We have several jasmine plants in our backyard and while they’re growing well and attracting lots of bees, we wanted to discover their best companions. So, I did some research. Here’s what I found.
The best companion plants for jasmine are bananas, bamboo, hibiscus, citrus, clematis, and rambling rose. Ideally, plant companions that are in a similar climate and in different niches so they don’t compete with jasmine. For example, bananas are an overstory—providing partial shade and mulch for jasmine.
So, while these are some companions for jasmine, what benefits do they provide, and what are some other companions? Let’s take a closer look.
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Benefits of Companion Planting
Companion planting is selecting specific plants to place together to achieve benefits, such as increasing pollination or repelling pests. Sometimes these benefits are one-sided, while others are mutual.
A famous example is The Three Sisters—planting corn, beans, and squash together. The corn provides a trellis for the beans to climb, the squash provides a ground cover, and the beans fix nitrogen in the soil. Plus, all of them provide food!
Here’s a list of the benefits that gardens gain from companion planting:
- Boost Pollination
- Repel Pests
- Prevent Weeds
- Fix Nitrogen
- Amend the Soil
- Protect the Soil
- Reduce Evaporation
- Provide a Living Trellis
- Maximize Space
- Produce More Food
If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of companion planting, check out my other post: The Top 10 Benefits of Companion Planting.
Companion Benefits of Jasmine
Jasmine’s two biggest benefits are that it’s a ground cover and pollinator attractor.
Generally, jasmine is a great companion plant to use in the vining and ground cover niches. It helps tie in other companions such as overstory, midstory, and understory plants—filling in the gaps of sunlight left by these plants’ canopies.
Its vining nature allows it to spread horizontally along the ground, reducing evaporation and regulating soil temperature. On the other hand, its strong-scented flowers attract tons of pollinators and beneficial insects including butterflies, hummingbirds, bees, and ladybugs.
Keep in mind that jasmine grows vigorously, so it can compete with other ground covers or vining plants.
Jasmine is a hardy, subtropical plant hardy down to zone 7, but it’s ideal to use in tropical and subtropical climates (zones 9-11, source). Because of this, it’s generally great to pair with plants in the same climate, which are most, if not all, of the companions on the following list.
Type of Jasmine
While there are many types of jasmine, the main thing to know with companion planting is if your jasmine variety is a bush or a vine. For example, star jasmine is one of the best varieties to use as a vine for a vertical trellis or a fence. On the other hand, winter jasmine works well as a bush or shrub.
The most popular type of jasmine is common jasmine, which is a deciduous vine with clusters of pure-white, starry flowers that bloom throughout the summer. Common jasmine can be dual purpose in companion planting—trained to either be used as a vining plant or pruned to a shrub.
Here are the different varieties of jasmine:
- Common Jasmine (Jasminum officinale)
- Spanish Jasmine (Jasminum grandiflorum)
- Arabian Jasmine (Jasminum sambac)
- Winter Jasmine (Jasminum nudiflorum)
- Downey Jasmine (Jasminum pubescens)
- Dwarf Jasmine (Chrysojasminum parkeri)
- Pink Jasmine (Jasminum polyanthum)
- Forest Jasmine (Jasminium abyssinicum)
- Asian Star Jasmine (Trachelospermum asiaticum)
- Italian Jasmine (Chrysojasminum humile)
- Primrose Jasmine (Jasminum mesnyi)
- Royal Jasmine (Jasminum nobile or Jasminum rex)
- Stiff Jasmine (Jasminum volubile)
- Wild Jasmine (Chrysojasminum fruticans)
- Lemon-Scented Jasmine (Jasminum azoricum)
- Night-blooming Jasmine (Cestrum nocturnum)
- Cape Jasmine (Gardenia jasminoides)
Keep in mind that some of these plants look similar to jasmine, but aren’t true jasmine. For example, star jasmine is not related to true jasmine and is actually native to China. Generally, the plants in the genus Jasminium are true jasmine plants.
Now, let’s jump into the best companion plants for jasmine.
Like most of jasmine’s companions, bananas are also from the tropics. Banana plants provide jasmine with an overstory layer, which is great at providing it with partial shade during the intense summer heat in the tropics.
Since banana plants only take 9 months to fruit and die after fruiting (they have new “pups” from the root-base that sprout constantly), banana plants are an amazing source of biomass and mulch for jasmine.
Simply chop and drop the main banana plant when it’s done fruiting and place it as a mulch at the base of your jasmine plant. Keep the mulch at least 3 inches away from the plant’s main stem as it can introduce mold.
However, avoid pruning your fruit tree canopies during tropical springs and summers when understory plants (like jasmine) need the most protection from the heat.
Pro-tip: it’s a common practice to have banana pups growing at different stages to quickly replace the main banana plant after harvesting.
Bamboo is one of the best companion plants for jasmine because it helps shade the surrounding area incredibly well, reaching 15-39 feet tall. This makes bamboo a great midstory for jasmine.
Growing at a crazy fast speed, some varieties of bamboo can grow one inch every 40 minutes (source). As a result of its vigorous growth, there are many uses for bamboo, especially in building applications. When it comes to homesteading, it’s a highly valuable material and can be used for trellises, firewood, biochar, and more.
Growing bamboo also promotes better biodiversity—providing shelter and food for many beneficial insects and life in your companion planting garden.
Some great companion plants for bamboo are palm trees, bananas, and other tropical fruit trees. Ideally, midstory plants should be as close to the overstory as possible to maximize sunlight and growing space. Because of this, bamboo should be planted 10 feet or more away from other plants for best results.
Avoid planting bamboo in areas that would block too much sun from other plants. Generally, planting on the north side works best (if you’re in the southern hemisphere, this would be the south side).
Keep in mind that most varieties of bamboo grow aggressively and can compete with jasmine, so plant with caution!
Hibiscus are flowering plants that are native to warm-temperate, subtropical, and tropical regions, making them easy to grow as a companion plant to jasmine. Most hibiscus varieties grow best in USDA hardiness zones 9-12.
There are many varieties of hibiscus, ranging from small plants to woody shrubs and small trees. However, the most popular hibiscus is Hibiscus sabdariffa, also called roselle. This plant is best known for a red and tart herbal tea made from its flowers. Another common name for hibiscus tea is carcade (source).
Hibiscus also has other benefits for jasmine such as attracting a large number of pollinators.
So, along with providing a companion plant for your jasmine, if you’re looking to have a great tasting, non-caffeinated herbal tea on your homestead, roselle is a great plant to grow.
If cared for well, a hibiscus plant can grow up to 8 feet (source), serving as a good mid to understory plant for jasmine.
4. Citrus Trees
Citrus trees are normally thorny and can grow to more than 20 feet tall, serving as an over to midstory for jasmine.
Other than attracting pollinators with their flowers, citrus trees also provide jasmine with partial shade, groundwater retention (from their roots), and mulch (from their leaves and branches).
There are many varieties of citrus trees, all with different uses, flavors, and hardiness. Some of the most popular are:
- Lemons (Meyer, Eureka)
- Limes (Persian, Mexican, Kaffir)
- Oranges (Mandarin, Blood)
Of course, there are many others. I grew up with lemon/orange hybrids, along with limes, tangerines, grapefruits, and kumquats. My family currently has several citrus trees, with the recent addition of a Kaffir lime tree (I got it after attending a cooking class in Thailand and seeing how they use the leaves in their dishes).
Citrus trees are also relatively easy to grow. Generally, once they have well-draining soil and enough sunlight, you just need to make sure to water them enough and keep them protected from any frost.
Other than that, you can apply a fertilizer every now and then (I like using a 2-inch layer of compost every couple of months). You can also use homemade fertilizer made from kitchen and garden waste like coffee grounds and grass clippings.
On the other hand, some cons I’ve seen with citrus trees are that they can get pests and diseases such as aphids and root rot. However, the biggest con for many growers is how long citrus trees take to grow and fruit.
Like other fruit trees, citrus trees grown from seed can take up to 7 years to fruit, and even then, there’s no guarantee the fruit is even edible! Because of this, many prefer to get grafted citrus trees from nurseries such as Fast Growing Trees. Grafted fruit trees start fruiting within 2-3 years and are generally hardier than those grown from seeds.
5. Avocado Trees
Avocado trees are tropical fruiting trees and go great when planted with jasmine. Together, they attract pollinators like crazy. Like citrus trees, avocado trees also provide jasmine with partial shade, water retention, mulch, and more.
While avocado trees are great once you get them going, they are notoriously more sensitive than the other tropical plants on this list. They can commonly get issues such as leaves drooping, yellowing, or browning.
But, once they mature, and are in well-draining soil, they’ll grow and fruit nicely.
Keep in mind that even though avocado trees are technically self-pollinating, they do require another avocado tree of a different type (type A or B). If you’d like to see more about the different avocado types, you can check out my recent post on why avocado trees won’t flower or fruit.
Some other avocado tree companions are lavender, melons, and sweet potatoes. However, jasmine and melons can compete since they’re both a vining ground cover, so keep an eye on them or place a plant in-between from a different niche (such as avocado trees).
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6. Rambler Roses
Rambler roses are vigorous roses that only flower once per year (unlike climbing roses). Usually, they bloom in the summer.
However, rambler roses are a fantastic companion to jasmine as they attract pollinators and other beneficial insects. They also bring all the benefits that other midstory plants provide.
Rambler roses are not much work, require little to no pruning, and are a great option for natural privacy screens, hiding walls, filling spaces, and more. Unlike climbing roses, rambler roses have fewer thorns and flexible stems, making them easier to weave in between fences and trellises.
When planting with jasmine, keep the two plants at least 5-10 feet apart since they’re both aggressive growers. Rambler roses can grow 40 feet tall or higher, so plant accordingly!
Clematis, also known as the leather flower and the “queen of vines”, is part of the buttercup family. This perennial flower’s origin can be traced back to China and Japan and blooms in the spring and summer.
Like jasmine, clematis can function as a vine or a ground cover—providing water retention and a habitat for beneficial insects while attracting plenty of pollinators with its flowers.
However, clematis is the only plant on this companion list that does not thrive in subtropical or tropical climates. Because of this, it’s best to grow clematis in USDA hardiness zones 4-8 (source).
While clematis prefers full sun (6+ hours), its roots can easily get overheated. So, provide clematis with some protection—especially from the western sun as the afternoon sun is the hottest. A good solution would be to plant a citrus or avocado tree west of your clematis plant.
As a result of its heat sensitivity, many gardeners in warmer climates grow clematis as an annual or in a cooler microclimate (such as the citrus and avocado tree example above).
For more information about microclimates, check out this cool video by Gardener Scott:
8. Mexican Sunflower
Mexican sunflowers (Tithonia diversifolia) attract pollinators like crazy and grow best in USDA hardiness zones 9 and above, so they’re great to plant with your jasmine. This flowering plant grows to a height of 4-6 feet.
I first heard of Mexican sunflowers from Pete Kanaris at Green Dreams Farm. He claimed that, when mulched, it the same amount of nitrogen pound for pound as chicken manure. Because of this, they’re often called green manure. And based on his backyard food forest’s growth, I’d say that it’s clearly working!
To see Mexican sunflower mulch in action, check out this video by Pete.
9. Birds of Paradise
Birds of paradise are another great understory plant. This flowering plant can grow to a large width, providing a boost to pollination and ground cover—making it a good companion plant for jasmine. In fact, birds of paradise are one of the companion plants we choose to use for our jasmine plants.
Like many of the other plants on this list, birds of paradise are fairly flexible with their soil pH, requiring a range between 5.5-7.5.
These plants commonly have a root ball that is about 1-2 feet wide, so make sure to allow enough space from other plants. Good spacing is about 4-6 feet from other plants, but a well-managed garden or food forest can allow for more density (source).
However, when planting birds of paradise in the understory of other plants, make sure to allow for enough sunlight to reach them, as they require full sun (6+ hours a day).
10. Sweet Potatoes
Similar to vetch, sweet potatoes are an amazing perennial ground cover (annual in temperate climates) and provide much-needed water retention, soil temperature regulation, and reduced soil erosion.
Since sweet potatoes are not related to regular potatoes (part of the nightshade family), their leaves are actually edible.
Sweet potatoes are also easily propagated as you just need a single stem or slip (either from the tuber or vine). As long as you have decent, loose soil, and moderate watering, you’ll have tons of sweet potatoes ready to harvest in a single season.
Keep in mind sweet potatoes can compete with jasmine if they’re both near each other and grown as ground covers. For this reason, consider growing sweet potatoes as a ground cover and jasmine on a vertical trellis.
More Companion Plants for Jasmine
As a bonus, here are even more companion plants for jasmine:
- Palm trees
- Flowering Sage
- Mango trees (and other tropical fruits)
What Not To Plant With Jasmine
Vines that can compete with jasmine:
Ground covers that can compete with jasmine:
- Sweet Potatoes
Generally, avoid growing other plants in the same niche near jasmine. For example, if you’re growing jasmine as a vine up a trellis, I wouldn’t recommend growing another vine up the same trellis. The same is true if you’re using jasmine as a ground cover. However, you can separate two different ground covers with a barrier of other plants.
Where to Buy Companion Plants
Generally, you can find these companion plants at your local nursery. However, lots of nurseries have had reduced availability over the past few years. Because of this, many gardeners have found that online nurseries such as Fast Growing Trees have more selection, good prices, and healthy plants.
And I’ve also found this to be the case—I’ve ordered several fruit trees from Fast Growing Trees, including apple, fig, and cherry, and all plants were delivered swift, neat, and healthy (see below).