Plant a star in your garden

    • Dress up for the Fourth! Red, white and blue petunias, calibrachoa or combinations of these with lobelia, impatiens and daisies will make a nice display for the Fourth of July.
    • Plant fresh herbs from young plants. Basil, rosemary, thymes, mints and sages are just a few ideas.
    • Pepper plants should be fertilized when the first blossoms open.
    • Feed camellias, azaleas and rhododendrons with an acid plant food now. Remove dead flowers and mulch to keep the soil cool.
    • Check roses for suckers, which are tall, vigorous canes that shoot up from the rootstock. Cut them off as soon as you see them.

Plant a star in your garden

One of the most popular landscape plants in California is known as star jasmine. It is not the true jasmine, but it is a hardier plant and also has a sweetly scented fragrance. There are actually two star jasmines. The commonly planted one is Trachelospermum jasminoides, and the other is the Asian star jasmine, T. asiaticum.

Star jasmine has long been prized for its wonderful fragrance. It normally blooms through June and July with scattered flowers on through the summer. The flowers are about an inch across and are borne in clusters at the ends of the branches. The glossy, dark green leaves make an attractive contrast.

Star jasmine is a plant that can be trained to do almost anything you want. It will climb a trellis, spill over walls, climb fences and drape from hanging baskets. It is also a very graceful ground cover forming a thick cover.

Since it is slower growing than most vines, it is far more suitable for the small private garden or backyard. It can be grown in a large container for many years. Let it grow up a trellis to make a screen for the patio, or over an arbor or archway.

To cover a fence or wall, set the plants about 3 feet apart and start them in the direction you want them to grow. They climb by twining, but you may have to tie them to a trellis to start them growing up. As the plants mature, they grow faster, and can be trimmed lightly to keep them from becoming woody.

Asian star jasmine sends out long trailers on young plants and can be trained right away. It is exceptional for twining up chain link fences. It is more hardy to cold, but the flowers are a little smaller and more cream-colored than its cousin.

If you want to plant star jasmine as a ground cover, set the plants two feet apart. Use a diamond-shaped planting plan to assure good coverage as soon as possible. Any shoots that seem to grow straight up should be removed so that growth can go into the trailing shoots.

Asian star jasmine is most often used for a quick groundcover. It can be used to fill odd-sized areas or as coverage on banks and slopes. It will grow 1–2 feet high and should be sheared regularly to 6 inches high keep it tidy. The regular star jasmine forms a solid ground cover when sheared to 2 feet tall. Set plants 3 feet apart and they will fill in nicely.

Plant star jasmine in full sun or where it receives afternoon shade. Keep them well watered and weeded. A program of feeding every spring and late summer will help them grow and cover as soon as possible. Star jasmine is slow to take off growing so if you want to cover an area quickly, you might want to start with larger plants.

Both star jasmines are good-looking all year, and make a nice backdrop for other flowering plants. Use star jasmine near an entry or along a walk so you can enjoy the wonderful fragrance of their star-like flowers.

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