House Plants/Indoor Jasmine
QUESTION: Hi Will,
I live in Zone 7. I have an indoor Jasmine - not sure which kind. When I bought it in Jan this year - there were many many buds set in already. I think I kept it in a low lit spot - it lost most of its buds. So now I have it in an east facing window - where it gets about 2 hrs of direct morning sun. And indirect light post that.
My question is - 1.the few of the buds that survived are showing no signs of blooming. For the past month I have been fertilizing it every 2 weeks with a 10-20-10 water based fertilizer.
2. No new buds have appeared.
3. The plant is sending out new leaves and growth continuously and since I havent staked it - its getting a bit messy. Should I be pruning it?? How does one prune a jasmine?
What can I do to promote blooming, buds on my plant?
ANSWER: Hi Farah,
Yes, the low light is the likely reason that the buds fell off. I'm surprised you still have some remaining. It's possible they may open, but unlikely. There is nothing special you can do to get them to open at this point. Most likely you will not get any new buds until next winter.
Jasmine polyanthum is a winter blooming plant that requires varying conditions throughout the year. During its foliage growing season from spring through summer, it requires lots of direct indoor sunlight or outdoor light shade. In the fall, it needs a gradual drop in temperatures to below 50 degrees F. These cool fall temps are necessary for the Jasmine to set buds and that is why they can be frustrating as houseplants. When temperatures drop to freezing, it is best to move your Jasmine inside to a cool location (below 65 degrees F.) with bright indirect sunlight.
It is also important to keep your Jasmine quite potbound and well watered if you want it to flower again. Don't fertilize more than once per month and only at half the recommended label strength.
If you get all of this right, then you can expect flowers in late January or early February Ė just when you most need them! This is a difficult regimen for most homeowners, so I usually recommend that they consider this carefully before deciding to purchase one.
As for pruning, in good conditions Jasmine is a fast grower during the warmer months. It can quickly get out of hand with many very long vines. Its appearance will be enhanced if you keep it well pruned so as to maintain a full, compact appearance. In addition, flowers appear only on new growth. That means if you donít prune every year, then after a few years, the flowers will appear only at the ends of the very long stems that have developed. I recommend pruning back your Jasmine by about half at the end of its winter flowering cycle. That means if the stems are a foot long, then prune them back to about 6 inches. After that, let it fill out to the shape and fullness that you desire and then start pinching out new growth as it emerges. Very long stems can be pruned back to a length of 6 inches or less. New growth will then grow out from just below that pruning cut. Remember, pruning does not harm the plant in any way.
Important: Stop any pruning and pinching after July as flower buds will start to form in late summer and you donít want to remove any of them.
I have written a detailed article on Jasmine care that I will email for free to you (or anyone else) who sends a request to me at wcreed@HorticulturalHelp.com.
Please let me know if any of this is unclear or if you have any additional questions.
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Will Creed, Interior Landscaper
Horticultural Help, NYC
Visit my website at www.HorticulturalHelp.com
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Thank you Will.
You were really helpful.
I do have one clarification though.
So you're saying, now until July it's time to prune my jasmine plant?
And when I prune, should I prune it all at once or go one branch at a time?
It's there any particular spot to cut it at?
Thanks so much
ANSWER: Hi Farah,
Yes, now is a good time to start pruning. As a general rule, cut back most of the stems by about half. That will probably cause it to look more sparse than you would prefer. But it will soon put out new growth and fill out. When it fills out to your taste, then pinch off the new shoots as they emerge to maintain that appearance until July. It will continue to grow some after midsummer, but it may also start to form buds on the new growth and you don't want to prune or pinch those off.
Pruning is as much art as science because it is done to primarily create and maintain an appropriate appearance. In that sense it is like cutting hair. You will get better at it as you do it more and see how it grows in after you prune.
Your initial pruning should be all or most of the stems simultaneously. Prune just above the node where the leaves attach to the stem so that you don't leave unsightly stem stubs.
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Hello Will,
So as per your directions, I pruned my jasmine plant, kept pinching until the end of July. The plant sent up 2 buds - both of which opened for a day and then fell off.
The plant is still growing, I still get to see loads of new growth - which I am NOT pinching any more. For the past 2 weeks I am seeing a new development - some of the older leaves are just shriveling and drying up - completely at random.
I checked under the leaves - I dont see any aphids or mites. There is no pool of water under the pot.
I'm just wondering - if the plant is getting pot bound - I can see lots of root-lets coming out from the holes under the pot. Is it time to re-pot?
Is there anything I should be or shouldnt be doing?
It is hard to diagnose from distance as I can't see just how much older foliage you are losing. It is quite normal for some older leaves to die back after new growth has come in. This is not a cause for concern. If there is a lot of leaf loss, then it is probably a watering issue. Jasmine are not very forgiving of even minor watering lapses. I assume you have improved the light so that should not be a problem.
Roots quite naturally come through drain holes and that is NOT at all an indication that the plant needs a larger pot. As long as a thorough watering is sufficient to keep the roots moist for 3 days or more, then a larger pot is not warranted. If you do repot now, you will take your Jasmine out of its flowering cycle and may not get flowers for a long time. So, if the soil is drying out less than every 3 days, then it is better to water more often than to repot. I also suggest that you trim off roots as they emerge from the drain holes.
Otherwise, be patient and start to reduce nighttime temps as the days shorten in the fall.