Crepe Jasmine or Chandni Flower Plant (Tabernaemontana Divaricata) is a beautiful evergreen flowering shrub native to India. It is also called Crape Jasmine in English. It is also known as Tagar plant, Tagar Tree, East India Rosebay, Nero’s Crown, Moon Beam or Carnation of India. Chandni flower is a white “pinwheel” shaped flower hence it is also known as Pinwheel Flower plant. When its stems are broken, they bleed a milky fluid hence it is also known as Milk Flower.
Tagar plant is found largely in the southern and eastern Indian states like Tamil Nadu and West Bengal where the temperature is warm and humid round the year. In Tamil Nadu, it is called “Nandiyavattai”. It is widely cultivated in Southeast Asian regions. Commonly known as Chandni Flower plant in India, it bears pretty little pinwheel-shaped flowers. The pinwheel flowers normally bloom during the night and hence it is named Chandni Plant (meaning moonlight in Hindi). It has thick beautiful dark green pointed glossy leaves with a glazed waxy coating like look. The color contrast between the milky white Chandni Flowers and its leaves has a mesmerizing effect. They are widely used as hedge plants and house plants due to their attractive colors, structure, and size. When planted in containers, they can be made into bonsai by root pruning and branch pruning. Chandni plants are not eaten by animals, so you can safely plant them in your balcony or outside your premises as a decorative plant.
Crepe Jasmine can grow up to 8 feet in height and 6 feet wide. Its leaves are about 6 inches in length and 1.5 inches wide. Its branches are dichotomous.
How to Grow Crepe Jasmine / Chandni Flower Plant?
Chandni/ Crepe Jasmine can be grown into a plant/tree if allowed to grow wildly. It can be planted as a house plant in containers in the form of shrub/bush. Tagar plant is very popular as a hedge plant. When making a hedge out of Chandani plants, ensure 2-3 feet of space between the plants for proper growth.
Types of Crepe Jasmine
There are majorly two varieties of this plant: Single-Flowered and Double-Flowered. Both the varieties bear white flowers. Flowers of single-flowered variety do not have any fragrance. Double flowered variety has a soothing light scent.
Height of Crepe Jasmine/Chandni Plant
Crepe Jasmine grows to a maximum height of around 8 feet.
Optimum Temperature to Grow Crepe Jasmine
The growing season for this shrub is spring to fall. In India, the growing season for crepe Jasmine is between March to October.
Tagar plant is a tropical plant, hence it likes warmer and moist climates. If you are growing Crepe Jasmine outside India, like in the US, the climate in USDA hardiness zones 9 to 11 are most suitable for growing these shrubs.
Sunlight Requirements of Chandni Flower Plant
Chandni flowers love sunlight. They thrive very well in full sun or partial shade conditions. However, they will display a stunted growth in full shade. They like 6-7 hours of direct sun.
Best Soil Type / Potting Mix for Tagar Plant
You can use a mix of 30% cow dung compost & 70% garden soil as potting mix. Alternatively, if the soil in your area has greater clay content, use a mix of 30% cow dung compost, 20% sand, and 50% garden soil to provide proper drainage to the plant.
You can also purchase ready-made potting mix from amazon here.
Crepe Jasmine can grow in any type of soil however the soil needs to be well-drained. Lack of proper drainage will result in root rot. It is a very adaptive plant. It prefers to grow in slightly acidic soil. The best pH range for the Chandani plant is 4.6 to 6.0.
If the soil is very alkaline ( pH above 7), the Chandani plant may develop Chlorosis. To prevent this, you should apply fertilizers that balance the alkaline nature of your soil.
For better growth of the plant, you can mix 2 tsp of white vinegar in a cup of water and apply this mixture in the soil of the plant every 15-20 days for shiny green leaves. Do not apply vinegar in excess. The excess application may lead to leaf burning.
Flowering in Crepe Jasmine / Chandni Plant
Chandni flowers grow in small clusters on the tips of the stem. Flowering usually occurs during the spring and summer seasons during which this plant produces abundant silky white flowers. Crepe Jasmine plant stops flowering during the winter season.
Repotting & Pruning of Crepe Jasmine / Chandni Plant
Since this beautiful plant is grown as a shrub and hedge plant, normally pruning the lower branches helps to maintain its shape and growth in the right direction. If grown in containers, these plants can become root-bound. For its proper growth, you should check the root system once a year and if the plant is root bound, root pruning becomes essential else plant will gradually die. You can adopt any of the following 2 methods for root pruning:
- If you want a full-size plant, remove the root bowl of crepe jasmine from the container in which it is potted, and transfer the root bowl in a bigger size container so that the roots have enough space to grow.
- If you want to keep the size small or want to make a bonsai of Chandani plant, then choose a suitable small-sized bonsai pot for the plant, remove the root bowl from the current container, prune the root bowl so that the root bowl easily fits the size of your bonsai pot and transfer the root bowl into new bonsai pot.
Pruning of crepe jasmine should be done preferably during the rainy season. You can also prune the plant in the months of September and October at the start of the winter season. Repotting should be done in the months of October/November.
Propagation of Crepe Jasmine / Chandni Flower Plant
Crepe Jasmine can be easily propagated/grown through cuttings. Once planted, cuttings start growing within 20-25 days.
The best season to plant the cuttings is rainy season or spring season.
This video explains how to re-pot Chandani Flower Plant and how to grow/propagate it from cuttings:
Toxicity & Medicinal Uses of Crepe Jasmine
Crepe Jasmine belongs to the plant family Apocynaceae and like many other plants, is toxic in nature. They have medicinal uses in Ayurveda in India and other Southeast Asian nations.
Plant Life Span
It is a perennial plant.
Best Pot Material
Any type of plant should be preferably planted in earthen clay pots which allow the exchange of oxygen inside the roots. Although Chandani plant can be grown in any type of pot, the earthen clay pot will stimulate better growth. Also, it allows evaporation of water from the sides of the pot thereby reducing the risk of root rot.
Fertilizing Chandni Plant
All flowering plants need a good amount of phosphorus for flowering and nitrogen for healthy green leaves.
Chandni flower plant should be given fertilizers preferably in the months of September and February. You can use a mixture of cow dung compost (high nitrogen content), dry leaf compost, neem cakes & 2 tbsp bone meal powder (source of phosphorus) as a fertilizer for Chandani plant.
Additionally, every 15 days, you should apply liquid fertilizer to Crape Jasmine plant. Mix 1 tsp of NPK in 1 liter of water and spray the fertilizer. Use 200ml of this liquid fertilizer at a time.
Alternatively, you should apply DAP (high nitrogen and phosphorous content) every 15 days to Chandni Plant. Scrape off 1-inch soil from the inner rim of the container, use 1 tsp of DAP (25-30 grains for a bigger container and 10-12 grains for a smaller container), and sprinkle it evenly inside the rim. Cover the rim with soil again and water the plant. You should not apply DAP directly at the bottom of the stem of the plant.
If you do not wish to use chemical fertilizers, cow dung compost will suffice. Apply cow dung compost every 15 -20 days to the plant by hoeing the soil and then watering post mixing the compost in the soil.
Do not over-fertilize the plant. It may lead to plant decay and yellowing of leaves.
If you want to know more about fertilizers and plant nutrition, read this post.
Winter Care of Crepe Jasmine / Tagar Plant
Crepe Jasmine/ Chandni Plant goes into dormancy and sheds its leaves during the winter season. The leaves of this plant become yellow and start to fall off leaving an intermingled bunch of branches behind. Do not be mistaken by this phenomenon! Your plant is not dead! It will start new growth as the soil becomes warmer during the spring and summer.
Watering / Irrigating Crepe Jasmine
Chandni plant requires regular watering so the soil is always moist. However, do not overwater. Check the soil dryness by doing a finger test (insert your index finger 1 inch into the soil). If the topsoil sticks to your finger, do not water. If the topsoil is completely dry and dusts off from your finger easily, this means that your plant is thirsty.
One the plant starts developing roots, you can reduce the frequency of watering.
For all the flowering plants, including Crepe Jasmine, the frequency of watering should be reduced once the plant starts budding else the buds will not be stable and will drop-off the plant.
Diseases & Pest Control for Chandni Plant
Chandni Plant leaves are prone to be eaten by caterpillars – oleander hawk-moth. It is also prone to attacks by whiteflies, scales, nematodes, and sooty mold.
To prevent it from insect attack, you can use a neem oil spray. Mix 4-5 ml of neem oil & 2-3 drops of liquid hand-wash soap in 1 liter of water and spray on the leaves of crepe jasmine.
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If you would like to read more interesting articles, please read the following posts:
- Raat Ki Rani / Night Blooming Jasmine – Plant Care Tips and Grow Guide
- String of Pearls Plant: Complete Plant Care Guide
- Methi Plant/Fenugreek Plant: Uses and Benefits of Methi Seeds & Leaves