Night Blooming Jasmine - Cestrum Nocturnum
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 - 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.
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.
Buy a cestrum nocturnum plant
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.