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Jasmine - Delicate or dangerous?

Updated: Sep 28, 2022

August's pest plant of the month

Jasmine, a climbing vine, covering a garden fence
Jasmine, a climbing vine, covering a garden fence

Don’t let it’s looks deceive you - it may look delicate, but jasmine, smothers other plants, blocks out native seedlings, and damages our native bush.

Left unchecked, the vines can completely take over an area of bush, preventing natural regeneration and damaging existing trees. Unfortunately jasmine is also shade tolerant, so it can still survive under the tree canopy, deep in the bush.

Importantly for our native animals, an area of bush or a backyard full of jasmine does not support native birds and other wildlife. So we need to stop it taking over.

So what can we do about it? And how can you identify it?

Read on to find out more.

Jasmine leaves and flowers

Why is jasmine a threat?

The delicate looking vines grow quickly and may not stop until an area is covered in jasmine (Jasminum polyanthum), eventually forming a dense ground cover and smothered trees and shrubs. Our native trees and plants don't have a defence against it. Our native birds and other wildlife rely on those native plants to thrive.

If you have jasmine in your garden and you just leave it, you wouldn’t be able to see much else after enough time. But you can do something to prevent jasmine becoming a problem and restore and protect our natural areas and your backyard or garden. First up, you need to know how to recognise it.

How to identify jasmine

Features - see accompanying photos:

  • Leaves are small, dark green and pointed - usually arranged in 7 leaflets

  • Stems are long, tough and wiry

  • Flowers are white, around 25 mm wide and formed in clusters

  • Flowering is mainly in spring, but can flower all year round

  • Flower buds are often pink

  • Only climber with fragrant white flowers

What can you do about it?

Spread the word

Talk to your friends, whanau and neighbours about the threat from jasmine, show them this article, or tell them that Pest Free Kaipātiki have advice and resources to help.

Tell them about the PFK Community Tool Shed where they can borrow equipment and tools to help tackle jasmine and other pest plants.

Report the presence of jasmine in reserves and other public spaces, or if you know of large infestations near areas of bush on private property, report it to us. We now have a new Weed App for reporting locations of key weeds - get in touch to find out more.

Tackling pest plants like jasmine help to support our native birdlife and other wildlife.

Getting rid of jasmine

Send us a photo of you tackling Jasmine and you might get in our newsletter or on our Facebook page.

Manual control
  • Dig out small infestations

  • Repeat removal after 3 months to remove regrowth

  • Larger infestations can be cut at ground height and again at 1-1.5m from the ground.

  • Gently remove any vines that come away easily, but do not risk damaging the plant being smothered by pulling. This allows other plants to grow unhindered and allows you to see jasmine regrowth.

If large infestations can not be dug out, consider using a herbicide treatment - see below.


For roots that have been dug up you can:

  • Place in your landfill waste collection

  • Leave in a container of water until the roots have decomposed

  • Place in heavy duty weed composting bag until decomposed

See all our pest plant disposal information on our website.

Herbicide control

  • Cut the vines close to the ground and at about 1-1.5 m off the ground. Apply metsulfuron gel e.g. Cut’N’Paste MetGel*, to the end still attached to the roots.

  • If the vine is very thin, you can scrape the surface of the vine for 10-20cm and apply the gel to the scraped surface.

  • Check 3 months after initial application and repeat control if necessary.

  • Large infestations: Other control methods may be more appropriate for large infestations, such as foliar spraying. Get in touch to receive specific advice about spraying.

*Always read the labels when using herbicides and wear appropriate protective equipment where necessary. Be careful applying metsulfuron* near water bodies and near valued plants - only apply a very thin smear of the gel on the cut stems and do not allow the gel to drip on to other surfaces.

Whichever control method you use, always try to return after 2 or 3 months and look for missed vines and seedlings.

What can you plant instead?

If you have jasmine on your property, please consider getting rid of it (see next section) and replacing it with some better alternatives. Good alternatives to jasmine are:

  • Leafless clematis - Clematis afoliata

  • puawhananga - Clematis paniculata

  • kaihua, akakiore, New Zealand jasmine - Parsonsia heterophylla

  • Kōhia - Passiflora tetrandra


How can you help restore Kaipātiki?

Recognise - Learn what pest plants and native plants look like

Report - Report locations where pest plants are damaging native plants or entering native bush to us. We now have a new Weed App for reporting locations of key weeds - get in touch to find out more.

Remove - Find out how to control pest plant and get supplies from our Community Tool Shed

Restore - Plant natives to stop pest plants coming back and to support our native wildlife.

If you have an area of pest plants threatening an area of bush or reserve near you, get in touch and we can help.

Contact us

Find more information about pest plants on our other pages:

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