night blooming jasmine

icast3(z7 ok)August 5, 2004

I bought a night blooming jasmine in Florida and brought it back to Okla. last March. It has bloomed twice and is getting ready to again. I love this plant.I kept it inside until it started staying above 70. Some of the leaves have started to turn white. They start out turning white on the tips and then spread to the entire leaf. I have looked for bugs but don't see any. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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I have one too and I LOVE it. Mine lost all leaves back in May so I cut some dead branches off & it came back ---getting ready to bloom again. Try pruning a little?????

    Bookmark   August 6, 2004 at 1:28AM
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mehitabel(z6 MO)

Hi, icast. My guess is that after being inside for so long, it got too much sun too fast. White leaves often are a result of sunburn.

But Patty is right, this is a very tough plant and will come back if that is the problem. Pruning stimulates growth on this one.

Give a plant at least a week to make the transition from inside to sun, first putting into shade and gradually increasing the amount of sun over a week to ten day period.

Cestrum is pretty hardy-- you can put it outside when nights are still below 50. It freezes at 32, and waits for nights to get warm before really starting to grow, but isn't damaged by, say 40's.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2004 at 10:00AM
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My night blooming jasmine had the same problem after I moved it from indoor to outdoors. The problem went away after I moved the plant to a more shady spot under the eaves of my house, so it's sunburn for sure.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2004 at 12:19PM
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Yes, mine does that as well. Isn't the fragrance spectacular? I think the plant I have must be as old as the house, 40+ years, and huge and very leggy. I don't think anyone has ever pruned it. I am afraid to do drastic pruning and kill it. Any suggestions?
Mahalo, Melanie

    Bookmark   August 6, 2004 at 7:56PM
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mehitabel(z6 MO)

Hi, HulaGal. With a huge old leggy shrub, it's safe to cut back 1/3 of the branches each year, taking 3 years to renew the shrub. This works on pussy willow, forsythia, lilacs and other such shrubs. Even lavender. Should work on cestrum which is even more vigorous, if anything.

However, if you're happy with it as is, you don't have to prune it. Some old temperate zone shrubs are just a huge pile of long sticks with a few tufts of leaves on top. If it's like that, try the 1/3 cut and see what happens. Taking 1/3 won't kill it, and you'll have a chance to see if it sprouts below the cut.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2004 at 10:31PM
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Thanks mehitabel, I have been doing that here and there. I guess I just need to get in there and get ruthless! It just has no shape and I am trying to get it out of my hibiscus. The previous owners just let everything get grown into one big hedge but nothing stands out like it should. The hibiscus is gorgeous and I didn't even know it was there for 2 months!

    Bookmark   August 6, 2004 at 11:56PM
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icast3(z7 ok)

Thank you all for you help. I will put it in a nice shady spot and gradually introduce to the sun. Since it has been outside the blooms are sprouting up all over. After it has finished blooming I will trim it back as you suggested. Since this is in a container I need to keep it compac.How much should I trim it and is there a certain time to do this? I also would like suggestions on what to do in the winter. I have a sun room but the temp in it stays about 50-60 degrees. As you can tell I'm real green (lol) at this but I love this plant and want to keep it around for a long time. Again thank you all.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2004 at 8:33AM
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mehitabel(z6 MO)

Hi, icast. Your cestrum will do fine in your sunroom at 50-60F. It can probably take a light frost for an hour or two without much dieback. Cut back on the water in winter, ie keep dryish.

About keeping it compact, you can't. I had one last year that after one year had outgrown its 16" pot. I have one this year that I got about a month ago and it's already grown out of an 10". A pot will limit the growth (it won't get 40 feet high), but it can't be stopped because it droops when it wants water, and you can't stand looking at it, so you water and it grows some more. Mine was as tall as me in one summer.

The roots seem to fill a pot in a month or two, and then it just droops and you have to water it every day, sometimes twice a day outdoors in summer.

Trim to shape it, but it will sprout two branches from below every cut, so trimming will not keep it small, merely ensure new growth.

Put your trimmings in water with a little superthrive in it and you may get roots. This one does root in water.

Hulagirl: a garden like that is a lot of work, but many wonderful discoveries. I can tell you love it. The garden, maybe the work :)

    Bookmark   August 7, 2004 at 11:39AM
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icast-mehitabel is right, the plant is not a compact plant. It has a very lacy open weeping branching habit.
You want to prune it right after it blooms because it blooms on new growth. You could try pruning the roots also if you don't want it to outgrow the pot.

mehitabel - It IS a lot of work but you're right, I love it.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2004 at 1:41PM
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meixue(10 CA, Bay Area)

Icast, mine did the exact same thing. I had it in my office at work (stop laughing Clare, if you're listening). I brought it home and put it out on the hot cement in full sun (because thats what I read these plants like) and it was so badly sunburned I had to snip off 1/4 of the leaves. I put it under a tree with dappled sun and it took off, I dont know what happened, maybe the hot cement induced it to set buds or something but after I moved it to the dappled sun I'd say 3 days later I had a bush FULL of buds. Its fragrance is truly a treat. I'm planing to move it into more direct sun hopefully tomorrow if I can find space on the patio cement (already loaded with sun loving plants). The plant is growing really bushy and big and even though I prune it relentlessly its still leggier than I'd like but its getting better. Good luck with yours, hope it will bounce right back.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2004 at 1:48AM
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icast3(z7 ok)

Thanks again for all your support. What a great place to make new friends and get help with our plants. I did do two cuttings when I trimmed it. I left them in water for about 6 weeks till they got some good roots going then planted them in a 16in pot. Boy have they taken off. I'm going to do it again when I cut it back and this time use the root stimulator. I would like to be able to plant some of these outside but I'm afraid that our winters here would kill it. I'll try one of my cuttings next summer after it has had a chance to grow some good roots and see how it does. I moved my plant to an area that gets about 3 hours morning sunny and it is doing great. When and how far back should I trim for winter? Again thank you for all your help.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2004 at 8:15AM
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mehitabel(z6 MO)

Hi, icast. Glad you got the help you needed.

Trim it after it blooms. That will induce it to branch again, and as it blooms on new wood, that brings on more blooms. Fertilizer and lots of water also will keep it growing and blooming.

I would not trim it back hard (meaning into the brown wood) after the end of September. Your zone is one warmer than here, but you don't want it going into the winter bare of leaves. It will stop growing like a crazy thing as the nights get cooler, and if it is pretty bare when it stops growing that isn't too good for it. It would be ok to cut the greener parts a little later than that, but not into the old, brownish wood.

It needs to rest in winter. Stop fertilizing in winter, and keep it dryish, in a sunny window.

The reason I suggested cuttings is so that you will have a small plant if the big one is so big it can't come inside, which is what happened to mine last summer.

Your winters will definitely kill it.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2004 at 10:03AM
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I would love to have some here in there a chance for us???

    Bookmark   August 13, 2004 at 10:41PM
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mehitabel(z6 MO)

Hi, lucy. You can grow it in a pot in zone 7, but it will die in the ground in a zone 7 winter.

Or, if you want, you could grow it in the ground and make cuttings each fall to carry thru the winter. It roots very easily in water.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2004 at 6:02AM
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Gwyn(6A, Mississauga)

I winter sowed some seeds earlier this year and it is currently in a pot in my porch. Will have to bring indoors in a month or so when the temps drop. Does this plant need a lot of sunlight?

    Bookmark   September 13, 2004 at 1:25PM
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egstewart1(z8 SC)

Hi there,
I've been reading the postings on this plant. I got one about mid June, put it in a pot with good soil and manure and it's grown but doesn't seem to have nearly grown like the ones everyone's described here. It's under the eves of the house so not too much sun but no signs of blooming. Is there something I should be doing to encourage blooms. Also, can I leave mine out all winter, doesn't usually drop below freezing except a few days? I got it as a rooted plant about 18", now well over 3' with 3 branches. Thanks for all the info and help.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2004 at 2:46PM
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mehitabel(z6 MO)

Hi, egstewart. My guess would be it's too dry and too dim under the eaves. This thing sucks water. Move it gradually into more sun over a period of about a week, and give it lots of water. It can take full sun if acclimated.

It blooms on new growth, so fertilizer or anything that will encourage new growth will bring you flowers.

Also, check to make sure the pot is big enough, just de-pot it and look. If the rootball is a tight mass of roots, it needs a bigger pot.

I'm not sure what zone this is hardy in, but it will freeze the top below 32. It can probably take 28 for a short period of time and come back from the roots. You could leave it out if you bring it in on the few nights below freezing. I do that with a number of plants.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2004 at 3:05PM
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egstewart1(z8 SC)

Thanks mehitabel for the quick response. When i first got it I didn't know about acclimating plants to sun and put it it full sun and some leaves burnt, so then I moved it but it's on the west side of the house which gets mid-day to aftenoon sun, and we've had so much rain I've only watered on days that it hasn't rained which lately has only been abouyt 1 in 7. When I potted it I put in in a pot twice the size it had been in. Do you think I've put it in too large a pot. It is growing but just slowly. I'll try fertilizing but since I did 3 parts manure to 5 parts soil I didn't know if more fertilizer would be too much? Any sugesstions I'll try. Will put it in more sun this week and see what happens once I fertilize. Thanks again for the help. I'm new but I'm really enjoying the plants and can't wait until I have fragrance.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2004 at 3:30PM
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mehitabel(z6 MO)

Hi, egstewart. Cestrum grows so fast-- it will get rootbound in a month, I swear. So no, I don't think you have to worry about having overpotted. I would still check the roots. If you've had it over a month you'll be astonished at what's down there :)

Well, your plant may not be getting any rain under the eaves, I guess it depends on how deep they are. If the soil is dry to the touch and the pot feels light it needs water.

Cestrum can take plenty of fertilizer. I haven't used manure in pots, so I don't know how much of a stimulant that is. But I often use a bloombooster fertilizer 10-50-10 (a high middle number) to remind a plant to bloom.

With the fall coming on, you could still get some blooms.
It is only fragrant at night, so be sure to check after dark for the fragrance.

Cestrum has the "grow thing" to the nth power. It will use every bit of sun, water, fertilizer you give it to grow as huge as it can as quick as it can.

I hope you get your blooms this fall. If not, you'll have them about May next year.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2004 at 5:55PM
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Hey aliaslucy in Woodinville, WA - I'm on Vashon island and I've got several in pots on an unheated porch, they're 3 years old and FINALLY! blooming! (started from seed - JL Hudson)

I think the scent is great, not at all sickening as people complained.

As far as the 3 years, truth is I'm a terrible mother and if these were cats they'd arrest me. Still in 8" pots, hardly ever fed, dehydrated most of the time, etc. Problem is in our climate they're HOUSE plants, and I'm so busy outside I forget about them.

Anyway, though, point is that with a bit of water and light, they got through two winters inlcuding snow and cold last winter, on unheated porch. Out here on Vashon we're about 10 degrees cooler than Seattle, and I'm guessing you are, too.

I think these dudes are tough, but not outdoorsy.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2004 at 12:02AM
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egstewart1(z8 SC)

Thanks for the tips. I didn't realize that the roots would grow that fast. I'll check, this morning I did moved it from under the eves to the deck area. It will get lots more sun, rain and I'll fertilize it also this weekend. I noticed new growth springing up from the bottom also. Is there anyway to encourage a fuller more bushier look. I do hope I get to smell it this year; we'll just have to see what happens. Thanks again for the advice.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2004 at 12:54PM
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icast3(z7 ok)

Everything was going so well til I went on vacation. My neighbor watered my jasmines but I don't know if it was too much water or not enough, but a lot of the leaves on my big one are yellow. The ones that I planted from the clippings are growing like crazy and are developing blooms.( Thanks to all of you ) So what do you think it is and what do I need to do?

    Bookmark   September 15, 2004 at 7:17PM
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mehitabel(z6 MO)

Hi, icast. If you mean your cestrum when you talk about your jasmines, it will probably be ok. Just treat it normally from now on and it ought to recover. It's not impossible to kill a cestrum, but it requires persistence, not just a single unhappy event.

The likeliest thing is it got too dry and then too wet. That happens to a lot of us occasionally, and cestrum is a real culprit for this as it uses sooo much water.

Glad your little guys are going to bloom.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2004 at 7:54PM
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icast3(z7 ok)

mehitabel thank you for your wit and support. I'll keep doin what I did. The big one is still sprouting blooms. Should I cut it back on the ones that have the spent flowers that turned to berries?

    Bookmark   September 15, 2004 at 9:22PM
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treble(6b/7a MD)

Having read this thread, can someone give me suggestions on how to root my NBJ cuttings that I've just received? It's pretty cold now in February (the plant came from CA). Someone mentioned rooting in water. How/where to cut, hormone or not? Soil rooting? How long should the cuttings be? Any advice would be appreciated.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2005 at 11:37PM
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Kiwini(z8 S-W WA)

I always cut my Cestrum Nocturnum back to its old growth after it flowers. My cuttings are about 6-14", with no preference on where the cut is made. The stems root in both water and soil pretty well, but I have noticed water rooting tends to be faster and makes the time pass better (as you can see the root nubs forming on the stems).

Heat and light make a big difference on how fast your cuttings will send out roots; I would recommend keeping it inside for the whole rooting process. I keep my plant potted in my dorm window and it!

Its helps to clear off about a third of the leaves from the cutting, as the rooting stem at first cannot take in enough water to support so much foilage.

Rooting hormone is a definite plus--it cut my water-rooting time almost in half (about a five days).

This plant grows like nothing else for me--it has bloomed twice since September, putting on about two or three feet of new growth before each blooming period. I have made about ten cuttings from fresh growth, and all but one has survived (I went on Thanksgiving break while rooting one)

Hope that helps!

    Bookmark   February 25, 2005 at 8:55PM
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    Bookmark   April 3, 2005 at 5:37PM
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GrowHappy(z7 MD)


Does anyone have any mail order sources for this plant? I'd like to buy one that is mature. Thanks!


    Bookmark   May 18, 2005 at 7:34PM
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GH, has them..well, they will the end of May..I think they're 6.00..
I've ordered from worldplants many times, and have gotten some over 1' tall..It depends on many things including time of yr, etc..Check it out..
If u go there, a security window will open and just click ok. The click on A-Z houseplants..the hit C for cestrum..Toni

    Bookmark   May 18, 2005 at 11:11PM
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randyland(zone 5)

We've had a night-bloomer for about ten years now. The friend who gave it to us said it likes to be pot-bound and pruned to keep it bushy. My wife has a fear of pruning but it's getting "long in the stem and short in the leaf". I'm ready to take the bull by the horns but I need a basic lesson in pruning. Exactly where should I make the cuts?

    Bookmark   June 12, 2005 at 8:32PM
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woodcrafters(z7 tn)

we purchased two night blooming jasmine on line and they are growing like crazy. they have more than doubled in size( to about 30 inches) when should we expect them to bloom? so far we've only seen six blooms that lasted four days. they are in five gallon pots on our deck and receive plenty of sun. we've been giving them lots of water and have tried miracle grow twice, but so far they just keep growing. we've had them for two months so far. am i expecting to much from them, too soon?

    Bookmark   June 22, 2005 at 1:31PM
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mehitabel(z6 MO)

randyland: prune close to a joint where the leaves attach. Prune to your own taste to create a plant that is attractive to you. Each cut will produce two branches where there was one, so pruning will "thicken" the plant.

Just don't cut far back into the old (hard, light brown, thick) wood. Cestrum blooms on new growth, so your pruning will create new flowers eventually. A good rule of thumb is to cut no more than 1/3 at one time.

woodcrafters: cestrum blooms on new wood, so the "growing" will get you some flowers in short order. cestrum need the hot summers and especially hot summer nights to bloom, and a young plant takes a little time to get its feet established.

Since you've had a few flowers, I'd say you can expect more any day. They love water and fertilizer. You could try some "bloom booster"-- a fertilizer formulation with a high middle number, eg 10-30-10.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2005 at 3:58PM
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SnickerKitten(Z9b FL)

I can tell you how I shaped my cestrum

I stuck a stick in the ground and wrapped the sprawling pieces up and tied them to the stake. NOW it's not crawling all over everything else.

I'm in Florida so mine (which was big when I got it!- a lucky find wedged in the back of a bunch of crepe myrtles!) has grown like a freak in the couple weeks it's been in the ground.


    Bookmark   July 13, 2005 at 1:03AM
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I just purchased a jasmine plant called Plumbago Leadwoprth Blue it really looks gorgeous I live in zone 5 area so then I would want to bring my plant indoors correct in the winter months? and can I take cuttings to grow more? would I want to place it in water to take root or use root hormone and plant them directly into good potting soil?
Any comments would be greatly appreciated.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2008 at 12:07PM
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I live in the mid-atlantic area, it was necessary to bring the plant into the house, seems to have adjusted but it is large, is it possible now (December) to cut back, if so, how much

    Bookmark   December 12, 2010 at 9:41AM
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mehitabel(z6 MO)

Mary, it is always safe to cut back 1/3 of the branches at one time. If they should happen not to sprout for some reason, the plant has plenty of strength in the uncut 2/3 to keep going.

Just cut 1/3 of the branches back to the point you hope they would branch at, but I wouldn't cut shorter than 18" or so. Once you get new growth going on the cut branches, you can cut back a second 1/3 etc.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2010 at 1:22AM
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