How to Revive a Dying Jasmine Plant

Why is my jasmine dying

Is your Jasmine dying, and you are not sure why? Do not worry, as it can often be revived if we make a few adjustments to its environment.

Jasmine leaves turn yellow in response to overwatering, underwatering, and nutrient deficiencies in the soil. If the leaves are curling, turning brown, or dropping off, this is due to a combination of too much heat, sunlight, and dry soil.

Whilst too much sunlight and heat is usually the reason I see for dying jasmine, here is a table summarizing the most common reasons for dying jasmine plants that I’ve come across…

Symptoms of a Dying Jasmine Plant:Reasons Your Jasmine Plants Are Dying:
Jasmine Dying Back in Winter:Not all jasmine cultivars are Winter hardy, and some varieties die back in freezing temperatures.
Jasmine Leaves Turning Yellow:Overwatering and underwatering cause yellowing leaves. Nutrient deficiencies and alkaline soils can cause yellow leaf veins (chlorosis).
Jasmine Leaves Curling, Turning Brown, or Dropping Off and drying out:A trifecta of too much heat, too much direct sunshine, and drought stress all cause curling leaves that turn brown and drop off. Leaves can also drop off in Winter. Small pots also dry out too quickly in the sun causing the leaves to curl.
Jasmine Leaves Dropping Off in Winter:Most jasmine species are deciduous and drop some of their leaves in Winter.
Jasmine Leaves Turning Red and Dropping Off:Star jasmines (Trachelospermum jasminoides) have leaves that turn red in Winter before dropping off naturally. If the leaves are turning red at any other time of year it is likely due to environmental stress such as a nutrient deficiency or overwatering.

To revive your dying jasmine plants recreate the conditions of their natural habitat by growing jasmine in the morning sun followed by afternoon shade, replanting it in soil that is amended with organic matter, and protecting it from freezing temperatures in Winter.

Keep reading to learn why your Jasmine is dying and how to revive it…

My Jasmine Plant is Dying Back in The Winter

Suppose your jasmine is dying back in the Winter. In that case, this is usually because several species of jasmine are either not cold-hardy or only half-hardy and, therefore, are likely to die back due to cold temperatures.

Jasmine is native to tropical regions and has adapted to climates mild to warm consistent temperatures even in Winter and typically die back due to cold when cultivated outside of their native range.

The only jasmine species that I have grown reliably in a garden that experiences frost is the appropriately named ‘Winter Jasmine‘, also known as Jasminum nudiflorum, which prefers a sheltered spot but can tolerate frosts and freezing temperatures in Winter. However, it may suffer from extreme, prolonged cold.

All other species of Jasmine need to be either in a very sheltered spot that is free of frost or grown in pots and brought indoors if your climate is particularly cold, with some cultivars, such as Jasminum polyanthum needing to be brought indoors (ideally in a conservatory or heated greenhouse for the light) and protected from temperatures as mild as 55˚F to 59˚F (13˚C to 15˚C) at night such is its intolerance to cold.

I should emphasize that most popular jasmine cultivars are deciduous and lose leaves in Winter as part of their natural cycle, so as long as they are not exposed to freezing temperatures, the jasmine should reemerge next year.

How to Revive it…

To be honest with you, most nonhardy jasmine plants die in winter frost and cannot be revived.

However, I would recommend using a thick layer of mulch ( such as compost) of about three inches to use as insulation around the base of the jasmine to protect the rootstock, which may still be alive under the soil even if all the foliage and branches look dead.

It is possible that the jasmine cold regrows in the Spring with warmer temperatures, so it is worth waiting to see.

The best advice I have is to simply plant dig up any jasmine that has not survived Winter and replanting with the cold hardy Winter jasmine (Jasminum nudiflorum).

You can grow tender or half-hardy varieties in a pot and bring them indoors in the Fall to protect them from the cold if there is a specific non-hardy variety that you want to grow in your garden.

Reasons Jasmine Leaves Turn Yellow

From my years working as a gardener, I have seen Jasmine leaves turn yellow in response to various environmental stresses such as overwatering, poor drainage, underwatering, alkaline soils, low nutrients, low light, or humidity.

However, if just a few leaves are turning yellow and dropping off, this is just a normal part of the jasmine’s life cycle, and I can assure you it is not a cause for concern.

Overwatering and Underwatering Turning the Leaves Yellow

The appearance of both an overwatered and underwatered jasmine is very similar, with yellow leaves that can curl up and drop off.

Therefore the best way to determine the cause is to check the soil moisture. Jasmine plants need moist yet well-draining soil, so they do not tolerate saturated soil.

The soil may be too damp for the jasmine to tolerate due to:

  • Watering the jasmine too often.
  • Pots without drainage holes in the base.
  • The jasmine is planted in slow-draining soils such as clay.

If the soil is too damp, then yellowing leaves are usually the first indication that I would expect to see. Too much water around the roots prevents root respiration.

If the roots cannot respire, then they cannot draw up the moisture and nutrients that the jasmine needs, which results in yellowing leaves. Chronically overwatered jasmines tend to develop root rot, which makes them difficult to revive.

However, the soil can dry out too much and cause your leaves to turn yellow if:

  • There is a heat wave or drought.
  • Your Jasmine’s pot is too small and, therefore, dries out too quickly.
  • The soil is sandy and doesn’t retain much moisture.

How to Revive Yellow Leaves due to Overwatering and Underwatering

To revive your jasmine with yellow leaves, we must address the environmental stress and create optimal growing conditions. If the soil feels damp…

  • Reduce how often you water your jasmine. Consider that jasmines outdoors typically only need to be watered in their first year of planting to ensure they establish a good root system. After which, it is usually only necessary to water in times of drought (assuming the jasmine is planted in good soil that retains moisture).
  • Ensure that your jasmine is planted in a pot with drainage holes in the base, and empty any saucers or trays of excess water regularly. Jasmines need good drainage to avoid their leaves turning yellow; therefore, it is imperative that any potted jasmines have good drainage.
  • Transplant your jasmine if it is in a boggy area of your garden or if you have heavy clay soils. The best time for transplanting is typically Spring, but if your leaves are turning yellow due to boggy soil it is important to transplant at any time of the year to prevent it dying. If you have clay soils I would recommend repotting jasmine in pots, as you can plant it in its ideal potting medium of good, moist compost whilst also being well draining.

With the right care, the jasmine can recover, and I would expect it to regrow healthy green leaves in the Spring. However, if it has been in boggy soil for too long and all the leaves are yellow and dropping off, I usually find it can be too difficult to save the jasmine.

To save to drought stressed Jasmine with yellowing leaves:

  • If your jasmine is in a relatively small pot, repot your jasmine. A bigger pot has the capacity for more compost and, therefore, the capacity to retain more moisture, which should alleviate any drought stress.
  • Water your jasmine regularly if potted and generously during its first year of growth (and during heat waves). I found that pots can dry out in the sun too quickly for the jasmine roots to uptake the moisture so water as often as required to keep the potting moist.
  • Always water jasmine with a generous soak, as this promotes good root growth, which should increase its resilience to drought.
  • If your garden soil is sandy, then you can either repot your jasmine or use mulch around the base of the plant to help retain moisture. Use a thick layer of mulch (compost is best) to keep the jasmine’s roots cool and retain moisture. I would recommend mulching every year at the start of Spring, especially if the garden soil is particularly fast-draining.

I have personally saved jasmine plants with a good soak and then repotting it to a larger pot with more compost.

If the leaves have turned completely yellow, then I’m afraid they will not turn green again. However, new green growth should emerge in the Spring and Summer.

It is unlikely the jasmine flowers will be under stress, so typically, I would expect that you may have to wait until the following year to see new flowering.

Jasmine Leaves Turning Yellow due to Low Nutrients or Soil pH

If the jasmine’s leaf veins are turning yellow, then this typically indicates a nutrient deficiency in the soil (usually iron) or the soil is too alkaline.

Jasmine prefers slightly acidic soil (around pH 6) but can grow in neutral soil (pH 7). However, I have personally seen jasmine plants struggle if the soil is much higher than pH 7 because the roots cannot uptake certain nutrients due to alkalinity.

If you have other plants that prefer acidic soil in your garden (such as roses), then alkalinity is unlikely to be the problem.

However, if the jasmine is planted in poor soil or in a pot, then I would suggest that the cause is more likely that the roots may have exhausted the nutrients in the soil, which can turn the leaves yellow.

Other symptoms of jasmine suffering due to low-nutrient soil that you should see are poor growth and a lack of flowering.

How to Revive Yellow Jasmine Leaves due to a Lack of Nutrients

Fortunately, it is relatively easy to revive a jasmine that is turning yellow and dying due to a lack of nutrients.

Apply a slow-release granular rose fertilizer in the Spring and Summer to the jasmine, as this contains all the nutrients that the jasmine needs at the right concentration.

A granular rose fertilizer contains all the nutrients for jasmine plants and the right concentration.
This is the granular rose fertilizer that I use on my jasmine plants as it contains all the nutrients for jasmine plants and the right concentration.

Add a healthy layer of mulch to any jasmine that is planted outdoors, as this adds nutrients to the soil, retains moisture, stimulates the soil ecology, and keeps the weeds down, all of which benefit the jasmine. I personally use leaf mold.

For potted jasmine, fertilizer is very helpful but it may be necessary to repot the jasmine to a larger pot. Jasmines can demand nutrients (depending on their maturity) in the Spring and Summer during active growth, and the roots can exhaust the available nutrients of the pot quite quickly.

A larger pot has a greater capacity for soil and, therefore, more nutrients.

If you suspect your soil is alkaline then I recommend testing your soil and transplanting the jasmine to a pot with good compost.

From what I have seen, jasmine plants that suffer due to low-nutrient soil with yellow leaves can recover their appearance and turn green again if you address the nutrient deficiency through consistent use of fertilizer and applying mulch regularly (for outdoor jasmine plants) or replacing the potting soil (for indoor plants).

Why are My Jasmine Leaves Curling, Turning Brown, and Dropping Off?

Jasmine leaves starting to turn brown at the tips as they were in direct sunlight, high temperatures and planted in a pot that was too small and drying out.
This is a photo of my friend’s Jasmine plant with its leaves starting to turn brown at the tips as they were in direct sunlight and high temperatures and planted in a pot that was too small and drying out.

The most common reason for jasmine leaves curling, turning brown, and potentially dropping off is because of too much intense sunshine, heat, and dry soil.

The ideal lighting conditions for jasmine growth and flowers is 4-6 hours of morning sun followed by afternoon shade or filtered light throughout the day.

Jasmine will still flower and thrive even if the conditions are not optimal, but scorching sunlight in Summer can be too much for the jasmine to tolerate, causing the jasmine to have a drying-out appearance.

Morning sunlight is best as this provides the jasmine with enough energy to grow and flower whereas in the afternoon the temperature is typically much higher in Summer so the jasmine has to contend with scorching sun and high temperatures which in combination are most often responsible for brown, curling leaves that drop off.

Too much sunlight and Summer heat increases the rate of transpiration from the leaves to the extent that the roots cannot draw up moisture quickly enough. This causes the leaves to curl to reduce their surface area to try to conserve water as a survival strategy.

Jasmine ideally needs to grow in soil that is amended with organic matter as this provides the right soil structure and retains moisture which helps it to survive drought (I amend my soil with garden compost and leaf mold).

The curling, browning leaves problems can be compounded with dry soil that drains too quickly, such as sandy or rocky soil or perhaps a sloping garden.

If your jasmine’s leaves are turning brown and it is in a pot, consider whether the pot is too small as the roots may not have enough soil to draw up sufficient water, and the pot may be heating up too quickly in the sun, which can stress the roots of the jasmine.

The leaves eventually turn brown and drop off to prevent any further water loss. If your jasmine is in too much sun and heat, then the stem is also likely to turn brown. I always find that the tips of the leaves are the first part of the plant to turn brown.

I must emphasize that most of the popular cultivars of jasmine are deciduous and lose their leaves in Winter; therefore, if the leaves are dropping in Winter, this is part of the natural seasonal cycle, and there is likely nothing wrong with the jasmine.

How to Revive it…

To revive the jasmine that has suffered both heat and drought stress, we need to recreate the conditions of its native environment.

  • Give the soil a generous soak, and then apply a 2-inch layer of mulch around the base of the plant. Ensure that the surrounding soil is thoroughly watered. Where I live, the soil can bake hard in Summer, which can cause it to run off the surface, so I recommend using a hose pipe for watering. Place the compost mulch around the base of the plant after watering, as this locks in the water and keeps the surface of the soil cool, which reduces evaporation.
  • If your jasmine is planted in the ground (rather than in a pot), then you can either transplant it (which I would not advise as the plant is already stressed) or provide it with some temporary shade. A sun umbrella is my preferred temporary option to prevent the glaring sunlight from causing further damage to your jasmine. You can also use other shrubs (that are well-positioned) to form shade in the afternoon. I have personally used potted bamboo successfully for this purpose, as it is very tall and can tolerate the sun.
  • If your jasmine is potted, you need to repot it in a much larger pot and move it to a location that is not in the afternoon sun. A larger pot contains more moisture, and the cooler location reduces the associated heat stress.
  • If the jasmine is indoors, consider misting the leaves, as jasmine prefers humidity. Misting the leaves creates a humid microclimate, which reduces the rate of water loss from the leaves and alleviates drought stress.

Whilst your jasmine is unlikely to revive in the same year (if all the leaves are brown and dropping off), it can survive if the conditions are amended to be more favorable, and you should see new growth the following Spring. (I’m afraid it’s a game of patience sometimes!)

Why are My Jasmine Leaves Turning Red and Falling Off?

If your jasmine leaves are turning red, then this is because the plant is reacting to the drop in temperature in Fall/ Winter.

Not every jasmine cultivar has leaves that turn red, but varieties such as Trachelospermum jasminoides (also known as star jasmine or confederate jasmine) turn red and drop off at the end of the reason as part of its seasonal cycle. (Many people, like myself, think the red color is a spectacular last flourish before Winter!)

The star jasmine is deciduous, and the green leaves turn red leaves, providing Winter interest before dropping off. Star jasmine is, however, not cold hardy and can die back in freezing temperatures, so it is best grown in climates with mild Winters.

If your jasmine leaves are turning red and it is not a star jasmine, then it is likely that the jasmine is suffering due to a nutritional deficiency. In this case, I recommend using a slow-release granular rose fertilizer in the Spring to provide all the nutrients that the jasmine needs at the right concentration.

Ensure that your jasmine is growing in compost amended with organic matter, use a mulch every Spring, and avoid overwatering. Jasmines typically only need to be watered in the first year, by which time the root system should have grown sufficiently to access the water it needs without additional watering. However, I would recommend watering jasmines if there is a drought during the Summer.

Key Takeaways:

  • Yellow jasmine leaves indicate that the plant is either being over or underwatered. Jasmine plants need moist yet well-draining soil. If the soil is consistently saturated, the jasmine suffers from root rot, causing the leaves to turn yellow and drop off. Dry soil also causes the leaves to turn yellow, curl, and drop off.
  • Curling, browning jasmine leaves that drop off are because of heat stress, too much sunlight, and dry soil. Jasmine plants need morning sun and prefer shade in the afternoon during the hottest part of the day.
  • Star jasmine leaves turn red and drop off during Fall and Winter in response to cooler temperatures and fewer hours of light. This is a natural part of the jasmine’s life cycle and does not necessarily mean the jasmine is dying.
  • Most jasmine varieties are not cold hardy and die back in freezing temperatures. Only the Winter Jasmine (Jasminum nudiflorum) is reliably cold hardy.
  • Most species of Jasmine are deciduous and drop their leaves in Winter.
  • To revive dying jasmine, ensure that the soil is moist yet well-draining, locate the jasmine in a sheltered, frost-free area, and use a fertilizer in the Spring and Summer. Shade the jasmine from the afternoon sun and re-pot any potted jasmine plants into a larger pot that retains more moisture.

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