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.
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, and it is prized by birds.
- Botanical Name: Murraya paniculata
- Common Names: Orange Jasmine, mock orange,
- Plant Type: Evergreen shrub
- Mature Size: 8 to 12 feet tall and wide
- Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
- Soil Type: Loamy, well-drained
- Soil pH: 6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
- Bloom Time: Spring
- Flower Color: White
- Hardiness Zones: 9, 10, 11
- Native Area: Asia, Australia
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. In areas that are colder than USDA plant hardiness zone 10, it can be grown outdoors in summer but must be taken indoors to overwinter. Therefore, it is best grown in containers outside of zone 10 or above.
Orange jasmine plants require protection from hot, direct sunlight. Locate the plant where it receives morning sunlight and afternoon shade, or where it will get broken sunlight or dappled shade all day.
Plant orange jasmine in well-drained soil that it is free of nematodes (roundworms). 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.
Water orange jasmine plants deeply whenever the top 2 inches of soil feel 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.
Temperature and Humidity
As tropical plants, orange jasmine do best in humidity above 50 percent and must have temperatures above 40 degrees Fahrenheit as are not frost-tolerant. The plant can tolerate lower levels of humidity.
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.
Potting and Repotting
When grown in containers, orange jasmine should be repotted when it begins to outgrow the container. To transfer an established plant to a larger container, trim off any dead foliage, removing no more than one-eighth of the total growth. Water the roots thoroughly, then carefully dig up the plant and roots and transplant it to the new container. The roots are fragile, so be especially careful not to damage them in the process.
Propagating Orange Jasmine
Propagation of orange jasmine can be done with seeds or cuttings. it is typically easiest to propagate with stem-tip cuttings. Select a cutting from a portion of the plant that does not have flowers. Strip all leaves from the cutting, and plant it in warm peat, sand, or another rooting medium. If desired, add a rooting hormone to promote root growth. After the cutting has rooted, transfer it to a container. It should grow quickly once established in its new home.
The orange jasmine grows very quickly while young and may need several prunings to keep its shape. 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.
Although this species doesn't usually have problems with diseases, it will attract certain pests. You may see soil nematodes, scale, whiteflies, and sooty mold. Nematodes (roundworms) can be either beneficial or detrimental to the garden; when detrimental, they will attack plants and spread plant viruses. The best way to prevent nematodes is to buy plants from reliable sources (plants can be infected with nematodes at the nursery) and plant them in nematode-free soil. Neem oil can also help control nematodes.
Scale appears as fine white lines or tan, scaly bumps on leaves and stems. They are insects that suck the sap from plants, removing essential nutrients. Treat for scale by pruning infected branches and/or applying a horticultural oil during the insect's hatch.
Whiteflies can transmit diseases to the plant and can promote sooty mold, which is mainly a cosmetic problem. Whiteflies can be controlled with various organic and chemical treatments, including neem oil and horticultural oil, as well as with natural predators, such as ladybugs, lacewing larvae, and whitefly parasite. Sooty mold is a black fungus that appears on leaves and can shade them from sunlight. For general prevention of sooty mold, do not let water sit on the leaves. Eliminating whiteflies and scale helps prevent mold because these insects emit honeydew, which promotes mold growth.