Stephanotis Floribunda

Madagascar Jasmine

The Madagascar Jasmine is an attractive climbing vine species; grown outdoors and indoors for it's clusters of scented blooms and shiny oval shaped leaves.



When the stephanotis floribunda (botanical name) is purchased to be grown indoors - it's usually supported with a wire frame (see picture).


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Description

picture of plant

Native to Madagascar - this species experiences a sub-tropical to tropical climate which consists of hot, humid, rain and a cooler period. Indoors it can be difficult to mimic the conditions this plant thrives in, although the main problem will be it flowering and growing well rather than surviving.

Not to be confused with the jasmine plant - which is another species from a different genus, although it's flowers are similar and fragrant.

The Jasmine plant is commonly used for bridal bouquets and wreaths. This is because of the small white attractive blooms which match the white wedding look needed, and the stems winding around wire hoops, create a perfect wreath.

Flowering: Waxy white star shaped tubular flowers appear in clusters from a peduncle and cluster of pedicles (a group of small stems each producing a flower attached to one larger stem). These can bloom at any time of the year indoors with enough light, warmth and humidity, although they bloom most often during spring and summer, especially outdoors.

The madagascar jasmine can be fairly difficult to get blooming in temperate regions "indoors and outdoors". The best chance it has of blooming is by providing it with a cool rest period during the winter and a warm and bright spring – summer, with above average humidity. Unfortunately you will often see these produce buds and then drop before or after turning yellow with unopened petals. Moving them to a new colder location can cause flowers to drop before blooming fully.

To have successful blooms - many growers have to work at getting the conditions just right, so don’t give up when no flowers appear straight away. The flowers will last for a few days or so.

Foliage: The handsome foliage alone makes this vine well worth growing, even when a grower does have flowering issues. For a climbing vine the leaves are quite large, even while the plant is small and young.

These leather type oval shaped leaves grow to about 4 inches or more long and have a glossy appearance. The underside of the leaves are also visually appealing (the backs show when the plant is attached to a wire frame). Stems are thick and woody - but flexible enough to shape around wire, which produce a petiole per leaf.

Level of care: Because these can be tricky bloomers they are not the easiest of plants to grow. However, if you can provide suitable conditions and have patience, a plant will eventually bloom.

Facts

Origin: Madagascar.
Names: Madagascar Jasmine - Wax Flower (common). -- Stephanotis Floribunda (botanical/scientific).
Max Growth (approx): 10ft tall and more.
Poisonous for pets: Non-toxic to cats and dogs.

Close up picture of flower buds...

Close up Picture of flower buds

Close up picture of a leaf...

Close up of leaf

Madagascar Jasmine Care

Temperature: Temperatures from 65 - 80°F (18 - 26°C) are ideal during spring and summer. Try around 55 - 60°F (13 - 15°C) for a month or two during winter (before spring) but no lower than 45°F (7°C) which may encourage blooms for late spring - summer.
Light: Plenty of bright light is needed during the active growing season. Direct sunlight during the day is fine for a couple of hours or so, but do avoid hot summer sun. A spot close to a window with the right balance of sunlight and shade is ideal.
Watering: While the plant is actively growing you'll need to water the plant thoroughly (once the top soil has started to dry out). Just top the water up slightly during the winter, only when the first top inch of soil becomes quite dry. Rainwater or distilled is best used for watering, especially in hard water areas.
Soil: A peat moss based potting mix with 2 parts peat moss and 1 part perlite is suggested.
Re-Potting: Repot once every 2 years.
Humidity: During the summer extra humidity may need to be provided if the air becomes dry, with misting or a humidity tray. If you can, also avoid dry air from artificial heating during the winter.
Propagation: Non flowering stem cuttings are best taken during summer, and need to have at least two nodes present to propagate. A propagator or pot with a plastic cover is required to provide enough humidity and heat (temperature needs to be about 70°F - 21°C or more). Bottom heat mats or heated propagators will improve your chance of success, and use rooting hormone on the cut.

The stephanotis can also be propagated by seed - if your lucky enough to have the pear shaped fruit appear (containing the seeds). Propagating seeds is a long process of waiting for the fruit to mature and preparing them for sowing, and then providing enough warmth for germination. Your most likely to be propagating using stem cuttings.
Pruning: Not a lot of pruning should be done; it wont encourage new growth very much at all, unlike many other vines. Any shoots with leaves not doing so well can be removed during spring.

Common Problems

  • Not flowering: See the section above (flowering) about applying the care instructions precisely. The cause could be lack of light, warmth or humidity. Another possible cause is not providing the winter rest period.

  • Flowers drop: Flowers drop before they open quite often when a plant has just been sold or moved. Moving to a new location and the change in lighting and temperature will cause flower drops. Over or under-watering can also cause buds to drop.

  • Leaves turn yellow and fall: This happens naturally for the odd lower leaf, but if more than one or two are turning yellow and dropping - check your not over-watering it, or that it's had sudden drops in the temperature. Another cause could be using hard water, which is easily put right by flushing the soil with rain or distilled water - then continue use for each watering.

  • Pests: Mealy bug seem to like the stephanotis floribunda a lot, and scale can also take a liking to it. As part of routine maintenance it's worth checking for these pests.


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