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Night Blooming Jasmine - Cestrum Nocturnum

Updated on December 3, 2012

The botanical name for Night Blooming Jasmine is cestrum nocturnum. 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 sub-tropical areas the world over, and even in temperate climates where the winter temperature does not fall below -100C maximum (though it may well lose all the new growth and leaves at such low temperatures).

Ideally it grows outside in USDA zones 9 - 10.

Known for its powerful scent, Night Blooming Jasmine (also sometimes called Jessamine) is quite possible the strongest scented plant in the world. When in flower, its powerful scent invades the air and can be smelt from a distance of 300 - 500 yards away from the source plant.

It's pale green tubular flowers open at night to release this scent. This is almost certainly to attract its pollinators which may be a moth or a bat. By day the petals of cestrum nocturnum are tightly closed.

cestrum nocturnum (night blooming jasmine) in the daytime with its flowers closed
cestrum nocturnum (night blooming jasmine) in the daytime with its flowers closed

Cestrum nocturnum - other names

Cestrum means a pointed tool, commonly used in art, and Nocturnum means night.

  • Night Blooming Jasmine
  • 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

Cestrum nocturnum can be grown in cooler climates as a house or conservatory plant, though you may well find its scent, gorgeous though it is, overpowering at such close range.

They can reach 10 - 12 feet in height and have a spread of 6 feet under ideal growing conditions. Prune back into shape after flowering.

Night Blooming Jasmines flower up to 4 times per year, after which they produce white berries full of seed.

If grown as a houseplant the chances are that the flowers will never pollinate, unless you do it by hand with an artist's brush or similar. Cestrum nocturnum is self-pollinating and does not need another plant for cross-pollination.

All cestrum nocturnum plants flower at the same time. If yours is in flower, you can be sure that every other night blooming jasmine in the neighborhood will be in flower at the same time.

night blooming jasmine in flower (night time)
night blooming jasmine in flower (night time)
a softwood branch of night blooming jasmine which make great cuttings
a softwood branch of night blooming jasmine which make great cuttings

Cestrum nocturnum propagation

The Night Blooming Jasmine (cestrum nocturnum) roots readily in water. Another good way to propagate it is to simply plant the clippings after pruning in a compost filled pot sitting in a sunny spot. Remember to water now and again, and you should see new growth appear within weeks.

If you have pollinated your flowers and they produce berries, leave on the plant until they shrivel up and fall off.

Push the seeds into the surface of a compost filled pot, water well and keep in a warm place, and you may be rewarded with new shoots within a few weeks.

I must confess that so far I have been unsuccessful in propagating cestrum nocturnum by seed, but to honest unless you are trying to develop a new cultivar, it's not worth the effort when you can easily root a cutting.

if you live in a cooler climate (I live in the equivalent of USDA zone 10), you may want to put your cutting into a compost filled pot, water well and place in a warm, sunny spot, perhaps covered with polythene to keep the moisture in until new shoots appear. This indicates that roots have formed and that your propagation has been successful.

cestrum nocturnum covered in berries containing seed (usually 4 or 5 seeds per berry)
cestrum nocturnum covered in berries containing seed (usually 4 or 5 seeds per berry)
rooted cuttings so night blooming jasmine
rooted cuttings so night blooming jasmine

If there is a night blooming jasmine a.k.a cestrum nocturnum plant already growing in your neighborhood, you might like to ask the owner for a cutting.

If not, no worries because Amazon sell cestrum nocturnum plants.

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.

They like sunlight, but not all day. An east or west facing position is fine for them. Water well in summer but leave 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 goodness out of the compost.

They are also very good for keeping insects away, especially mosquitoes. I think this is more likely to be because their powerful scent attracts moths and bats which may well feed off smaller insects.

Cestrum nocturnum are members of the family SOLANACEAE, which also includes potatoes.


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    • profile image

      Karisma Toribio 9 months ago

      Can you name my plant?I guess it belongs to dama de noche breed...Thanks!

    • profile image

      stella 2 years ago

      Is it true that this plants attract spirits?

    • IzzyM profile image

      IzzyM 6 years ago from UK

      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 profile image

      Movie Master 6 years ago from United Kingdom

      Lovely hub, great photos, I must find out if this jasmine grows in the UK, I want one!

    • crystolite profile image

      Emma 7 years ago from Houston TX

      Nice hub with wonderful photos that is very attractive.

    • rainmist profile image

      rainmist 7 years ago from Las Vegas

      It's charm resides in it's aroma .

      I like aroma of most flowers !

    • IzzyM profile image

      IzzyM 7 years ago from UK

      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.

    • profile image

      Steve 7 years ago

      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.

    • snakebaby profile image

      Sabrina Yuquan Chen (陈玉泉) 7 years ago from Boston, MA, USA

      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 profile image

      IzzyM 7 years ago from UK

      Thanks snakebaby :)

      I do this full-time as I've been unable to find a 'proper' job. I adore plants, can you tell? lol

    • snakebaby profile image

      Sabrina Yuquan Chen (陈玉泉) 7 years ago from Boston, MA, USA

      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 :(