How do I cut back unruly primrose jasmine to fluff it out again?
Many gardeners, especially in older homes, have evergreen primrose jasmine shrubs (Jasminum mesnyi), that sport small, sterile yellow flowers in late winter and early spring.
This sprawling shrub needs regular pruning to keep it in shape. It grows very quickly, making it a popular choice for new landscapes.
But with its mounding growth habit, the interior of the plant can very quickly become a gnarly mess; cutting off sunlight from the interior of the plant almost completely. Without sunlight in the interior, the plant has no need for leaves there, so primrose jasmine often ends up a mass of twisted woody branches with just a façade of leaves and flowers.
When primrose jasmine gets completely out of control, give it a hard pruning, even back to the ground, if necessary. With its aggressive growth habit, it should return fairly quickly, and will be much healthier.
But it will very quickly get out of control again, if you don’t put it on a regular maintenance schedule.
Hard pruning is best done in late winter, but for a plant that’s completely out of control, you can cut it back at any time. Primrose jasmine shoots out very long, draping stems, similar to brambling plants like blackberries. After a hard pruning, allow the shrub to grow back to about the height you want it to stay, then stay on top of pruning those brambling new-shoots before they become unmanageable.
Note: this plant spreads quickly by rooting branches that touch the ground. Although it’s not listed on the Texas Invasive Plant list, be wary. Dig out small rooted plants before they escape your yard.