I love planting exotic plants in my garden, especially aromatic varieties such as night-blooming jasmine.
The night-blooming jasmine (Cestrum nocturnum) is aptly named because its white-yellow, tubular flowers bloom at night; the flowers close during the day. It belongs to the Solanaceae family, also known as the nightshade or potato family of plants. It is known for its scent and is quite possibly the strongest scented plant in the world. When in bloom, the flowers release a scent of sweet perfume that pervades the area within 300-500 feet of the plant.
It is a sub-tropical plant that was first discovered growing in the West Indies and was quite possibly brought to Europe by Christopher Columbus in the 15th century. It can now be found growing in subtropical regions around the world and even in temperate climates, where the winter temperatures do not fall below -10oC (though it may well lose all the new growth and leaves at such low temperatures). Ideally, it grows outside in USDA zones 9-10.
Other Names for the Night-Blooming Jasmine
Cestrum means "a pointed tool," commonly used in art, and nocturnum means "night."
- Lady of the Night
- Night Jasmine
- Night Jessamine
- Night-Blooming Jessamine
- Dama de Noche
- Galan de Noche
- Night-Blooming Cestrum
- Night Queen
- Queen of the Night
Facts You Should Know About the Night-Blooming Jasmine
- Cestrum nocturnum can be grown in cooler climates as a house or conservatory plant.
- I'm not saying you will never need to use air fresheners again, but you certainly won't need them when this plant is in flower. However, as gorgeous as its scent may be, you may soon find it to be overpowering in such close quarters.
- They can reach 10-12 feet in height and have a spread of 6 feet in ideal growing conditions. Prune back into shape after flowering.
- Night-blooming jasmines flower up to four times per year. Afterwards, they produce white berries full of seeds.
- If grown as a houseplant, chances are that the flowers will never pollinate, unless you do it by hand with an artist's brush or similar tool. Cestrum nocturnum is self-pollinating and does not need another plant for cross-pollination. Common pollinators include bats and moths.
- All Cestrum nocturnum plants flower at the same time. If yours is in flower, you can be sure that every other one in the neighborhood is in flower at the same time.
Propagating Night-Blooming Jasmine
There are two common methods of propagating Cestrum.
Using Clippings From Pruning
The night-blooming jasmine roots readily in water. Alternatively, you can simply plant the clippings after pruning in a pot of compost and leave it in a sunny spot. Water it on a consistent basis, and you should see new growth appear within weeks. If you live in a cooler climate (I live in the equivalent of a USDA Zone 10), you may want to cover your pot with polythene (polyethylene) to keep the moisture in until you see new shoots appear. This is a sign that propagation was successful.
Using Seeds From the Berries
If you have pollinated your flowers and they produce berries, leave them on the plant until they shrivel up and fall off. Once this happens, push the seeds into the surface of a pot of compost, water well, and keep in a warm place. You may see new shoots within a few weeks. I have to admit that so far, I have been unsuccessful in propagating Cestrum by seed. However, unless you are trying to develop a new cultivar, it's really not worth the effort of seeding when you can easily root the clippings.
General Tips for Growing Night-Blooming Jasmine
- If there is a night-blooming jasmine already growing in your neighborhood, you might like to ask the owner for a cutting. If not, don't worry; you can easily find them at your local nursery or online on sites like Amazon.
- They like sunlight, but not all day. An east or west facing position is fine for them.
- Water well in the summer, but leave them on the dry side in winter.
- Replace their compost every year if grown in pots. Cestrum nocturnum are hungry plants that can soon sap all the nutrients out of the compost.
- Night-blooming jasmine make very good insect repellents, especially for mosquitoes. I think this is likely because their powerful scent attracts moths and bats that feed on smaller insects.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2011 IzzyM
Diane Hanus on August 05, 2020:
Love the plant, I have three of them. Living now in Florida, they are thriving BUT something is eating all the leaves. I can't find the critter. What kind of repellant should I use? I know we have these huge grasshoppers that they say destroys plants and they are hanging around every summer, they are so big that I would hate to have to squoosh one. Will wait for response. Thank You
Thom Olson on July 24, 2020:
Worst thing in my garden. First year was great. Second year, center keeps dropping leaves and dying off. Growth in the ends but it doesn’t last. Hasn’t bloomed yet this year.
Love on July 11, 2020:
I live north of Atlanta , can I grow in yard or leave it in a pot as for winter I worry about
Henry on June 21, 2020:
I got two from nursery, almost same size, I planted both by the fence , almost same exposure conditions, they are both healthy, but one of them got brooms and other didn’t.
Is there a possible reason.
Toni S on May 12, 2020:
I just received a nbj... my first ever
Do I keep it in a large pot or plant it outside. After reading all of the comments I’m very excited about this plant
Patti on April 17, 2020:
How do they NBJ do in zone 9 I am in AZ. It can get into the 110 to 120 degree.
Bob on February 24, 2020:
Can you possibly tell me the life cycle of an NBJ? It’s for a homework project and I can’t find one anywhere.
Sab on December 23, 2019:
Hey Adrienne, Im in Coastal GA as well, bout a hour south of savannah. How well did the NBJ stand the heat over the summer?
Adrienne on November 27, 2019:
I have a NBJ and love it. I live in Coastal GA and have it planted on the west side of my home. I bought it last year and it bloomed 4 time this year and is now producing seeds. My husband wants to root more when we prune it and plant them every where.
GeniB on October 18, 2019:
I have a beautiful 6ft tall CN next to my front gates in my villa in Portugal. It flowers at least twice a year ,altho the climate here is very hot and dry most of the time ,I do not water it. The only thing that disturbs it and stops it flowering is the huge pepper tree that dominates that part of the garden. I have to remember to prune it back regularly or it grows over the CN and it then doesn't flower in the shade produced. Its flowering now ( Oct )gorgeous
Marruj on October 05, 2019:
I've planted my CN for about 5 months..but it didn't flowered even now..i can't realise what to do..this CN is growing normally..but not blooming..
carol lee wood on September 21, 2019:
My one week is now! Plus I have cuttings growing outside. I've -never- had any problems starting CN from seed. Just put the seed in a wet paper towel and plant when the roots and leaves start.
Carollee on July 04, 2019:
Have had NO problem growing this from seed. I put -up- with this plant so I can enjoy the scent for A week in the summer.
Candy on June 17, 2019:
What is the best way to keep the plant from sprawling. I purchased one a few weeks ago that was almost decimated by leave eating catepillars. After several organic trys, I had to go "nuclear" to rid the plant of them. Now it is flourishing. I expected the height but not the width. I have limits on space. Can it be staked up or pruned back after flowering?
Kim on June 14, 2019:
FYI....nightshade is poisonous, so keep away from pets and kids.
Elizabeth on May 16, 2019:
I had night blooming jasmine on my fence just outside New Orleans. No matter the temp, when it was in bloom my upstairs bedroom window was open. The smell is intoxicating. My daughter just gave me one now that I live in South Carolina. To get it to live I'll buy heating cables. This baby will grow for me. (fingers crossed :-) )
Ms. Sam Of Phila.,Pa. on May 12, 2019:
I ordered 3 from amazon, sadly I don't remember the sellers name. thank goodness, cause so far, my babies are dong great, One in the front lawn and 2 in the back. They stayed in the house for about 2 weeks after their arrival to their new home because the weather was still chilly.
Steve on November 24, 2018:
My NBJ is in full in bloom here in SW Florida and when I go outside it smells like I'm walking past the the perfume counter as Macy's.
Claire on October 12, 2018:
I have looked for this plant my whole adult life and now this spring I bought 4. My memories of my grandpa’s home with night blooming jasmine scent thru out the home was the one place in the world I felt safe. I love what these plants represent to me. Thank you for the information. The last thing I want to do is kill them.
Dan on October 10, 2018:
Not quite sure about it repelling mosquitos, since I have 4 on my property in the back yard, north side, 2 on the west and one on the south. We still have skeeters lol.
Alix on September 23, 2018:
Annabelle, what a beautiful memory.
Yes, it can withstand in hot climates, but don't plant it in the south in direct sunlight,
and give a lot of water
Annabelle on September 08, 2018:
I grew up in California in the 60s and 70s. Our house did not have an air conditioner, so our windows would always be open in the evenings. My mother planted a night blooming jasmine outside the bathroom window. Its beautiful fragrance would fill our bathroom and part of the house. It was amazing! I can smell it now, as it will remain etched in my memory forever. It brings back such sweet memories of feeling safe and loved.
I live in San Antonio TX now and i was wondering if it can withsatnd the heat.
Sabina on August 11, 2018:
My plant big and change compost and water regularly. But it is not blooming any tips
Deborah Cundiff on July 20, 2018:
does night blooming jasmine attract hummingbirds?
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on June 08, 2018:
Night blooming jasmine sounds like an easy plant to grow. The fact of it repelling mosquitoes as well as having a nice fragrance is reason enough to consider planting it. Thanks for all of this good information.
IzzyM (author) from UK on June 08, 2018:
It is best to remove flowers from any cuttings you take. The plant will put all its effort into making seed instead of roots.
Karisma Toribio on June 28, 2017:
Can you name my plant?I guess it belongs to dama de noche breed...Thanks!
stella on December 30, 2015:
Is it true that this plants attract spirits?
IzzyM (author) from UK on May 19, 2011:
I can tell you now it will grow in certain parts of the UK so long as there isn't a severe frost below minus 10 and it is planted in a position that is sheltered from the prevailing winds. By far your best bet would be to grow it in a pot indoors and place it out in the summer. But you are right to want one - it is a fantastic plant.
Movie Master from United Kingdom on May 19, 2011:
Lovely hub, great photos, I must find out if this jasmine grows in the UK, I want one!
Emma from Houston TX on March 11, 2011:
Nice hub with wonderful photos that is very attractive.
rainmist from Las Vegas on February 24, 2011:
It's charm resides in it's aroma .
I like aroma of most flowers !
IzzyM (author) from UK on February 24, 2011:
Steve thanks for that - that is great information! Anytime I have opened to seed heads on the plant while they are unshrivelled, the seeds inside are still white, you must have picked a better time than me to find the seeds black and mature.
Steve on February 24, 2011:
With regards to growing Cestrum Nocturnum from seed, I have been very successful germinating from seed with almost a 100% success rate. However, I don't leave the berry on the plant until it strivels, as suggested but instead harvest by opening the white berry. The seeds are quite large black seeds, an almost shocking contrast between the colour of the berry, (nothing 'standard' about this plant). Planted in a propergator at around 24C, they usually germinate within 2 weeks but could take longer.
Sabrina Yuquan Chen (陈玉泉) from Boston, MA, USA on February 08, 2011:
Yes, I can tell, hehe...It is hard to find a proper job, same here. I want to write more, but afraid it would spoil my health, so now I consider teaching Chinese my top priority, plus singing. One day I think I may master the famous song "what a beautiful jasmine" (throw in a keyword for you here :)
IzzyM (author) from UK on February 08, 2011:
Thanks snakebaby :)
I do this full-time as I've been unable to find a 'proper' job. I adore plants, can you tell? lol
Sabrina Yuquan Chen (陈玉泉) from Boston, MA, USA on February 08, 2011:
Izzym, you always write good hubs, product or not, this Jasmine is yet another one! I've seen you constantly publish hubs, I'm curious how you manage the time, how do you find the time to write so much? Do you write full time? I easily get tired :(