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Carolina Jessamine

​​​​​​​​​Carolina Jessamine

Gelsemium sempervirens

  • Common Name: Carolina Jessamine (Other common names: Poor Man’s Rope, False Jasmine, Woodbine, Evening Trumpet flower).
  • Scientific Name: Gelsemium sempervirens
  • Family Name: Gelsemiaceae
  • Origin: Native to Florida
  • Height: 10’ can reach up to 20’
  • Width: 6’ – 8’
  • Growth: Fast growing.  
  • Zone: 7A - 11
  • Light Needs: Full sun for maximum blooms but can take partial shade.
  • Salt Tolerance:  Moderate
  • Soil/PH/Texture: Overfertilizing can reduce flowering. Acidic – alkaline (5.6 – 8.5).
  • Soil Moisture: Medium - best if planted in a rich soil and watered regularly, it likes moist soil, if it gets too dry, it will drop some of its leaves but will usually bounce back once the moisture returns.
    Drought Tolerance: Somewhat drought tolerant but prefers to be watered regularly, it is humidity tolerant.

  • Pests/Diseases: Has few disease or insect problems.
  • Growing Conditions: It is typically found where it grows as a native, in open woods, thickets and along roads.
  • Characteristics: This monoecious evergreen has shiny light green leaves (to 1”-3” long), lanceolate in shape, but they may develop yellow to purple hues in winter. It has 1” – 2” long, bright yellow flowers that are trumpet-shaped, bloom mid-spring to mid-summer, and put out a sweet fragrance.
  • Propagation: By dividing root ball, stem, layering or by seed (allow pods to dry on plant and then break open to collect seeds).
  • Wildlife: Attracts bees and hummingbirds.
  • Facts: This evergreen has sap that can be a skin irritant for some individuals and all parts of the plant contain strychnine-related toxins and are poisonous. Recent research suggests that the plant’s nectar may also be toxic to honeybees if gathered in large amounts.
  • Designer Considerations: Can be used as groundcover, or on an arbor, trellis, pergola, embankment, in a hanging basket or in a pot on the patio.