Cestrum / Jasmine

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Abundant clusters of sweetly scented flowers throughout summer

The genus Cestrum contains flowering herbs, vines, shrubs, and small trees, commonly called cestrum or jasmine. Long and heavy blooming, the plants set abundant clusters of showy, highly fragrant flowers throughout the summer season, often until first frost. Typically shades of yellow, orange, gold, or red, the tubular or funnel-shaped flowers sustain bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds, making jasmines a great option for butterfly and pollinator gardens. White, purple, or red berries follow the flowers.

Cestrum is a genus of about 200 species, which are mainly evergreen (in their native habitats) shrubs. They are native to tropical regions, with a range in the Americas from southern Florida to northern Mexico and to southern Chile. In their native habitats, they grow quite tall, reaching heights of up to 15 feet or more; but in cooler climates, where they freeze back to the ground, they stay much smaller, typically 5 to 10 feet high, with similar widths. Some species used in home gardens include C. aurantiacum (orange cestrum), C. corymbosum (yellow cestrum, yellow jessamine), C. elegans (purple cestrum), C. fasciculatum (red cestrum, early jessamine), and C. nocturnum (night-blooming jessamine, lady of the night).

Tough, easy-grow plants, cestrums grow best in sunny locations with moist, loamy soil. They tolerate and generally flower well in light shade and may benefit most from morning sun and afternoon shade, especially in hot climates. Cestrums are heat and humidity tolerant as well as deer and rabbit resistant. All parts of these plants are toxic if ingested.

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