These fast-growing, twining vines are beloved for their showy yellow flowers. They'll quickly cover a lamppost, trellis, or arbor, but their thin, twining stems won't damage the support. May be semievergreen in the Middle South. Deer usually leave them alone.
G. rankinii. SWAMP JESSAMINE. Native to swamps from North Carolina to Florida and Louisiana. To 20 ft. Foliage is similar to that of G. sempervirens. Bright yellow, scentless, inch-wide flowers bloom in both spring and fall, and they bloom sporadically in fall and winter in the Lower and Coastal South. Prefers regular to ample water; tolerates boggy soil.
G. sempervirens. CAROLINA JESSAMINE, YELLOW JESSAMINE. One of the South's most popular native vines and the state flower of South Carolina. Grows quickly to 20 ft. or more. Pairs of light green, shiny, 1- to 4-in.-long leaves clothe long, streamerlike branches. Fragrant, tubular, 112-in.-long flowers bloom in late winter and early spring. 'Pride of Augusta' has double flowers. 'Pale Yellow' has large blooms in creamy yellow. 'Margarita' tolerates more cold than the species and has slightly larger flowers. 'Lemon Drop' forms a spreading mound rather than a climbing vine; snip off long runners to keep it low.
Prefers fertile soil but adapts to almost any well-drained soil. Needs regular water in youth but is very drought tolerant once established. Blooms better in sun but tolerates partial shade. Often seen scrambling companionably through tree branches in the wild. In gardens, it's a favorite choice for climbing over mailboxes; also excellent for training above doorways and bay windows, along fences and walls. May be used as a ground cover on banks; keep trimmed to 3 ft. high. Some- times gets too heavy on top and bare around the base; if this happens, cut back severely after bloom.