Carolina Jasmine (Gelsemium sempervirens)

Gelsemium Sempervirens (Carolina Jessamine)

An evergreen perennial often found growing wild in the southeastern United States, Carolina jasmine grows up to 20 feet tall. All parts of the plant are poisonous if swallowed but are safe to touch. From late winter through spring, clusters of 1- to 1 1/2-inch yellow trumpet-shaped flowers fill the air with fragrance. Hardy in Zones 8-10, the plants start blooming when they are young, so they are effective in container gardens. An airy, delicate texture makes the vine useful for shading or screening as well as for use as a ground cover. It may also be grown indoors, either trained up a trellis or allowed to trail from a hanging container.

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Gelsemium sempervirens

Insider’s secret

CAUTION: All parts of this plant are very poisonous. Carolina jasmine grows best when its roots are shaded and cool, but the vine tolerates either full sun or partial shade. Plant it in rich, well-drained soil with organic matter worked into it. Although a moist soil is ideal, the vine is able to withstand short periods of drought. While the plant is actively growing, apply a balanced fertilizer. Prune immediately after flowering, removing dead or broken branches and shaping the plant. Propagate in spring from stem cuttings of established young growth or from seeds.