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Jasmine plants are know for their intensely fragrant flowers, but not all jasmine flowers live up to this reputation. Some have only a vague scent while others have no scent at all. When planning to plant jasmine in the garden, scent is often as much a consideration as climate and growing conditions. Some types of scented jasmine include common jasmine, Arabic jasmine, Spanish jasmine, Italian jasmine and pink jasmine.
Jasminum officinale, or common jasmine, grows 20 to 30 feet (about 6 to 9 m) tall when given a support structure to climb. The white or pale pink flowers give off a strong floral scent. One common jasmine plant planted in the garden or in a porch pot will mix the air with this rich scent. The flowers bloom periodically throughout the season. It can tolerate some cold weather when planted outside, but in cold climates, common jasmine is best grown in a pot and brought in for the winter months.
Arabic jasmine, or Jasminum sambac, is highly frost sensitive and can only be grown outdoors in tropical and subtropical climates. The white flowers bloom in summer and produce a rich floral scent. This is the scented jasmine used to infuse tea in China to create jasmine green tea. This tropical jasmine also has been introduced to Hawaii, where it is used to make scented leis. Unlike the rambling climbing common jasmine, Arabic jasmine is a bushy evergreen shrub that grows 5 to 6 feet (about 1.5 to 1.8 m) tall.
Spanish Jasmine, or Jasminum grandiflorum, is a vine variety of scented jasmine. The flowers are white with a diameter of 1 to 1.5 inches (about 2.5 to 3 cm) in diameter. Spanish jasmine is semi-evergreen and tends to shed its leaves in winter.
Jasminum humile, or Italian jasmine, has yellow star-shaped flowers that infuse the air with a rich scent in summer. It is an evergreen vine that tends to grow into a mounded shape when not trained on a trellis or other structure. It can also be pruned to grow as a dense shrub.
Pink jasmine, or Jasminum polyanthum, grows in mild climates. The delicate pink flowers provide a light scent in early through late summer. It is a climbing evergreen jasmine variety.
Specific growing requirements vary depending on the variety, but most jasmine thrives in full sun or part shade and a spot that has deep, rich soil and good drainage. During spring and summer, scented jasmine benefits from regular watering and monthly fertilizer applications. In fall, fertilizer should be discontinued and the plants should be watered sparingly to allow the jasmine to go into winter dormancy.
Do these different varieties of jasmine have differing scents? I can identify the fragrance of jasmine but I can't differentiate among them, other than lighter and stronger.
Jasmine plays a massive part in the culture in Malaga, southern Spain. The Moors first introduced jasmine plants hundreds of years ago and they have thrived ever since. One of Malaga's most iconic symbols is the Biznaga - a hand-crafted bouquet of jasmine flowers.
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