Tabernaemontana divaricata, an everblooming white beauty

Tabernaemontana divaricata

While sourcing for some plants to add to our garden in May 2013, we came across this white beauty that fascinated us so. When informed that it’s a hardy plant that enjoys sunshine, we grabbed two pots without hesitation.

Tabernaemontana divaricata (Pinwheel Flower, Crepe Jasmine) thriving well at the outer bed, Dec 10 2013 Tabernaemontana divaricata (Pinwheel Flower, Crepe Jasmine) thriving well at the outer bed, June 22 2014These Pinwheel Flower, a dwarf variety were strategically placed at our outer border that gets blasting sun, almost whole day long.

The above images show them thriving beautifully to brighten our small garden paradise. Attractive white flowers that shine from daylight and through the night. Charming companion plants that stand out in a crowd. Also, a year-round everblooming, glorious white beauty that provides us our daily dose of joy. :D

Plant Profile, Culture and Propagation :

  • Botanical Name: Dwarf cultivar of Tabernaemontana divaricata (Pinwheel Flower, Milk Flower), at our outer border, Dec 10 2013Tabernaemontana divaricata (Syn.: Tabernaemontana coronaria, Ervatamia divaricata, Ervatamia coronaria).
  • Common Name: Pinwheel Flower, Crepe/Crape Jasmine, Crepe Gardenia, East Indian Rosebay, Nero’s Crown, Milk Flower.
  • Family name: Apocynaceae
  • Etymology: Tabernaemontana divaricata shrub (Pinwheel Flower, Milk Flower), June 7 2013The genus name, Tabernaemontana is in honour of Jacobus Theodorus Tabernaemontanus, a 16th century botanist and herbalist and accredited the name ‘father of German botany’. The species divaricata means at an obtuse angle, referring to the many branches that grow almost parallel to the ground.
  • Origin: Native to India. Widely cultivated in warm regions worldwide.
  • Plant type: A tropical perennial evergreen shrub
  • Features: Tabernaemontana divaricata is an attractive species of the genus,Tabernaemontana that consists of about 120 species of flowering plants that has a pan-tropical distribution, Our potted Tabernaemontan divaricata cv. Flore Pleno (Crepe Jasmine, Crepe Gardenia), March 17 2014 Tabernaemontana divaricata in the neighbourhood, June 10 2013found in Asia, Africa, Australia, North and South America and a wide assortment of oceanic islands. An evergreen perennial shrub with moderate growth rate, the Pinwheel Flower can reach 1-4m tall and spread as wide.
    Tabernaemontana divaricata (Pinwheel Flower, East Indian Rosebay, Nero’s Crown, Milk Flower) in the neighbourhood, June 26 2013A well-branched shrub with foliage that is dense and dark green, glossy leaves 10-15cm long, oval-shaped with a wavy, simple and entire leaf margin. The opposite leaves are arranged spirally along the stem and have visible veins on the upperside of leaves. The stems of the Crepe Gardenia bleed a milky sap when injured.
    Our Tabernaemontan divaricata (Pinwheel Flower, East Indian Rosebay, Nero’s Crown, Milk Flower), June 6 2013The single-petaled and waxy white flowers of the Pinwheel Flower have ruffled edges and are curved like a pinwheel or propeller (hence named such) and has a bright yellow small throat. These flowers are produced in clusters at stem tips and are not fragrant like the cultivar ‘Flore Pleno’. They are about 5cm across. However, the flowers of the dwarf variety is much smaller, about 2.54cm across and leaves are about 3cm long and 1cm wide.
    Tabernaemontana divaricata cv. Flora Pleno (Crepe Jasmine, Crepe Gardenia) with ruffled white petals, Aug 13 2013The double or clustered flower cultivar Tabernaemontana divaricata cv. Flore Pleno is gorgeous, about 5 cm across with ruffled edges and has a slight fragrance. The dark green, shiny leaves are about 15cm long and 3-4cm wide and form a lovely contrast with the pure white clustered flowers.
  • Culture (Care): Tabernaemontana divaricata grows easily with minimum care.
    Light: Fat green caterpillar on Dwarf Tabernaemontana divarcata (Pinwheel Flower, Crepe Jasmine), Feb 26 2014Full sun to semi-shade.
    Moisture: Moderate water.
    Soil: Grow in well-drained acidic soil. However, it’s adaptable to most garden soils such as sandy, clay, and loamy soils.
    Others: Prune regularly to maintain a round-shaped shrub or a compact form. It tolerate hard pruning well. Feed once monthly with a balanced organic fertiliser. Generally free from serious garden pests. However, do watch out for caterpillars that love feasting on the young shoots.
    Our Tabernaemontan divaricata (Pinwheel Flower, Milk Flower) in the outer bed, June 6 2013For subtropical and temperate regions: Hardiness: USDA Zone 9-11.  Blooms in Spring but do flower sporadically all year round. In non-hardy zone, grow as a glasshouse plant for its gorgeous flowers and foliage. Some gardeners did confirm that it is a hardy shrub that recovers in Spring from frost and freezing temperatures in Zone 8. However, best to mulch the roots heavily to protect it from severe low winter temperatures.
  • Propagation: By soft-wood cuttings
  • Usage: At our frontyard, including Tabernaemontana divaricata (Pinwheel Flower, Crepe Jasmine), Feb 23 2014Tabernaemontana divaricata will be excellent as a showy ornamental plant in any landscape.
    Its sculptural form and ornamental features will be ideal in shrubbery border or as a specimen planting.
    Great to plant the Pinwheel Flower as a hedge or ground cover underneath a tree.
    Can be used as a screen and suitable too in container planting or above-ground planter.
    Tabernaemontana divaricata cv. Flore Pleno (Crepe Jasmine, Crepe Gardenia) Aug 10 2013The scented cluster-flowered cultivar ‘Flore Pleno’ will be most suitable for outdoor living areas such as sunny patio or decks, to enjoy their fragrance in the evening.
    Plant to attract butterflies if you’re a nature lover.

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Last edit: June 14, 2016

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