Arabian Jasmine - Jasminum sambac 'Grand Duke of Tuscany'
Jasminum sambac is a group of fragrant perennial shrubs with origins in Southeast Asia. This is the much storied jasmine that is used to make jasmine tea and the essential oil is used to scent perfumes. This evergreen everblooming shrub requires a tropical culture with rich soil and does best in USDA zones 9 - 11. The plants are compact and grow slowly to a height of 4 - 6 ft. (1.2 - 1.8 m). The cream colored rose-like flowers are almost 2" (5 cm) in diameter and are deeply fragrant.
Seen above at a local nursery where a two gallon specimen retails for $29.00 USD.
I grew a variety of Jasminum sambac in my Venice garden a few years ago. I cultivated several plants in pots as well as in the garden. I was disappointed by the very slow growth and the tendency toward iron deficiency (chlorosis). Arabian Jasmine benefits from very rich soil, warm and humid conditions, full sun in coastal locations and protection from harsh sun inland. Propagate from stem cuttings in the spring.
The common name Arabian Jasmine is deceiving in that this genus originates in the tropical humid regions of Southeast Asia and not the dry conditions of the Middle East. Jasminum sambac is a member of the Oleaceae plant family along with olive, lilac, forsythia, privet and ash.