Gelsemium sempervirens
Common Name: Carolina yellow jasmine 
Type: Vine
Family: Gelsemiaceae
Native Range: Southern United States, Mexico, Guatemala
Zone: 7 to 10
Height: 12.00 to 20.00 feet
Spread: 3.00 to 6.00 feet
Bloom Time: February to April
Bloom Description: Yellow
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy, Fragrant

Culture

Winter hardy to USDA Zones 7-10 where it is best grown in moist, organically rich, well-drained soils in full sun. Tolerates light shade, but best flowering and growth occur in full sun. Plants will grow as a twining vine or if unsupported as a bushy ground cover. Plants may survive winter in the Missouri boot heel but not in St. Louis. If attempted in the St. Louis area, it should be sited in a protected location insulated from winter winds.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Gelsemium sempervirens, commonly called false jasmine or false jessamine, is an evergreen twining vine that is native from Virginia to Florida west to Texas and Central America. It is typically found in open woods, thickets and along roads. Bright, fragrant, funnel-shaped, yellow flowers (to 1.5” long) appear either solitary or in clusters (cymes) in late winter to early spring (February – April depending on location). Flowers often serve as a demonstrative signal that winter is coming to an end. As a vine, false jasmine grows on wiry reddish-brown stems to 20’ long. As a bushy ground cover, it grows to 3’ tall and will sprawl somewhat indefinitely by runners. Shiny, lanceolate, light green leaves (to 1-3” long) are evergreen, but may develop yellow to purple hues in winter. Plants are semi-evergreen toward the northern limits of their growing range. Flowers and foliage are poisonous if ingested. The name of this vine is varyingly spelled as jasmine or jessamine. Carolina jessamine was named the official flower of South Carolina in 1924.

Genus name comes from the Latinized version of gelsomino the Italian name for jasmine.

Specific epithet means ever green.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems.

Garden Uses

Grow as a vine on a trellis, arbor, pergola, fence or wall. Good porch cover. Formal ground cover. Informal ground cover for slopes or banks where it can sprawl and naturalize. Containers for patios where it can sprawl over the sides. Climb into smaller trees where early flowering is especially noticeable.