Jasmine trees produce small, very fragrant white flowers.

How to Trim Carolina Jasmine

by Jenny Harrington

Carolina jasmine (Gelsemium sempervirens) features tall leafy vines that produce sunny yellow flowers from late winter through spring. This evergreen vine grows in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 7 through 9. Carolina jasmine climbs fences, trellises and other plants as it tries to reach the sun. A mature vine can reach up to 20 feet tall. Grow it in a full-sun location and prune it annually right after it finishes flowering to keep the plant as small as 3 feet tall.

Mix one part bleach with nine parts water in a bucket. Wash the pruning shears in the solution before pruning and between each plant to disinfect the shears and prevent the spread of disease pathogens.

Locate any dead or damaged vines or branches. Trace the vine to its base and cut it from the plant at ground level or where it joins to healthy wood.

Trim back old vines that have developed weak foliage and become top heavy, but are otherwise healthy. Cut these off 12 to 24 inches above the ground to force new foliage growth.

Prune the remaining healthy vines to lightly shape the Carolina jasmine as desired. Make each cut within 1/4 inch of a leaf or leaf bud to avoid bare stems at the top of the plant.

Cut broken or dead vines as needed throughout the growing season. Cut these back to the nearest healthy wood. If the entire vine is dead, remove it at its base.

Items you will need

  • Bucket
  • Bleach
  • Pruning shears


  • Carolina jasmine can also grow as a low ground cover. Mow the ground cover at the highest lawnmower setting approximately every three years to keep it healthy and trimmed.


  • All parts of the Carolina Jasmine are highly poisonous and sometimes fatal if ingested. Wear gloves when you work around the plant and instruct your children never to touch or eat the plant.

About the Author

Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications. Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.

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