Jasmine Pest Control: Learn About Common Pests Affecting Jasmine Plants
By: Bonnie L. Grant, Certified Urban Agriculturist
Drooping leaves? Damaged foliage? Bite marks, specks or sticky stuff on your jasmine plant? Chances are you have a pest problem. Pests affecting jasmine plants can seriously affect their ability to thrive and the production of those all-important scented blooms. You can successfully do battle with jasmine plant pests once you get a handle on what pests are munching away on your prized beauty. You need to know how to mount effective jasmine pest control and with a little patience, that beautiful little bush will perk up and scent your entire garden.
Pests of Jasmine
There are two main types of jasmine plant pests. The sucking insects, like aphids, are those whose feeding behavior entails piercing the plant material and eating the sap.
There are also foliage insects which cause visual damage to the leaves of a plant. Most of these are caterpillars and larvae of a variety of moths and butterflies but a few represent other invertebrates.
Pests affecting jasmine plants vary in size and degree of damage but it is best to establish some basic methods of dealing with the invaders.
Jasmine Plant Pests of Foliage
The budworm is a small white moth whose larva feed off of the buds of the jasmine plant, effectively destroying the flowers. The gallery worm tunnels in and around the buds and builds silk lined caves.
Leaf rollers do just what it sounds like they do, while leaf webworms cover both foliage and twigs in silk webs.
A tiny mite is also responsible for leaf damage. The mite tunnels under the top layer of the leaf and leaves bumps and ridges in the epidermal surface. Sometimes the leaf even distorts and deforms.
Most foliar pests can be combated with horticultural soap or oil. Treat at the first signs of damage or for preemptive measures in early spring at bud break.
Jasmine Plant Pests That Suck-Literally
Sadly, insect pests are fond of your ornamental plants and a host of sucking insects can sap the vitality of your jasmine. Jasmine plant pest control on this variety requires vigilance and fortitude. Whiteflies, scale, mites and a host of other “ickies” do more than damage the appearance of your bush. They feed on the life-giving juices of the jasmine and reduce its ability to store and receive important moisture and nutrients.
Most of these pests are so tiny they are not easily spotted and are more easily identified by plant decline. This may include brown streaking on stems as in thrip damage, yellow leaves which occur with whitefly and several other deteriorating conditions. If you are in doubt as to which pest is your problem, use a magnifying glass or place a piece of white paper under the plant and shake. The tiny insects that fall can be investigated more thoroughly to tell which bad guy is causing the problem.
With any pest problem, try non-toxic methods initially. A soapy solution of water and dish soap can clog up most pests’ breathing areas and kill a large amount of the population. Resort to target pesticides if you can identify the insect to prevent killing beneficial plants. Overall, treat your jasmine like a queen so it is healthy and able to withstand occasional onslaughts from tiny invaders.
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Identifying and Treating Jasmine Diseases
There are many plant diseases that can cause harm to plants, and jasmine is not immune to those threats. Considering the plant is capable of treating many diseases and medical conditions in humans, it's strange that the plant itself can suffer from a variety of diseases.
Plant diseases are any caused by fungi, pests or bacteria. Learning about these different jasmine diseases will help you to protect your plants from them.
Most types of Jasmine are fairly hardy and don't suffer from many problems. They also don't suffer from many problems with pests. However, there are many different varieties of jasmine and, therefore, a range of susceptibility throughout the family of plants.
1. Flower Blight
Flower blight is a very common disease to affect a number of plants, including Jasmine. This can be identified by brown spots on the leaves. They eventually turn completely brown and start to fall off. This disease is caused by a fungus and is most likely to affect your plants just after warm spells of weather.
This is a very dangerous disease for Jasmine because the spores of the fungus can survive throughout the winter in the soil. This means that they will be able to re-infect any new plants planted in the same soil.
To control flower blight you should pick any of the infected flowers before they have the chance to produce spores. If any plant material falls onto the ground then you must pick this up and throw it away or burn it. Remember to never compost infected plant material.
2. Leaf Drop
It's normal for all plants to shed leaves when they get older. There are a number of reasons for this. The first reason could be caused by flower blight (see above). Other reasons could simply be because you are over or under watering them. Over watering or under watering will cause the leaves to drop off.
3. Powdery Mold
Powdery mildew or powdery mold is a very common problem within all plants. This can be identified by looking for powdery white substances on the leaves. To control this condition you should use a fungicide spray and it's important to repeat this treatment three times with two weeks in between treatments. You will need to choose a fungicide that is suitable for treating powdery mildew. Ask for help if you're not sure which ones will work.
4. Choosing Healthy Plants
When you are buying new jasmine plants for your garden it's very important that you don't accidentally buy diseased plants. These could infect the rest of your garden if you're not careful. Just because a plant has a lot of flowers on it doesn't mean that the plant is actually healthy. Inspect the quality of the leaves and look out for any of the symptoms that are mentioned above.
If your plants start to suffer from any of these conditions, treat them as quickly as possible to prevent spread.
Orange Jasmine Plant Care
Orange jasmine can be trained into a small tree and can be used as a hedge, which will require pruning often when it is young, since it grows rapidly. In areas that are colder than USDA plant hardiness zone 10, it can be grown outdoors in summer but must be taken indoors to overwinter. Therefore, it is best grown in containers outside of zone 10 or above.
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Orange jasmine plants require protection from hot, direct sunlight. Locate the plant where it receives morning sunlight and afternoon shade, or where it will get broken sunlight or dappled shade all day. Plants grown indoors do well in a bright room or on a sunny windowsill.
Plant orange jasmine in well-drained soil that is free of nematodes (roundworms). Well-drained soil is critical, as orange jasmine doesn’t do well in waterlogged soil. If your soil lacks drainage, improve soil conditions by adding organic material such as compost, chopped bark, or leaf mulch.
Water orange jasmine plants deeply whenever the top 2 inches of soil feels dry to the touch. As a general rule, once per week is about right. However, more frequent irrigation may be needed if you live in a hot climate or if the plant is in a container. Never allow it to stand in muddy soil or water.
Temperature and Humidity
As tropical plants, orange jasmine do best in humidity above 50 percent and must have temperatures above 40 degrees Fahrenheit, as they are not frost-tolerant. The plant can tolerate lower levels of humidity.
Feed orange jasmine plants once every three to four weeks throughout the growing season (spring through fall), using a fertilizer designed for evergreen plants. Alternatively, if the plant is in a container, apply a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer formulated for evergreen shrubs.
Southern blight, caused by Sclerotium rolfsii, is often called white mold because of the white, thready mycelial structures that spread outward from the stem and topmost roots. Often, the first symptom you see will be yellowed, wilting lower leaves, even though the fungus actually lives just below the soil line. Southern blight is difficult to control. Prevention is the best course of action in the garden. Check new plants for mycelium threads before planting. Remove mulch from around the plant, since the fungus can overwinter in this material. Sanitize garden tools before pruning away blighted areas of the jasmine, and destroy cuttings away from the garden. No fungicides are available to control southern blight. If the jasmine is severely infected, remove and destroy it. Plant resistant ornamental plants in the jasmine's place.
Asian Jasmine Care In-Depth Guide
The Asian Jasmine is tolerant of a wide range of soil types. Soil types can be a combination of clay, loam, sand, and organic matter.
It does, however, prefer well-draining soil and won’t do well in soil that remains damp for long periods of time. It will even tolerate drought and very dry soil.
I have a fabulous compost-making kit in my garden. I fill it with fallen leaves, grass cuttings, and dead flowers.
My Asian Jasmine does really well when I mix some of my home-made compost into the soil.
The PH balance of your soil is important to keep your plant as healthy as possible. It is easy to test the Ph levels of your soil with a simple PH home-testing kit. Neutral pH is 7.0. Acidic soil has a pH of 6.0 or less.
For your Asian Jasmine, a slightly acidic to neutral soil with a pH between 5.5 to 7.0 is ideal.
The Asian Jasmine will thrive in full sun, part sun, and even full shade. As you can see, it is a hardy and versatile plant for any garden. Many plants won’t do well in full shade but the Trachelospermum asiaticum will grow happily.
You do not need to worry too much about the light. Plant it wherever you like and it will be fine.
The Asian Jasmine is drought and heat tolerant and can withstand drier conditions for long periods of time.
That being said, you may find that if your plant is planted in full sun in very hot conditions, the leaves and flowers may start to wilt.
Giving it a good watering will soon perk it back up to its happy self.
Depending on your natural rainfall, feel free to water your plant whenever you feel like tending to your garden. As long as your soil is well-draining, your plant will be happy.
Asian Jasmine watering care tip: Don’t water your plant at night, especially during Winter. Water in the soil can become icy and may damage the roots.
Once established, the Asian Jasmine can tolerate a wide range of temperatures. It enjoys full sun and will even grow in cooler full shade conditions.
This makes it a very versatile and easy-to-care-for plant, especially for a beginner gardener.
It can tolerate temperatures as low as 0°F to 10°F (-18°C to -12°C) for short periods of time. The plant is listed for hardiness, USDA Zones 7b to 10.
The Asian Jasmine will thrive in average humidity conditions of around 50%. Being hardy and tolerant, it will even do well in drier conditions but may require watering if you see that the leaves and flowers are starting to wilt.
Asian Jasmine temperature care tip: Try to avoid planting your Trachelospermum asiaticum in extremely humid conditions that are damp and moist all the time.
It is not a tropical rainforest plant and does prefer to dry out.
Most plants respond well to fertilizing and the Asian Jasmine is no exception.
Mature plants can be fertilized in early Spring and then again in the middle of Summer.
Don’t fertilize your plant late in the growing season. This stimulates new growth as the weather turns colder and the new shoots can be damaged by cold and frost. There is no need to fertilize in Winter.
I use a fertilizer that encourages blooming. The flowers of the Asian jasmine are so delightful I want as many as possible!
Fertilizers are indicated by a system of 3 numbers. If you are buying a ready-made fertilizer, you may see numbers like 5-10-5 or 10-30-20 on the package. Don’t panic. These numbers indicate the ratio amount of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.
To encourage blooms, I choose a fertilizer with a higher amount of phosphorus. So I look for a larger 2nd number.
Like most plants, your Asian Jasmine also enjoys natural organic fertilizer. You can make this yourself at home using a compost-making kit or a worm-factory kit.
If making your own compost does not appeal to you, simply buy a bag from your local nursery. Mulch or compost breaks down naturally and feeds nutrients into the soil and the plants.
It improves the overall condition of the soil, which is ideal for any type of plant. By using compost regularly you will eventually reduce the need for purchased fertilizer.
When planted as a ground cover, the Asian Jasmine can grow to a height of 1 foot to 2 feet (12cm to 24cm) and spread as wide as 10 feet to 12 feet (300cm to 350cm). It offers beautiful glossy green leaves that are an oval shape. The leaves turn to a deep bronze-red as the weather gets cooler.
Because it is evergreen, you will always have a burst of green color in your garden. No sad, bare branches on this plant!
The flowers are a star-shape with five petals. They are usually a creamy-white but can turn to yellow when mature. Flowers are around 3/4 inch (2cm) in size and are produced in abundant clusters. They have a lovely sweet fragrance, much like a real Jasmine.
The stems of the Asian Jasmine have a twining habit. They will attach to tree trunks, fences, or trellises and climb fast. When left to climb, your plant can reach heights of as much as 15 feet to 20 feet (450cm to 600cm).
This delightful plant attracts birds. You will always have a garden filled with movement and the chirping of our feathered friends.
Trachelospermum asiaticum growth tip: If your plant creeps or climbs too much, look at the section on pruning to get it back into shape.
Where to plant your Asian Jasmine
The Trachelospermum asiaticum is a naturally creeping, climbing, and twining vine plant.
It is ideal to plant as a ground cover, where it will spread rapidly. Because it can tolerate shade, you can use it in shady spots under trees or bushes where other plants struggle to grow.
It can be used to climb up a wall, latticework, chain link fence, or a trellis.
Do you want to create a focal point in your garden? Plant your Asian Jasmine at the base of a tall tree and allow it to climb up the trunk. It creates a stunning show.
If you live in an in-city apartment with no garden, you can plant the Asian Jasmine into a pot. Choose a pot with a size of 12 inches (30cm) diameter or larger.
Ensure that your container has drainage holes at the base and that they are not blocked. This will allow any excess water to run out. The Asian Jasmine will not do well if the roots stand in water for too long. The roots will start to rot and the plant will die.
Using a pot is a great way to add to life and color to a dull patio. Your plant will require pruning from time to time to keep it in check. Cut back any stems that become too long or look untidy.
As an indoor plant, the Trachelospermum asiaticum also looks lovely in a hanging basket. Allow the long stems to trail downwards and snap a photo when the flowers bloom.
I am considering using my Asian Jasmine to cover a rather unattractive fence between my garden and the neighbors. I am sure that once it is established, the boundary wall will be far more pleasant to look at.
How to plant your Asian Jasmine
Planting Asian Jasmine outdoors
The best time to plant is in Spring and early Summer.
Select your spot and break up the ground using a spade or a hoe. Dig down to a depth of around 12 inches to 16 inches (30cm to 40cm).
Fertilize the soil with an organic mix. I like to use a mix of peat and compost that will feed the soil with loads of nutrients. You can also add in some fertilizer that encourages blooming.
For ground cover, plan to plant each Asian Jasmine about 8 inches to 10 inches (20cm to 25cm) apart.
Gently remove the plant from the packaging and shake off excess soil. This allows the roots to free up and untangle. If the roots are tightly balled up, gently pry them loose with your fingers. Take care not to break them off.
Dig a hole (or many holes) deep enough to hold the roots with some extra space to spare. Check that the plant will stand more or less at the same height as the container you bought it in.
Place the plant into the hole and use a small spade to fill in the empty space around it. Do not pack the soil too tightly, but ensure that the plant is well grounded.
When you are planting against a trellis or fence, gently wind a long stem around a fence post or trellis to start the climbing process. If your plant is too small to do this, allow it to grow for a few weeks and then attach it.
Water well and then water daily for the next few days. Allow it to dry out between waterings.
Asian Jasmine planting care tip: If needed, you can use a prop or support to hold up your plant until it becomes strong enough to stand on its own. Remember to remove the support once the plant is established. You don’t want it to become a permanent feature in your garden.
Planting Asian Jasmine into a pot
The Asian Jasmine looks very attractive in a decorative pot. It also is well suited to a hanging basket.
Select a pot depending on how big you want your Asian Jasmine to grow. Larger pots encourage growth, while smaller pots tend to keep the plants smaller.
Place a layer of crushed granite or small pebbles at the base of the pot to help with water drainage. Half fill your pot with a rich potting soil or organic mix.
Gently remove the plant from the packaging and shake off excess soil. This allows the roots to free up and untangle.
If the roots are tightly balled up, gently pry them loose with your fingers. Take care not to break them off.
Place the plant into the center of the pot. Do not press the roots tightly against the base, they do need space to grow.
Using a scoop, fill in the sides of the pot with the remaining soil. You can use a prop to hold up your plant if it is very delicate and not yet strong enough to stand on its own.
Water well and ensure that excess water drains out of the holes at the base of the pot. Water daily for the next few days. Allow it to dry out between waterings.
Asian Jasmine potting care tip: Glazed or plastic pots will retain water for longer. This is because the sides are sealed and slow down the evaporation process. A porous clay or ceramic pot allows water to evaporate faster. Rather choose a porous pot for your plant. Plastic is also harmful to the environment as it does not degrade. I always try to choose an eco-friendly option.
Mealybugs vs. Scale
Mealybugs are closely related to scale insects, but mealybugs are soft-bodied, rather than having the hard protective shells fond on scale insects. Rather than the fluffy, cottony material, scale insects create a hard, barnacle-like coating on the leaves and stems of plants. The methods for getting rid of scale are very much the same as for mealybugs.
How Long Do Mealybugs Live?
Female mealybugs lay from 200 to 600 eggs, which hatch in a few days. Within six to 10 weeks, the hatched insects are ready to lay their own eggs, so an infestation of mealybugs can perpetuate itself almost indefinitely unless they are eradicated.
Do Mealybugs Bite or Sting?
Mealybugs do not pose any danger of biting or stinging humans they feed only on the juices of plants.
What Plants Are Most Susceptible?
There are so many species of mealybugs that almost any indoor plant can be susceptible to these pests. In particular, tropical plants with softer stems and leaves are very likely to develop mealybugs. Orchids, African violets, begonia, coleus, and amaryllis are among the plants known to be especially susceptible, but in warmer climates, many outdoor plants are likely to experience infestations. Mealybugs thrive at temperatures between 70 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit.