En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?


Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

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

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

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


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?


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

More Seasonal Tasks Questions

Cutting back plants after frost from Seguin TX
February 13, 2014 - When is best time to cut back native plants after frost kill? Thanks
view the full question and answer

Optimum planting time for perennials and trees
November 02, 2007 - Our group is running out of fall workdays. Is it OK to plant native perennials and small trees in Central Texas during the winter months? Or should we wait now until the spring?
view the full question and answer

Can Juncus effusus winter outside in Mountville PA?
June 28, 2010 - If we have the juncus effusus spiralis outside in a small pond and you say to let it outside in the winter does that mean we should let it in the pond? thanks for your time
view the full question and answer

Drought affecting native trees from The Woodlands
August 18, 2011 - I've been trying to grow native trees in my yard for the past 3 years and I'm starting to question whether the amount of time required to spend watering them during the long hot season in Texas is r...
view the full question and answer

Need to control Turk's cap in front yard in Austin, TX
February 28, 2015 - I have several turks cap in my front yard- they grow well, but they grown huge-high and spread out. My neighbors' are much more compact! how can I keep them in control?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center