By William Mills
Jasminum officinale and nudiflorum
Summer Jasmine has white flowers while the winter variety nudiflorum produces yellow ones and being more hardy can be left outside in winter.
Jasmine is a climbing plant needing a framework to support its rapidly growing green vines from which the stems produce small fragrant flowers in abundance.
From these oil of Jasmine, prized by aromatherapists for its soothing properties, is obtained.
Jasmine care guide
The keys to success are fresh air, some sunshine and correct watering.
Get this wrong and your beloved plant can’t absorb its nutrients soon showing its distress with yellowing leaves which in turn curl and fall.
An unhappy plant can be swiftly cured with a little remedial attention, your knowledge and care being rewarded with a new green shoot or delicate red bud leading to a successful flowering.
Guests can feel more at home if a picture of health greets them in the form of a blooming plant radiating appreciation for its successful owner.
Water is usually described as being either hard or soft depending on where we live. Certain areas which are fed by lakes, Manchester for example, have soft water which makes soap lather more. On the other hand the South Downs are formed from chalk which makes water extremely hard.
One of the measures is acidity. The pH scale runs from 1-14. Below pH 7 it’s acidic and above it’s alkaline.
Rain water is supposed to be pH 7 or neutral although Northern European rain sometimes is slightly acidic due to falling through clouds laced with industrial pollution.
We need to establish the plant’s correct pH, which in the case of Jasmine it’s pH 6.5. This is slightly acidic, so watering it with rainwater is ideal.
If you don’t have the facility to catch any, don’t despair, the local aquatic shops sell for fish tanks specially filtered water known as RO, or reverse osmosis.
It’s pH neutral and cheaper than buying distilled water from car distributors.
A mixture of half rainwater and half tap water is a good solution if the plant needs more alkaline.
When watering a useful tip is to stand your plant on a draining board and soak with tepid water until it drains through. Lift the pot and try to gage its weight.
Try this every few days and you will notice it becoming lighter. If the pot gives a hollow sound when tapped it’s ready for watering again.