Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Carolina Jessamine
Gelsemium sempervirens 'Margarita'

Family: Gelsemiaceae
Genus: Gelsemium (jel-SEM-ee-um) (Info)
Species: sempervirens (sem-per-VY-renz) (Info)
Cultivar: Margarita

6 vendors have this plant for sale.

15 members have or want this plant for trade.

Vines and Climbers

10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade
Light Shade

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:
Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer


Other details:
Flowers are fragrant
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)
7.9 to 8.5 (alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing the rootball

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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7 positives
1 neutral
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive suentommy On Sep 7, 2010, suentommy from Souderton, PA (Zone 6b) wrote:

I planted this Jessamine two years ago. It is on the southeast side of the house and growing up a porch post. It grows very quickly and I have had to prune it a little to keep it in bounds. It flowers heavily in spring and smells wonderful. At the other end of the porch I have clematis montana "rubens" and after one finishes most of its bloom the other takes over. It doesn't seem to mind too much rain in the winter and spring and then too little rain in the summer and fall. It just keeps growing and has not had any die back from winter. This plant is very hardy here and I would imagine would still work well in colder climates.

Negative orygungrown On Feb 25, 2009, orygungrown from Portland, OR (Zone 8b) wrote:

I have had one of these in the ground for going on 3 years now. I checked the hardiness before I purchased it, but it doesn't seem to like Portland Oregon. It looks shabby by spring, this year nearly leafless, it takes all summer for it to leaf out properly and it's only had one blossom in 3 years.

Positive sladeofsky On Dec 17, 2008, sladeofsky from Louisville, KY (Zone 6b) wrote:

I've grown this plant for several years and not even a leaf has been frost-damaged. I can't believe that isn't more widely grown. If you live in zone 6, don't hesitate trying this lovely plant.

Positive 1cros3nails4gvn On Feb 28, 2008, 1cros3nails4gvn from Bluffton, SC (Zone 9a) wrote:

this is the state flower of SC, and it grows and blooms profusely in the wild in zone 7 and up. here in SE SC it blooms usually in February starting at or before Valentines day. the fragrance is wonderful

Neutral cactusman102 On Mar 11, 2007, cactusman102 from Lawrence, KS wrote:

I am experimenting survivability with this cultivar this year. Anyone had any success in zone 5b/6a? I expect it to die to the ground and come back as a perennial vine each year.

Positive bloomheaven On Nov 30, 2006, bloomheaven from Southern
United States wrote:

This plant is an abundant bloomer, blooming several times a season.

Positive luvbamboo On Oct 18, 2006, luvbamboo from San Antonio, TX wrote:

I live in NE San Antonio, and have had this plant for almost ten years. It is planted on the North corner of my backyard, and has climbed up to my roof, and I have stringers going to side and along back of house. In third week of Feb. it blooms like CRAZY!! And I am a bit stunned that it is budding right now, Mid Oct. and already has some blooms...(???) I have lots of seed pods, but have not taken much time to get any going. Ones have dropped to the ground, and start off but it seems slow growing. Thanks for reading!

Positive joywhi1 On Jun 29, 2006, joywhi1 from Kelseyville, CA wrote:

Grew this plant in Huntington Beach, CA. Beautiful yellow flowers in Spring, then whispy light green folage the rest of the year. A very fast grower. Temperature was approx. 40 to 90 degrees and it was in afternoon sun. Needs to be supported, gets to 15-20 ft, if you let it.

Positive joegee On May 30, 2006, joegee from Bucyrus, OH (Zone 6a) wrote:

This cultivar of gelsemium sempervirens was one of the 2005 Gold Medal Plant Winners of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. It was chosen in part for its superior sized, fragrant yellow flowers, and in part for its cold-hardiness. According to, this cultivar has survived a -25 F cold spell with no damage.

It is a versatile vine and is adaptable to many soil conditions, but some in the southern United States consider it invasive.


Margarita finishes its first season outside in Bucyrus, Ohio with no appreciable winter damage. Our coldest temperature was 0 Fahrenheit, but this vine stayed evergreen. There was no defoliation. I'd expect this to be root hardy even if the top of the vine were killed. 0 Fahrenheit doesn't phaze it, though.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Bessemer, Alabama
Huntington Beach, California
Merced, California
Jacksonville, Florida
Lake City, Florida
Columbus, Georgia
Lula, Georgia
Taylorsville, Kentucky
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Plain Dealing, Louisiana
Norton, Massachusetts
Corinth, Mississippi
Bates City, Missouri
Durham, North Carolina
Germanton, North Carolina
Kure Beach, North Carolina
Bucyrus, Ohio
Norristown, Pennsylvania
Souderton, Pennsylvania
Beaufort, South Carolina
Bluffton, South Carolina
Conway, South Carolina
Broaddus, Texas
Dallas, Texas
San Antonio, Texas
Wharton, Texas
Lynchburg, Virginia
Petersburg, Virginia

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