Jasmine vs. Turf

The Project

Phase 1

Phase 2

Phase 3

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Jasmine vs. Turf  
While Asiatic jasmine is virtually maintenance-free, it is probably not ideal as a replacement for all turf areas or in all situations. Since it is vine-like and forms a mat of growth 12 inches or more in height, it is not as easy to walk on as turf. Therefore, install Asiatic jasmine ground covers in those areas of a lawn or landscape that are seldom walked through, but still maintained. By doing so, fertilizers, pesticides, and especially irrigation would be greatly reduced. Turfgrass will likely be preferred in high-traffic areas, children’s play areas, and lawns for sports activities. Because Asiatic jasmine grows by multiple spreading stems, it will invade and cover over turf areas and sidewalks if not kept inbounds by edging. It can become particularly aggressive in heavier soils, or where fertilizer and water are especially abundant.

When kept under control, Asiatic jasmine does not usually climb. However, the plant is capable of climbing trees or structures if neglected for a long period of time. When this occurs, the climbing parts of the plant undergo a physiological change, which causes a change in leaf morphology and sporadic flowering. The tendency to climb is much weaker for Asiatic jasmine compared to Confederate jasmine, which is a voracious climber.

A bed of Asiatic jasmine in a Central Florida yard. Occassional cutting back may be required to keep the ground cover inbounds. A woody vine-like plant, Asiatic jasmine is not recommended for areas of heavy foot traffic.

While Asiatic jasmine has been grown in Florida for over 30 years, it has always been produced and sold in containers like other landscape plants. Thus, installation of this ground cover in a yard requires the purchase of a large number of containers, which then must be individually planted. The recommended spacing is 12-inch centers between plants in 4-inch pots, and 18-inch centers for 1-gallon pots. Thus, a 10 ft x 50 ft area would require 245 1-gallon plants, which would then take 4 to 6 months to fill in the empty space between plants. The initial labor required, combined with the time it takes to achieve the desired level of coverage, has limited the use of ground covers like Asiatic jasmine on a large scale, despite its maintenance advantages over turfgrass.

A rooted cutting of Texas longleaf jasmine, a cultivar of Asiatic jasmine. Ground covers are typically grown in individual containers, usually 1-gallon pots. Thus, installation over a large area is very labor-intensive.