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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Tuesday - April 26, 2011

From: Pleasant Garden, NC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Pruning, Seasonal Tasks, Transplants, Vines
Title: Carolina Jasmine failing to turn green in Pleasant Garden NC
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We planted Carolina Jasmine last year and it did great. This Spring we only have about 2-3 small green leaves beginning on the vines. We did not cut them back in the Fall. Is it time for them to be turning green?

ANSWER:

This is a little puzzling. According to our Native Plant Database page (which read) on Gelsemium sempervirens (Carolina jessamine), this plant is evergreen and blooms yellow from December to May. I know everyone on the East Coast had unusually cold weather this past Winter. Did your plant have leaves on it that dropped off in the cold? In view of the fact that it is supposed to be evergreen, those few leaves may be all that survived the cold. Don't give up, yet. According to this USDA Plant Profile Map, Guilford County, in north central North Carolina, is slightly out of the natural range of this plant; however, we don't think it is far enough to be significant. The fact that it was just planted last year makes us think of transplant shock. If it was planted in very hot or very cold weather, or the roots were somehow damaged in the transplanting, the plant may still be trying to recover from that. The results of transplant shock can show up from one to three years after the planting. We would suggest you coddle it a bit, trim off some of the dead growth (in the process, seeing if there is some green under the bark), and keep it well-watered. Do not fertilize. Fertilizing a plant under stress, which this one obviously is, will result in trying to push the plant into new growth when the plant is just trying to survive. If it does begin to leaf out, we don't think you can expect any bloom on it this year, but if you cover it if there is extreme cold again, we think it will rise to bloom again next year.

 

From the Image Gallery


Carolina jessamine
Gelsemium sempervirens

Carolina jessamine
Gelsemium sempervirens

Carolina jessamine
Gelsemium sempervirens

Carolina jessamine
Gelsemium sempervirens

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