All you need to know about Orange Jasmine

Murraya exoticaMurraya exoticaOrange Jasmine (Murraya paniculata 'Exotica') is a handsome evergreen which has been widely planted in warmer parts of the world, and in South Africa. It is a close relative of the citrus family and a really handsome medium-sized to large evergreen shrub with gorgeous glossy, deep green leaves that emit a citrusy aroma when crushed. Even its clusters of sweetly scented pure white flowers smell like orange blossoms, hence the common name "Orange Jasmine."

Flowering occurs mainly in spring, but plants can flower sporadically throughout the year. The fragrance is especially strong at night, and on humid evenings, and the flowers are followed by vibrant, orange to vermilion berries in autumn, standing out beautifully from the dark foliage.

But did you know that in the frost-free regions of the world Murraya paniculata has become invasive and naturalised itself quickly. In South Africa it is no different and this plant is classified as a Category 1b invasive species in in KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo and Mpumalanga? However, it is not listed as invasive elsewhere, and if you still wish to plant it in these regions, you may. Sterile cultivars or hybrids are not listed as invasive, so if you wish to plant this shrub, ensure that you purchase it from a reputable garden centre.

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Murraya paniculata is a tropical plant native to southern China, the Indian sub-continent, south-eastern Asia, and northern Australia. Under optimal conditions it can grow moderately fast, developing into a large multi-stemmed shrub or small tree +- 7m tall. In colder regions, it grows much slower, reaching +-2 to 3m tall with a spread of about 1.5 to 2m. If left unpruned, after 5 to 10 years it can reach a height of 4m with an equal spread.


Murraya paniculata is used in traditional medicine as an analgesic (pain killer.) The wood is used to make small items like tool handles.

In the Garden:

Because the enchanting orange jasmine produces taproots with lateral roots and abundant fine roots, it won't damage your paving etc. And because it is relatively slow growing and does not require constant pruning, it is ideal for gardens large and small. Its glossy leaves and pure white flowers will liven up any shady garden, and its delightful scent makes orange jasmine essential for all scented and cottage gardens. The foliage is even sought-after for flower arranging, so if you are planting a picking garden, add orange jasmine to your plant list.

Because it thrives in semi-shade and  is ideal to plant in front of an east facing wall, where it will catch the full morning sun, but escape the harsh midday and afternoon sun, orange jasmine is a perfect companion plant for other lovers of sun to semi-shade, including: Hydrangea, Fuchsia,  Camellia, Azalea (Rhododendron) and the Forest Bell Bush (Mackaya bella.) Members can click on highlighted text to read more.

Orange jasmine is bushy and responds well to pruning, making it suitable for medium to large formal, semi-formal or informal hedges, and for topiary. It grows quite happily in a container, makes a great bonsai plant, and is also available as a standard plant.


Orange jasmine grows best in tropical, sub-tropical and temperate, frost-free areas, and is not suited to very hot, dry regions. It grows well in coastal gardens if it is protected from strong winds, and is semi-hardy to frost if it is planted in a protected position in the garden. In hotter regions plant it in semi-shade or in morning sun, and in cooler regions it will even grow in full sun.

Orange Jasmine tolerates most well-drained soil types, chalky, loamy and sandy; acid, alkaline and neutral soils, but favours limestone areas. For good results in the garden, plant it in well-drained soil with lots of added compost and a dressing of bone-meal. Water regularly, especially during hot, dry spells, mulch the roots to conserve moisture, and feed in early spring with a balanced organic fertiliser.

This shrub is usually propagated from seed or from semi-ripe cuttings taken in late summer and autumn.

Problems, Pests & Diseases:

In the garden, orange jasmine is relatively disease and pest free, but it is vulnerable to soil nematodes, scales, and sooty mould. If cultivated under cover or in greenhouses it is also susceptible to red spider mites and whitefly.

It is the preferred host to the insect pest Diaphorina citri, the citrus psyllid. This psyllid is the vector for the citrus greening disease


We could not find Murraya paniculata on any poisonous lists for pets or humans.