or if the orange jasmine plant is in a container. Never allow the plant to stand in muddy soil or water—well-drained soil is critical, as orange jasmine doesn’t do well in waterlogged soil. If your soil lacks drainage, improve soil conditions by adding organic material such as compost, chopped bark, or leaf mulch.
Feed orange jasmine plants once every three to four weeks throughout the growing season using a fertilizer manufactured for evergreen plants. Alternatively, if the plant is in a container, apply a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer.
Maintenance and Pruning
The orange jasmine grows very quickly while young and may need several prunings to keep its shape. You will also want to prune as needed to manage branches that are dead, damaged, or diseased. Avoid harsh pruning—it’s best not to remove more than one-eighth of the shrub’s total growth per year.
Orange jasmine can be trained into a small tree and can be used as a hedge, which will require pruning often when it is young since it grows rapidly.
Pests and Diseases
Although this species doesn't usually have problems with diseases, it will attract certain pests. You may see soil nematodes, scales, whiteflies, and sooty mold. Nematodes (or roundworms) can be either beneficial or detrimental to the garden—the latter will attack plants and spread plant viruses. Scales are insects that suck the sap from plants, removing essential nutrients, and whiteflies can transmit diseases to the plant. They also cause sooty mold, which is mainly a cosmetic problem—a black fungus appears on the leaves, blocking some of the sunlight.