Cestrum Nocturnum, Night Blooming Jasmine


Posted by John Minton | Posted in Plants | Last Updated February 23, 2014

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Cestrum Nocturnum, Night Blooming Jasmine, Queen Of The Night

Cestrum Nocturnum, Night Blooming Jasmine, is a pretty fun plant – one of my favorites! If you are familiar with the Jasminum family one look at the Cestrum Nocturnum and you know it’s not a true Jasmine! (Because it’s Cestrum, duh.) While most Jasmine are vines, even shrubby with a mass of complex branches going every which way, the Night Blooming Jasmine Cestrum Nocturnum is fairly simple and vertical in stature. The flowers open to a small face but are long along the reproductive parts. Cestrum Nocturnum is called a “Jasmine” for a few reasons: Cestrum Nocturnum has fragrant flowers like Jasmine and Cestrum Nocturnum opens it’s blooms at night like Jasmine. Cestrum Nocturnum smells amazing at night when it’s blooms open up. You pretty much can not smell Night Blooming Cestrum Nocturnum during the day at all. As the name “Nocturnum” infers, this plant is nocturnal, rather, it just opens it’s flowers at night. (You can see how using Latin names helps us name plants.) It’s worth noting, some people inappropriately call this plant Jasminum Nocturnum, but it’s not a true Jasmine and it’s not a part of the Jasminum family.

Aside from the awesome scent of the flowers, which is pretty strong when in full bloom, Cestrum Nocturnum produces very pretty white berries. They are very distinct. Many birds will ingest and then *ahem* plant seeds elsewhere in your area so be careful as they are classified as a weed in some tropical and sub tropical regions.

There are reports of this plant being poisonous, I do not recommend have this plant around children or house hold animals. The delicious scent and pretty berries are irresistible to the naive.

Cestrum DiurnumNight Blooming Jasmine Cestrum Nocturnum is a member of the Cestrum family. There are many variations of Cestrum, and one in particular called Cestrum Diurnum, also known as Day Blooming Jasmine. I will talk more about this one later. Some neat facts about these plants, they are often grown next to each other as it is said they help each other grow. I don’t know how true this is, but I’ll find out soon enough when my Cestrum Diurnum seeds sprout! In India they are known as Queen of the Night (Cestrum Nocturnum), and King of the Day (Cestrum Diurnum).

There is a particular breed of Cestrum that is extremely poisonous, livestock will graze on it if they have no other food around (which kills them) and is a problem in parts of New Zealand. Known as Green Cestrum, Green Poison Berry, Chilean Cestrum, and officially called Cestrum Parqui. This plant is illegal in the USA.

Cestrum Nocturnum does not like freezing! If they go through a freeze the bark will easily slide off the branches, leaving your hand covered in sticky plant goo. Even if your Cestrum Nocturnum freezes to the ground, it might still be alive in the roots! Mine is growing back slowly but surely now that Spring is here. Prune off all the dead leaves and obviously dead branches and bring it inside. Bring it in if it gets too cold out. Your plant should come back to life mid Spring or so. You might even start to notice small green branches start to form at the base of the plant near the soil. Keep it watered regularly and you should be good to go. You can add non-acidic fertilizers such as fish emulsion or sea weed “teas” and get good results, though nothing beats good soil!

Cestrum Nocturnum is a must have plant for those who love fragrant plants!