Madison Star Cold-Hardy JasmineTrachelospermum jasminoides ‘Madison’
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Trachelospermum jasminoides ‘Madison’
Outdoor Growing zone
Full Sun, Partial Sun, Shade
The Madison Cold-hardy Star Jasmine is an evergreen vine with thin, wiry stems carrying glossy green leaves. It will grow to about 12 feet long, either spreading across the ground or climbing up trellis on a wall or across a fence. I spring it is covered completely in clusters of white flowers with petals arranged like the blades on a windmill. These give out a rich fragrance very similar to the true jasmine. Use it as ground cover under trees or in the sun, to cover a fence, or to grow up the wall of your houses. This variety is exceptionally cold-resistant, growing well beyond the normal range of the star jasmine.
The Madison Cold-hardy Star Jasmine will grow in full sun, with afternoon shade, or in light full shade – flowering is best with at least 6 hours of sun a day. It is fully winter-hardy in zone 7, while other varieties are only barely hardy in zone 8. It grows in any well-drained soil, preferring richer soils with a steady supply of moisture. However, established plants are tough and very drought tolerant in summer. Pests, diseases and deer don’t bother it, and it needs no special care or attention.
Until now, the wonder and beauty of the star jasmine has only been available to those who live in the South. So much so that this beautiful evergreen climber is often called ‘Confederate Jasmine’, even though it actually first came from China. If you visit the South in April, you will be blown away by the delicious fragrance and sheer beauty of the star-like white flowers that smother walls and fences. Well now, with the arrival of the cold-hardy Madison Star Jasmine, you can enjoy it even if you live in zone 7, and even in sheltered spots in zone 6, or inside a glassed-in porch or sunroom anywhere. Discovered in a garden in Georgia, this terrific variety is just like the regular star jasmine, but way, way more cold-resistant. The glossy green leaves make a lovely cover over the ground or a fence, and the delightful flowers, with their white petals arranged like a windmill, make this a great plant to have. Oh, yes, it’s also very easy to grow, and tolerates everything from full sun to full shade.
The Madison Star Jasmine is a twining and creeping evergreen vine, with thin stems that sprawl across the ground, or twist, with a little help, around trellis or chain-link. The leaves are arranged along the stems in pairs, and each leaf is up to 2½ inches long, a pointed oval with a leathery texture and a smooth, dark-green glossy surface. The underside of the leaf is covered in a soft brown felt, which distinguishes this variety from normal star jasmine, and could be the secret to its cold hardiness. Around April this plant is covered profusely in clusters of white flowers. These are between ½ and 1 inch across, with 5 slim, spread-out petals, arranged like the blades of a windmill. In the center is the entrance to a narrow tube, with a creamy-white mouth. The flowers give of a rich, tropical fragrance which is very much like the scent of true jasmine. It fills the air around it, especially in the evenings, and spreads across your garden – you will feel like you live in a tropical paradise. Bees and other insects love to gather nectar from it. A plant in bloom is very beautiful, and even without blooms the foliage makes a lovely green carpet on the ground, or covering a fence. The Madison Star Jasmine is also inclined to produce a scattering of flower clusters in summer, as an added bonus.
Grow the Madison Star Jasmine either as a ground cover or as a climbing vine – it works perfectly either way. It makes a great carpet over blank ground, in sun or shade, and turns an ugly wire fence into a thing of beauty. Train it on a trellis up the wall of your home. If you live in a truly cold zone, don’t despair, because it grows well in a large tub, trained up canes, trellis or a moss pillar into a column. It can be kept outdoors when temperatures are above freezing, and then brought into a cool, well-lit porch or sun-room for the coldest months – everyone can grow this lovely plant, anywhere.
The Madison Star Jasmine is uniquely cold resistant, surviving at the cold end of zone 8 and all through zone 7. Regular star jasmine enjoys zone 9, and warmer parts of zone 8 only. It could even survive, perhaps on a sunny wall of a house, in zone 6, or of course you can grow it in a tub and protect it for winter.
The Madison Star Jasmine will grow all the way from full sun, through partial shade, into light full shade. Flowering is best in full sun, especially in zone 7, and in warmer zones some shade in the afternoons is useful, particularly through the summer months. It grows well in ordinary well-drained soil of most types, and even in the soil beneath mature trees – a real bonus. Established plants have good drought tolerance.
The Madison Star Jasmine may need some help beginning to grow up a trellis – simply thread the stems back and forth through it as needed. Once established it will grow and twine freely. It does benefit from richer soil, so use mulch as needed to conserve moisture, and keep container plants watered regularly. Use some shrub fertilizer outdoors, and liquid flowering-plant fertilizer for pots. It can be trimmed after flowering as needed – new growth will soon sprout from the stems.
The star jasmine, Trachelospermum jasminoides, grows in Asia, from southern Korea through warm parts of China and Japan into Vietnam. This twining plant can grow 20 feet or more in the wild. It was introduced into England in 1844, and probably arrived separately to America around the same time, given the extensive trade with China, and the many ships that docked in Savanna to unload Chinese goods. It soon became popular in the South, although not everyone thinks it is called ‘Confederate jasmine’ after the southern confederacy.
Jane Symmes and her daughter Jean used to run a wholesale plant nursery founded in 1966 by her husband, John. The nursery was at Cedar Lane Farm, an old Confederate property from 1840, in Madison, Georgia. One day a friend asked Jane why she wasn’t growing the Confederate Jasmine. She said it wasn’t really hardy in Madison, which is between zones 7 and 8. The friend said that she had a plant that certainly was hardy. It had been growing on her property for over 150 years, and survived cold snaps below zero degrees. Jane tried it, and sure enough it survived winters well, so she began to grow it, giving it the name ‘Madison’.
The Madison Star Jasmine was a Georgia Gold Medal Winner plant in 2007 – a tribute to its cold-hardiness and usefulness in gardens. We know how many people love this plant, and how quickly it will be shipped out, so order now, while our limited supply is still available.