Carolina Jessamine, Gelsemium
Carolina jessamine explodes into a cloud of yellow blooms in late winter and early spring. Plants may put on a repeat performance in fall. It is known to scamper up large trees, fences and even utility poles.
Growing: Carolina jessamine thrives in full sun. It can grow in partial shade but produces fewer flowers. The soil should be moist, well drained and fertile.
Pinch back the new growth to encourage a more dense growth habit. Cut it back to approximately 2–3' high when the growth is thin at the bottom and the top is falling over because of the weight. This vine should be pruned only immediately after flowering.
Tips: Carolina jessamine can be grown on a decorative trellis, pergola or arbor. It is often used to adorn mailboxes and just about anything that requires a bit of color and a vertical element. This vine can also be used as an effective groundcover. For the best results, plant it in a place where it can be allowed to roam and won’t be bothered once established.
G. sempervirens is a vigorous vine that produces twining stems without the aid of tendrils. Masses of fragrant, funnel-shaped flowers are borne in late winter, in shades of golden to pale yellow. Dark, glossy foliage on rich brown stems is the perfect complement to the brightly colored blossoms.
Features: bright yellow flower clusters; lush foliage; habit
Hardiness: zones 7–9
Note: All parts of this plant are poisonous.