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What is Primrose Jasmine?

By Casey Kennedy
Updated May 16, 2024
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Primrose jasmine, or Jasminum mesnyi, is a crawling evergreen shrub sometimes known as the Chinese jasmine. It has long, creeping stems that will climb upwards like a vine when supported by something such as a trellis. Although sometimes noted for its ability to overgrow and cover a fence or arbor, it will take on a more mound-like, clump appearance when it has nothing to climb.

When the primrose jasmine is not trimmed, it may grow to a height and spread of 5 to 10 feet (1.5 to 3.1 m). It has dark green leaves that are glossy in appearance and grow opposite of each other in groups of three. These leaves typically grow from 1 to 3 inches (2.5 to 7.6 cm) in length.

Blooms of the primrose jasmine first appear in early spring and then reappear sporadically throughout the rest of the summer. Flowers are semi-double blooms that are bright yellow in color and have a somewhat trumpet-shaped appearance. Each of these blooms typically grows with 6 to 10 petals and produces a slightly sweet fragrance.

The primrose jasmine is a member of the Oleacea, or olive, family. It is a native plant to southwestern China and considered one of the most popular varieties of jasmine in the world. These plants are so popular that they were even cultivated to grow as a hedge on the grounds of the Hearst Castle in San Simeon, California in the US.

Since the primrose jasmine is such a fast-growing shrub, landscapers sometimes use it as a way to control soil erosion on banks and sloping areas. While it is typically used in landscaping, it also does well when grown in a container and may be trained to grow around a topiary form. Although it can adapt to almost any type of soil, it prefers a potential of hydrogen (pH) range of 5.5 to 7 and soil that is somewhat sandy or a clay loam. It does best in full sun to partial shade and requires only normal watering. Primrose jasmine is best-suited for United States Department of Agriculture zones (USDA) 8 to 11.

When growing space is limited, the primrose jasmine may require pruning throughout the growing season. Individuals that wish to prune their plants should plan to initially cut the primrose jasmine back as soon as the flowers have finished blooming, since next year’s blooms grow on the previous season’s growth. They may also wish to shape the plant by trimming back flowering shoots to a lower shoot, but should resist shearing the plant, as it detracts from its look.

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Discussion Comments
By SarahGen — On Apr 05, 2014

Primrose jasmine is a very good vine/shrub for those living in hot areas like Texas. This jasmine loves heat and it's very hardy, so it survive the hottest summers outside. Partial shade is recommended for primrose jasmine but mine is doing fine despite being in the sun.

By donasmrs — On Apr 04, 2014

@burcinc-- I have a primrose Jasmine and what you describe matches this plant. It has medium sized, bright yellow, six-leaved, fragrant flowers when it blooms. It blooms in spring. The plant itself is about 30 inches and the vines leaves are luscious and green.

I'm not an expert on jasmine but I know that there are many types in the genus. So primrose jasmine might come in different sizes or colors. I'm not sure.

By burcinc — On Apr 04, 2014

I saw what was labeled as a primrose jasmine at a nearby nursery but the plant did not look like the plant in the picture. The flowers were smaller and more numerous. And the flowers were six-leaved, not four. I wonder if they mis-labeled the plant.

Does anyone know if primrose jasmine comes in different varieties? I'm confused.

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