Night-blooming jasmine (Cestrum nocturnum) is a fast-growing woody shrub. Part of the Solanaceae family, which also includes potatoes and tomatoes, the plant isn't a true jasmine. It gets its name from the tubular greenish-white or yellow flowers that emit a highly fragrant scent at night and are attractive to butterflies and other pollinators. The shrub has a long bloom period, repeatedly flowering through the summer.
The shrub has a sprawling habit and naturally grows readily from seed during the spring. Despite these aggressive invasive traits (some experts refer to it as a "garden thug"), it's often grown in containers on patios or as a dense border hedge. It also does well as a houseplant or in greenhouses.
All parts of the night-blooming jasmine, but especially the berries, are toxic to people and animals.
|Common Name||Night-blooming jasmine, The lady of the night, poisonberry|
|Botanical Name||Cestrum nocturnum|
|Plant Type||Shrub, Evergreen|
|Mature Size||6-15 ft. tall|
|Sun Exposure||Full sun, Partial shade|
|Soil Type||Moist, Well-drained|
|Soil pH||Acidic, Neutral|
|Bloom Time||Spring, Summer|
|Flower Color||Green, White, Yellow / Golden|
|Hardiness Zones||8-11, USA|
|Native Area||South America, West Indies|
|Toxicity||Toxic to pets, toxic to people|
Night-Blooming Jasmine Care
Because of their wide-spreading roots, it's best to space night-blooming jasmine at least four feet apart. Plant them in the spring when the last of the frosts have passed.
Night-blooming jasmine thrives in moist conditions and can quickly get out of control in tropical regions. It's considered one of Hawai'i's most invasive plant species, and Florida, Kauaʻi, Oahu, Maui, and Lanai also class it as invasive.
This shrub does best when receiving at least six hours of direct sunlight a day; however, it can also cope in partial shade. Excessive shade can reduce the volume of blooms.
Night-blooming jasmine thrives in any fertile, well-draining soil.
These plants are moisture lovers. They need frequent watering to produce healthy, fragrant blooms. While establishing, they might need saturating several times a week and then at least weekly once they have taken root during the growing season. During the dormant winter season, established plants will require minimal watering.
Temperature and Humidity
Night-blooming jasmines do best in warm temperatures with high humidity. Although established plants are hardy to 25 degrees Fahrenheit, new growth won't typically survive in temperatures below 35 degrees Fahrenheit. If temperatures drop below this during the winter, you should grow your plant in a container that you can move indoors.
These plants do best in fertile soil and will appreciate a monthly application of fertilizer while establishing. An annual early spring feeding for mature plants can help produce healthy blooms.
Annual pruning in the fall after flowering has finished encourages thick but compact new growth and reduces the plant's invasive traits as the seeds of the berries won't be dispersed by feeding birds.
Propagating Night-Blooming Jasmine
As you might expect, this fast-growing shrub is easy to propagate from cuttings.
If you take healthy cuttings from the plant in the fall, they can be kept in water until new roots sprout. You can then transplant them to a sunny spot with moist, fertile soil. Don't move them outdoors until the spring when the cold weather has gone.
It's not so easy to cultivate night-blooming jasmine from seed—in wild soils they can remain dormant for years. The berries from the plant should be allowed to ripen and then fall naturally. You can sow the seeds from these berries on the surface of moist, warm compost. If germination is successful, you'll likely see shoots appear within a month.
Common Pests & Plant Diseases
These robust, deer resistant plants don't suffer from too many problems. Aphids and caterpillars, however, can sometimes attack. You can sometimes blast these critters off with a stream of water, and insecticidal soaps or neem oil can also control aphids. Caterpillars are best picked off your plants by hand, but some species can turn into beautiful pollinating butterflies, so you might not want to rid them from your garden.
Is night-blooming jasmine easy to care for?
Providing this plant gets enough water while it's establishing and it's in a humid, sunny position, night-blooming jasmine is pretty low-maintenance and can actually become unruly if not kept in check.
Can night-blooming jasmine grow indoors?
This species is a popular indoor plant. You just need to position it by a sunny window or in a conservatory where it can get enough light to encourage abundant blooms. Because of its love of humidity, it's a plant that can do well in a sunny bathroom. Be aware, however, that up close, the flower fragrance can be rather overpowering.
What plants are similar to night-blooming jasmine?
The shrub is often confused with other Cestrum species that have yellow flowers. For example, Willow-leaved jessamine (Cestrum parqui) is a similar sprawling shrub that also has tubular fragrant flowers, as is orange jessamine (Cestrum aurantiacum).
Guide to Poisonous Plants. Colorado State University.
Cestrum Nocturnum (Night Jasmine). The Invasive Species Compendium.
Night-Blooming Jasmine: How to Grow Cestrum Nocturnum. Master Class.