Filling the air with the sweet smell of orange blossoms, orange jasmine is a welcome addition to a garden in a tropical climate and a great choice if you’re looking to attract bees, birds, or butterflies. If you live in a cold climate, you can still enjoy it by growing orange jasmine indoors.
The leaves of this evergreen shrub are oval, shiny, and a deep green extending from interesting, gnarled branches. At maturity, which can take three to four years, the shrub can grow to eight to 12 feet tall and wide, with a round growth habit. Orange jasmine is best planted in the spring.
Clusters of small, highly fragrant flowers first appear in the spring, followed by bright reddish-orange berries in summer that are sought after by birds. Flowering occurs repeatedly throughout the year.
|Common Name||Orange jasmine, orange jessamine, satinwood, mock orange|
|Botanical Names||Murraya paniculata, Chalcas paniculata|
|Mature Size||8-12 ft. tall, 8-12 ft. wide|
|Sun Exposure||Full, partial|
|Soil Type||Loamy, well-drained|
|Soil pH||Acidic, neutral, alkaline|
|Bloom Time||Spring, summer, fall|
|Hardiness Zones||10-12 (USDA)|
|Native Area||Asia, Australia|
Orange Jasmine Plant Care
Other than making sure that you plant it in suitable conditions, and keeping your orange jasmine watered and fertilized, the element of plant care that requires the most attention is pruning. Orange jasmine can be trained into a small tree and used as a hedge by pruning often when it is young since it grows rapidly.
In areas below USDA plant hardiness zone 10, you should only grow the plant in a container so you can move it outside during the summer and take it back indoors to overwinter.
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 dappled sunlight or dappled shade all day.
Plant orange jasmine in well-drained soil that 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. The shrub does best in moderately acidic, neutral, or moderately alkaline soil with a pH between 6.6 and 7.5.
Water orange jasmine plants deeply whenever the top two inches of soil feels dry to the touch. As a general rule, one inch of water per week is about right. However, more frequent irrigation may be needed if you live in a hot climate or if the plant is in a container. Never allow it to stand in muddy soil or water.
Temperature and Humidity
As tropical plants, orange jasmine does best in humidity above 50 percent and must have temperatures above 40 degrees Fahrenheit, as they 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 (spring through fall), using a fertilizer designed for evergreen plants. Alternatively, if the plant is in a container, apply a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer formulated for evergreen shrubs. For the amount to use, follow the product label instructions.
Varieties of Orange Jasmine
While cultivars of orange jasmine do exist, they are not easily available outside of the plant's native range. If you are looking for a plant whose flowers are reminiscent of orange blossoms, consider these two alternative species:
- Mock orange (Philadelphus coronarius), hardy to USDA zone 4
- Mexican orange (Choisya ternata) for USDA hardiness zones 7 to 10
Orange jasmine grows very quickly while young and may need repeated pruning to maintain its shape. Prune as needed to take out 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.
Propagating Orange Jasmine
The plant can be propagated from stem-tip cuttings in the spring or early summer:
- Using a sharp knife or pruners, take a four-inch cutting from a portion of the plant that does not have flowers. Strip all but the top couple of leaves from the cutting.
- Fill a four-inch pot with a lightweight potting mix and water it until it is evenly moistened. Dip the snipped end of the cutting in rooting hormone and insert it in the soil about one inch deep.
- Place the cutting in a bright location outdoors but away from direct sunlight. Once you see new growth, the cutting has rooted. Transplant it to a larger container or in garden soil. Once it is established, it should grow quickly.
Growing Orange Jasmine from Seed
Propagating the plant from cuttings is the easiest method, as seeds are not widely available and germination may take more than a month, but if you want to give it a try with seeds that you have collected from your plant, you can start them indoors. Here's how to do it:
- Extract the seeds from the fruit. Soak the seeds in water for a couple of hours.
- Place the seeds on the surface of seed pots filled with sterile potting mix. Do not cover them, they need light to germinate.
- Keep the seeds evenly moist but not wet at a temperature of around 82 degrees Fahrenheit. The location should be bright but not exposed to direct sunlight. The seeds germinate in 30 to 40 days. Once the seedling has several sets or true leaves, transplant it into a larger container or in garden soil.
Potting and Repotting Orange Jasmine
When grown in containers, orange jasmine should be repotted when it begins to outgrow the container. To transfer an established plant into a larger container (opt for a new pot that's two inches wider), trim off any dead foliage, removing no more than one-eighth of the total growth. The roots of orange jasmine are fragile. To avoid damaging them during transplanting, water the plant well beforehand so you can pull out the plant and root ball along with the soil and transfer it to the new container. Gently backfill with potting mix around the root ball and water well to settle the soil.
Below USDA zone 10, potted orange jasmine must be brought indoors for the winter. Place it in a bright room or on a sunny windowsill and water it regularly.
Common Pests and Plant Diseases
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 insects appear as fine white lines or tan, scaly bumps on leaves and stems. They 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 parasites.
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.
How to Get Orange Jasmine to Bloom
If your shrub looks healthy but does not bloom, the reason could be too much nitrogen from lawn runoff, which triggers leaf growth but no flowers. You can counter this by feeding the plant a fertilizer high in phosphorus (P), which encourages blooming. For the amount to use, follow the product label instructions.
Is murraya the same as jasmine?
Is orange jasmine invasive?
The shrub is listed as invasive in parts of Australia where home gardeners are encouraged to plant cultivars that are non-seeding to prevent the uncontrolled spreading of the plant.
Does orange jasmine have deep roots?
The plant has a taproot that grows deep into the soil. The roots are not considered invasive though.
Introduction to Plant-Parasitic Nematodes. The American Phytopathological Society, 2009, doi:10.1094/PHI-I-2002-1218-01
Sooty Mold. University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.