Oh, Star Jasmine; when you’re in full bloom you’re ever so sweet. This is a very versatile plant which you can grow as a vine, shrub, border edging, ground cover as well as trained over an arch, up an obelisk rose pillar or against a trellis. No matter how you grow it, pruning for this twining plant will be in order. I want to share with you the best time to prune Star Jasmine (Confederate Jasmine or Trachelospermum jasminoides) plus how and why I just trimmed mine.
I moved into this house in Tucson 2 years ago. This Star Jasmine was already very well established and growing over the roof line of the back wall. It gets way more sun (the sun is strong here in Arizona!) in the summer than it would like. I most likely prune mine differently than how you would yours. Either way, this plant is easy to prune no matter what form it’s growing in.
The best time to prune a Star Jasmine & how I trimmed mine:
When To Prune A Star Jasmine
Right after flowering is the best time to prune your Star Jasmine. You want to stimulate that new growth which brings on the flowering for next year.
If you have a Star Jasmine hedge than you’ll need to prune 1 or 2 more times during the season to keep it tamed. I pruned mine last May and gave it another light pruning in fall after the sun had shifted and the temps had cooled a bit.
The reason I pruned it again in fall is that it sunburned badly last June. We had 4-5 days when temps were at 115F – hot! Regardless of whether I had pruned it or not, it would have happened anyway. When temps are that high combined with the intensity of the sun here and the fact it’s growing against a wall, scorch is going to happen.
My Star Jasmine in early spring this year. It was in flower & had lots of glossy new growth. No sunburn yet.
I was in San Diego enjoying the cool coastal weather and missed the intense heat wave. By the way, increasing the amount of water wouldn’t have helped in this case. Quite a few plants which are marginal here in the desert, including my Photinia, also burned.
Here’s how I pruned this Star Jasmine in spring and again in fall last year. As you’ll see, it recovered from the sunburn ordeal. This, combined with the fact that it hadn’t grown too out of hand, is why I did a lighter pruning this season.
After flowering this year. The middle is still a bit sparse but the plant is looking a lot better than when I 1st moved in.
How I Pruned My Star Jasmine After Flowering
My plant could have been pruned in mid to end April but the house was being painted at that time. I wasn’t sure if the painters would have to take the trellis and the plant off the wall or if it would have to be cut all the way back. I’m happy to say the painters, all my many plants and I survived. They painted around the Star Jasmine but by the time I pruned it, temps had climbed.
The top portion after the pruning. Nothing too drastic; just a light shaping. Temps have risen by now & the sun is strong. The leaves aren’t nearly as shiny as 2 months ago & the sunburn is beginning.
Because of the sunburn factor, I gave it a very light pruning this year. A trim if you will. I took the stems back by 1-2 leaf nodes because I hoping the outer growth will somewhat shelter the undergrowth. We’ll see how that goes! I also removed all the dead, weak and scrawny stems.
Warning: When you prune Star Jasmine, it emits a sap.
It doesn’t irritate me but it may be different for you. Be very careful not to touch your face when working with this plant. And, be sure to clean your pruning tool afterward because it’ll be sticky.
A close up of the white sap emitting out.
My neighbor’s small Star Jasmine espaliered on her fence was looking very woody with hardly any foliage. I pruned it pretty hard in early fall of last year. It has lots of lovely new growth now.
You can prune your Star Jasmine however it’s pleasing to you. Whether you have it growing as a vine, shrub, or ground cover, just know that this is a forgiving plant. I’ve never cut one all the way down to the ground so I’m not sure if you could do that.
I added this pic because the bright yellow flowers of the Palo Verde against the beautiful blue sky are quite the pop. And that wacky Cow’s Tongue Cactus …
So have at it with the Felcos. These are my very favorite hand pruners which I’ve had forever. Those sweetly scented blooms in spring are so worth it!