Thursday, August 21, 2008

Night Blooming Jasmine on Long Island

(image of Cestrum nocturnum courtesy of

Hopefully you can help me. I received a night blooming jasmine as a gift. It is currently in a small clay pot. It is doing quite well – I have new growth and blooms.
Living on LI – can I plant this in the ground – will it come back after a NY winter?
If I don’t put it into the ground, what do I do with it once the weather starts to cool off?
What is the care for this plant during the winter months?
Do I pinch after blooming?

Night blooming jasmine (Cestrum nocturnum) is what we would consider a “tropical” up here in New York. It is an evergreen shrub, but only hardy through much milder winters down south and in the West Indies where the plant is indigenous. The plant sounds very well situated now so you do not need to change your routine anytime soon. If you have spent blossoms then you can deadhead them with pruners or scissors and remove them in order to redirect water and nutrients to the actively growing portions of the plant. I imagine you have it in a sunny spot and are keeping it well watered which is important as the plant is most active right now. In the fall, say late September or when the evening temps get down to the 60s, I would move it inside to as sunny a location as you can. You will continue to keep the soil moist and slowly cut back on your watering so that by winter you are allowing the soil to dry out a bit between watering. The plant will go through a dormancy period this winter so you will not expect tons of new growth or flowers, but it should certainly survive indoors over-winter. If you feel like you have to do some pruning I might hold off until next year once you have moved it back outside when the days are longer and nights are warmer again.

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