Jasminum Sambac…The “King of Flowers”
The fragrance from this flower makes me swoon from intoxication. It smells so wonderful you might wish you could eat it…and you can. This flower is the glorious jasmine. It has been highly sought after and prized for many centuries. Once you’ve held it in your hand, you will want it in your garden as well. It blooms profusely and will even do so in filtered light. It doesn’t mind short periods of drought and is easy to care for. Since it is a tropical, it grows in zones 9-10. But, if you don’t live in the tropics, don’t give up on it. It can be grown indoors! It would need to be kept in an area that has quite a lot of sunlight, but not so much that it burns the plant leaves. When the weather warms up over 50 degrees it can be taken outside. We had many nights here in zone 9b that were in the low 20′s this year and my jasmines are fine. I keep some in pots and some in the ground. They do grow great in pots.
The ‘Grand Duke of Tuscany’ jasmine is my favorite. That’s a flower in the picture above. It is very slow-growing. I am also growing ‘Maid of Orleans’, which grows quickly and vines. This is the variety that is used to make jasmine tea. There are several other varieties that I have been looking for. I know I’ll find them eventually…’Arabian Nights’, ‘Mysore Mulli’, ‘Belle of India’ and the elusive ‘Mali Chat’.
My favorite way to enjoy these beauties is to pick a few flowers and add them to a pitcher of ice water. That’s it. Voila! Jasmine Water. You could let it sit for 24 hours or just enjoy it immediately. I find that these flowers don’t need to sit for long to flavor your entire pitcher with a light floral flavor. Refreshing and yummy. I add sugar for the kids, but I prefer mine without. My kids ask for this everyday when it’s blooming. Since I usually have more flowers than I know what to do with, I usually just let some float in a pretty bowl on the counter to fill the air with the scent of jasmine.
I think we are all a little happier when the house smells like jasmine. There are endless possibilities to the culinary delights that could be created with these flowers. A sugary syrup would be exotic and irresistable. It can be poured over fruits, ice cream, iced teas , rice, etc. However, I want to add a warning here: the jasmine that you are likely to encounter growing in parking lots and in most people’s yards is highly poisonous! It is not Jasminum sambac, it just smells similar.
If you’re hooked now and want one too, they can be purchased through Top Tropicals plant nursery. They have a great website that is full of information on many kinds of plants. I’ve always had good luck with them. Actually, now I’m going to see if that ‘Mali Chat’ is available through them.
Come grow with us!