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When and How To Do It

I moved into a new home in 2016 and inherited a tall, somewhat overgrown Star Jasmine vine. It didn’t look horrible, but I just wanted to do some neatening. Late that past winter, a profusion of sweetly scented flowers appeared for weeks, so it was worth saving. This is all about pruning Star Jasmine to shape and rejuvenate it. 

Star Jasmine can be grown in many different forms. I’ve seen this twining plant growing as a vine, a low border hedge, a ground cover, against a wall or fence (it’s great for covering a chain link fence), over an arch, across an arbor, and spilling out of containers.

It has a fast growth rate and is pretty forgiving when it comes to pruning. 

Botanical Name:  Trachelospermum jasminoides              Common Name: Star Jasmine, Confederate Jasmine, Chinese Star Jasmine

Note: This post was published on 7/2/2017.   It was updated on 3/29/2024.

Close up of a star jasmine plant covered in flowers the text reads Pruning A Star Jasmine Vine: When & How To Do It.Close up of a star jasmine plant covered in flowers the text reads Pruning A Star Jasmine Vine: When & How To Do It.
 Here’s why Star Jasmine is so popular – those masses of fragrant flowers that cover the plant!

Pruning Star Jasmine Tips

Note:  This post was written in 2017. I sold this house at the end of 2020, the last time I saw this Star Jasmine. This ornamental plant can take full sun in some climates, but not here. These photos aren’t the clearest. I moved into a new home three years ago and don’t have any new photos to share with you. I wish I did!

What to Know About Star Jasmine Flowering

In some climate zones, it blooms in late winter and late spring, and in others in early summer. This is the one big bloom time for Star Jasmine. The flowers cover the entire plant, making quite the show—not to mention a treat for the olfactory senses! You may get occasional flowering after that, but it’s minimal in comparison.

Jasmine blooms on new growth. Pruning is a good idea because it stimulates new growth, which brings on the flower buds. 

When to Prune Star Jasmine 

The best time to prune Star Jasmine is right after it’s finished flowering. I pruned mine in early May because it had finished flowering at that time. Depending on your desired look and the plant’s shape, it can be pruned fairly hard or on the light side.

If it’s growing rapidly, you may need to prune it one or two more times in summer or early fall. 

However, you don’t want to prune a Star Jasmine too late in the year, as it needs enough time to set its flowers so they can appear in late winter or early spring the next year. 

Are you looking for more growing tips? Check out this Star Jasmine Care Guide.

Up close of a Star Jasmine that isn't in bloom yet. Up close of a Star Jasmine that isn't in bloom yet.
This Star Jasmine growing over an arched doorway had been pruned & is putting out lots of light green new growth. It’s covered in flower buds too.

How Do I Prune Star Jasmine?

This plant isn’t too fussy; you don’t have to have advanced pruning techniques. It grows fast, so you must do it yearly to keep it in the desired shape. You can do it with your pruners, a hedge clipper, or even an electric hedge clipper. The latter isn’t my favorite method, but if you have a 35′ long Star Jasmine border, that’s the fastest way to go. 

Star Jasmine is a great container plant. Although its growth may be constricted when grown in a pot, the same pruning principles apply.

How I Pruned my Star Jasmine Vine

First, the Arizona desert isn’t the best climate for growing this plant. To say mine was in bad shape is an understatement! I inherited this plant with the house, and never would have planted one here in the Sonoran Desert because of the heat/sun factor. Plus, it takes too much water to look good. 

I lived on the California coast for thirty years, and it did and looked much better there.  As a professional San Francisco Bay Area gardener, I maintained many of these plants in every form!

My plant grew against an east wall and was in partial shade for most of the day, except May through September, when it received sun from approximately 1 to 3—some of the most intense hours. At this time, it was one sun and heat-stressed Star Jasmine!

Pruning this evergreen climber stimulated healthy growth and many flowers, but it had burned at the top by late summer every year.

Make sure your tools are ready for the job. Here’s How I Clean & Sharpen My Pruning Tools

1)  First, I “swept” this plant with a broom to knock off the dead leaves. There were many of them, and this helped to keep them from falling on me when I was pruning.

A sparse star jasmine is growing on a trellis. A sparse star jasmine is growing on a trellis.

2) I started pruning at the bottom because the foliage was sparse, and I could tackle it quickly. I basically tipped each stem to encourage filling in, just taking off a leaf node or two of growth.

Heads up: the stems of Star Jasmine emit a white, milky sap. It doesn’t bleed and drip like some Euphorbias do, and it’s not as sticky. I’ve never reacted badly to it, but just be careful if you’re sensitive to this type of thing, as it could cause skin irritation. Some sites list Star Jasmine as non-toxic; others say it’s toxic. 

Never get the sap on your face.  Wearing gloves and long sleeves is a good idea.  

3) I worked my way up the plant as far as I could without the ladder. Star Jasmine is a twining vine (this one grows on wire grid panels attached to the wall) that needs something to attach or grab onto as it grows. Otherwise, it falls back on itself, and the new top growth smothers the undergrowth. 

A freshly pruned star jasmine, trails lay on the ground. A freshly pruned star jasmine, trails lay on the ground.

Heads up: If you’re unsure how much to take off, it’s better to start with light pruning. You can always remove more, but you can’t put it back on. That’s exactly what I did in some spots with this plant—you’ll see it in the video.

4) I needed to remove 6 – 10″ of the top growth to encourage the sparse middle part of the plant to fill in. The stems twined onto each other were pruned back or removed so the load could be lightened—just like cutting thick hair with layers!

The left side of a star jasmine vine has not been pruned the right side has there's a pair of pruners on a ladder in the foreground.The left side of a star jasmine vine has not been pruned the right side has there's a pair of pruners on a ladder in the foreground.
Here you can see where I pruned on the left side. 

5) All the dead stems on the top, most of them underneath, were removed. The older stems were pruned back anywhere from 6″ to 24″. 

Do you have questions about Star Jasmine care? We answer the most commonly asked Questions About Growing Star Jasmine here.

Post Pruning Care

Star Jasmine does and looks best in well-drained soil with regular watering. After the pruning, I gave this Star Jasmine plant a deep watering. I dressed it with 3-4″ of organic compost to nourish and prevent it from drying out too fast. When it comes to feeding most landscape plants, I prefer to use compost and worm compost.

To be honest, this plant never fully filled in. It got healthier and looked much better, but various degrees of sunburn would set it back each summer. Flowers covered the top of the plant at the end of winter into spring so that was always enjoyable. And the shape was a great improvement.

Planting a Star Jasmine here in the Sonoran Desert is an example of pushing the limits regarding plant choice!

A star jasmine vine after being pruned this plant is very thin with little growth in the middle.A star jasmine vine after being pruned this plant is very thin with little growth in the middle.
Post pruning. Not the most beautiful Star Jasmine, but it did look much better the following winter!

Pruning Video Guide

I didn’t want my Star Jasmine to look scalped or like a chimney. It did look a bit awkward, but the lush, new, springy green growth appeared by the early winter months, and the plant was on its merry way to filling in, halfway, anyway!  

Pruning your jasmine this year will bring on new growth and flowers next year. You can look forward to a mass of sweetly scented, starry white flowers covering your plant in spring!  

Happy gardening,

Signed by Nell FosterSigned by Nell Foster

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