Asiatic Jasmine, or Asian Jasmine, Trachelospermum asiaticum, is one of the tried and true ground covers for Central Florida. This drought hardy plant is evergreen, pest-free and requires very little care or maintenance.
Driving through older neighborhoods this is the plant that Mike and I often point at and say, “someday ours will look that good” or “whoa, check out their jasmine.” Truly, these are the things I say when we are driving around!
How long does it take to establish Trachelospermum asiaticum?
It depends. There are several things that factor in for this:
Size of plants. Will you be planting 4″ plants or full gallons? The larger plants will establish more quickly and fill in faster. They will also be more expensive. I think that in an ideal world we would all want to plant 1-gallon plants but that just doesn’t always work out in the budget.
Spacing of plants. To reference the previous factor, this will greatly impact the cost of your landscape project. Planting closer together will reduce the amount of time it takes for your groundcover to look nice and full, but it will also cost more for those additional plants.
From UF’s Jasmine Project I found this data: The recommended spacing for Trachelospermum asiaticum is 12-inch centers between plants in 4-inch pots, and 18-inch centers for 1-gallon pots. Thus, a 10 ft x 50 ft area would require 245 1-gallon plants, which would then take 4 to 6 months to fill in the empty space between plants.
Irrigation. Watering your plants regularly after planting will help them to establish more quickly and start to fill in the empty space. While they will not need to be watered forever, this will help them to grow while you are getting started.
Light levels. A little bit of shade will help keep your new plants more moist and better prepared to grow. We planted ours in full sun and they did just fine. In hind sight, I probably should have watered them more the first year to help them fill in more quickly so that I wouldn’t have to pull as many weeds.
This is the hardest part of replacing turfgrass with groundcover. While your groundcovers are getting established and beginning to grow, the weeds in that area will be doing the same. Weeds always grow faster than our desired plants. Its a rule.
New plants have to be weeded, there isn’t a good way around that one. You can put down a layer of mulch when you first plant and that will help suppress some of the weeds. If there is space between plants you can spray with a herbicide.
The good news is that after the first year or so you DO have options! You can spray jasmine with RoundUp at a reduced rate to kill weeds and have your Asiatic jasmine be just fine. Again from UF, “When NOT actively growing, Asiatic jasmine is quite tolerant of “Roundup Original” (no surfactant added) herbicide applications. It can be sprayed with a low rate (1 oz per gallon) to kill any weeds and not be damaged – although once plants are established, weeds are rarely a problem.” So spray anytime from May- January and you should be fine. I try to only do this as a “hot spot” treatment, but it is quite effective.
This groundcover is not a climbing plant that you have to trim often. If ignored for long periods of time it may start to move up the trunk of a tree or shrubs, but this is a very slow process. It can be trimmed for a very formal appearance, but it isn’t necessary. I trim ours off of the sidewalk to keep it looking clean, and I think this is probably the one part where it does need the care. I prefer to use hedge shears turned to the side for this, but I’ve also seen people use an edger or even a string trimmer successfully.