A Confederate Jasmine for North Georgia
by Louise Estabrook
April 25, 2014 12:40 AM | 2353 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
We are all still reeling from the latest freeze and all the damage it has done to crops and landscape plants. It will still be some time before we can truly assess the extent of the damage. While it is almost impossible to protect plants from an unseasonably late freeze, most of the cold damaged plants I see every year are damaged because they are not hardy in our region. Take Confederate Jasmine as an example. This popular plant has graced many a porch or arbor in the southern areas of our state. Until recently, however, it was subject to cold injury when planted this far north. Fortunately, that has changed. A new Confederate Jasmine variety is available that is hardy in north Georgia.

This relatively new Confederate Jasmine variety is called “Madison.” The Latin name is Trachelospermum jasminoides “Madison.” It is a coldhardy variety that has been selected as the 2007 Georgia Gold Medal winning ornamental vine. Madison Confederate Jasmine is hardy throughout USDA zone 7 and maybe even into zone 6 in the higher elevations of the northeast Georgia Mountains. The cultivar was developed by Cedar Lane Farms in Madison, Georgia. It has all the typical allurements of Confederate Jasmine. The scent is even more beautiful – a delicate orange-blossom perfume. It has lustrous green leaves highlighted by spectacular clusters of incredibly fragrant white flowers.

Confederate Jasmine is an old favorite. It may come as a surprise to learn that the plant is actually a native of China. The plant has been grown and loved literally for centuries by gardeners in both Europe and the U.S. Its popularity around southern homes earned it the name Confederate Jasmine.

The Madison Confederate jasmine is a fast growing ornamental vine. It has a twining growth habit and can reach up to 40 feet at maturity. The vine does not have the sticky hold fasts associated with some vines. It needs a little help getting a leg-up as it climbs. You will want to provide a lattice or other support as it climbs arbors, canopies, and porches.

If climbing plants aren’t your “thing” don’t worry. Madison Confederate Jasmine can be used as a groundcover as well. Very little maintenance is required when used in the landscape as a groundcover. You just have to plant it in an area where you can mow or trim around the edges to keep it in bounds.

Madison Confederate jasmine has phlox-like flowers on short stalks. The blooms are creamy white and open in the spring usually around late April or early May. The star shaped flowers are borne on the previous season’s growth.

After flowering, Confederate jasmine puts on a sudden surge of growth. It will require frequent pruning from springtime throughout the summer to keep it confined.

Madison Confederate Jasmine does well in full sun or even in partial shade. It is a very adaptable plant. It seems to flourish in both moist and dry soils. Like many plants, however, it does not like “wet feet.” Be sure to avoid over watering the plant. In addition, the plant is relatively pest free and is not bothered by many insects.

Cold injury can occur on all parts of our landscape plants including fruit, stems, leaves, trunk and roots. Typically, homeowners notice the cold damage first on the leaves and stems. Sometimes this is not noticed until the plant fails to leaf out the following spring.

Windy conditions and accompanying cold may cause plant damage through desiccation (evaporative water loss exceeds water absorption). This is the drying out of the plant. Marginal leaf scorching or leaf-tip burn is characteristic of this problem. Leaves may eventually turn completely brown and defoliate.

Damage to flower and leaf buds can occur during periods of low or fluctuating temperatures. Damage can be appraised by removing several buds and cutting them open to reveal their condition. If they appear green throughout, they are healthy; if they are partially brown or darkened, they have been injured.

We may still get nailed every once in a while with an unseasonably late freeze but Madison Confederate jasmine is a dependable vine you can count on to survive the typical winter weather of north Georgia.

Information about Extension Solutions for Homes and Gardens can be found on the UGA extension website, www.caes.uga.edu/extension/cherokee ; or contact the Cherokee County Extension Office, 1130 Bluffs Parkway, Suite G49, Canton, GA, 30114, 770-721-7803. The Georgia Master Gardener Extension Volunteer Program is a volunteer training program offered through county offices of the UGA extension. Follow Cherokee County Master Gardeners on facebook at www.facebook.com/cherokeemastergardeners for gardening tips as well as upcoming seminars.
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