The fragrance of jasmine flowers (Jasminum spp.) is unforgettable. It’s among the most expensive perfume ingredients, with 1,000 pounds of jasmine flowers required for 1 pound of jasmine oil. Jasmines are native to subtropical and tropical regions from Iraq, India and China to Malaysia. The most intensely fragrant jasmines have white, tubular, night-blooming blossoms and are hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 7 through 11, with variant for species. Several cultivated crops unrelated to jasmine approximate jasmine’s odor and flowering habits and blossom in spring.
Star jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides), also referred to as Confederate jasmine, is a woody vine which may be grown in the ground or in containers. Hardy in USDA zones 8 through 10, it is in the dogbane or Apocynaceae family, whilst jasmine is in the olive or Oleaceae family. Profuse, white, pinwheel-shaped, powerfully scented blossoms can cover the plant in spring, using occasional summertime rebloom. A vine can cover a 3 to 6 ft region, but needs a trellis or other assistance. Grow it in sun in cool summer areas and partial shade to shade in hot summer climates.
Normally a medium-sized tree, orange jasmine (Murraya paniculata) can be trained as a small tree. In the citrus family or Rutaceae, the fragrant, white flowers occur not just in spring, but sometimes throughout the year, followed by red berries that attract birds. Evergreen plants are hardy in USDA zones 9b through 11. They are suitable for small spaces and also for use as hedges and may be invasive.
As with true jasmine, night-blooming jasmine (Cestrum nocturnum) blossoms can be nearly overwhelmingly fragrant. White, tubular flowers bloom from spring through summer and create white berries. In the nightshade family or Solanaceae, night-blooming jasmine creates a spreading bush, useful as a specimen or background plant using a spread of up to 12 feet wide and height of 4 feet. Growing in USDA zones 8 through 11, it grows best in full sun but will tolerate light shade.
Usually grown as an yearly plant, flowering tobacco (Nicotiana alata) is hardy in USDA zones 10 through 11. Fast-growing plants grow 3 to 5 feet tall, with clusters of long-tubed white to yellowish-green blossoms which are moth-pollinated. More compact magnets (Nicotiana x sanderae) take up less lawn space and can still perfume a sizable place. The “Merlin” series (Nicotiana x sanderae “Merlin”) is 1 to 3 feet tall. Apart from white, the blossom colors available in this series include purple, red, green, yellow and pink. The blossom time starts in spring and goes through the summer. In warm winter climates, plant the seed in autumn.