How to grow stephanotis

Stephanotis floribunda, aka Madagascar Jasmine or Hawaiian Wedding Flower, is one beautiful vine. It has striking, dark glossy green foliage and heavenly scented, starry flowers grow in clusters which delight the olfactory senses. How you care for it (in the outdoor world) is not difficult, but like any plant, there are a few things it requires.

The attractive foliage is much like that of a Hoya – it looks tough but can burn in the sun.

This twining vine is evergreen and can grow to reach 30′. It’s not particularly fast growing (slow but vigorous!) which is good because that means you don’t need to have at it constantly with the pruners. It does need a means of support to grow on and training to get it to do what you want. The pictures below says it all.

This is my neighbor’s vine (planted about a year ago) which is now saying “bigger trellis please!” You’ll see this plant in the video below.

The new growth tendrils out wanting something to grab onto. It blooms on newer wood so prune lightly. Here, late winter or early spring is a good time to prune to keep it in check.

This one is being trained with wire & eye hooks. Some of the new growth strays out – no way around that. This pic was taken in mid-November & it’s still blooming away.

There are quite a few of these vines around Santa Barbara and I would hazard a bet that none get too much pampering if any at all. Here’s what I know:

* Stephanotis likes nice bright light but no direct hot sun.

* It’s hardy to around 39 degrees.

* It doesn’t like dry air. I live 7 blocks from the ocean so that’s why my neighbors’ vines do so well.

* This vine is not drought tolerant – keep it evenly moist.

* It likes nice rich soil & will benefit from an application or 2 of nice, rich compost every year.

* The roots need to be kept cool – the compost will help with that. This is another reason to keep it out of hot sun.

* As far as insects go, keep an eye out for mealy bug & scale.

As a houseplant (they are most often seen growing on a ring or small trellis), Stephanotis can be a bit tricky. In the winter our home tend to be kept dry and this plant likes humidity. Another glitch, it likes cool temps in the winter time. Fertilize it with fish emulsion, kelp or liquid seaweed at 1/2 strength during the growing season.

Here in Santa Barbara it flowers from the late Spring through early Winter. This year has been sunny and very mild so the Stephanotis is still blooming away in January. In days past this was the quintessential bridal flower and was commonly seen in bouquets, corsages, boutonnieres and in bride’s hair.

The individual flowers are put on Stephanotis Picks which are long pieces of covered wire with cotton at the end. This is so they can be put into a bouquet. Sweet little blooms!

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Stephanotis Plant Care: Growing And Caring For Stephanotis Flowers

Stephanotis flowers have long been treasured for their beauty and sweet scent. The tropical twining vine, with its dark shiny foliage and snowy flowers, are a traditional element in wedding bouquets and many of us received our first info on the Stephanotis flower from our florist.

Info on the Stephanotis Flower

When we talk about Stephanotis plant care, we’re talking about Stephanotis floribunda, or Madagascar jasmine, though it is not a member of the jasmine family. It is one of five to 10 species identified within the genus of twining vine-like shrubs and is the most popular among indoor gardeners.

The flowers present as narrow, tubular, waxy horns about 2 inches in length. Each flower has a crown of five lobes and stamens that someone long ago thought looked like tiny ears; hence the name from the Greek stephanos (crown) and otis (ear). The leaves are leathery, oval shaped and opposite, and the plant’s woody tendrils can grow to 20 feet in the wild.

Because it is a tender, tropical perennial, info on the Stephanotis flower is usually directed to indoor care, for Stephanotis is very particular about its mini-climate environment.

Care for Stephanotis

If you live in an area that meets the requirements for Stephanotis plant care — sufficient rain, high humidity, warm winters — you can grow this plant outdoors year round, but for most gardeners, these beauties will

spend at least part of their year indoors, particularly in winter. Indoor care of Stephanotis can be problematic and they tend to suffer from shock when their environment is radically changed.

One of the reasons there isn’t more written about Stephanotis plant care is their difficult nature. These fussy tropicals aren’t the easiest plants to care for. Stephanotis are easiest to grow in greenhouses where strict attention can be paid to their needs. But with time and effort, it is possible to care for Stephanotis in your home.

In order to provide the optimum environment for your Stephanotis, plant care should begin with the soil. These plants require a rich loamy soil that retains constant moisture, yet you can never leave them with soggy roots, which will cause the leaves to curl and the plant to die.

A trellis should be provided, though when grown indoors, Stephanotis floribunda rarely grows to its maximum height.

They should be fertilized with a half strength solution twice a month during the growing season, and the plants should be misted regularly since they demand a relative humidity level of 40 to 80 percent. Because of their need for warmth and constant moisture, Stephanotis plants are also susceptible to both mealybugs and scale.

Summer temperatures are more flexible for Stephanotis flowers as long as averages remain around 70-80°F. (22°C). They prefer cooler nights of 55-60°F. (13-16°C). Since they are tropical in nature, they require medium to bright light, but tend to burn in direct sunlight.

Winter Indoor Care of Stephanotis Flowers

Stephanotis are particularly challenging in winter. Indoor care of Stephanotis doesn’t mesh well with winter care of people. They demand much cooler temperatures hovering around 55°F. (13°C). If the temperature rises too high, the plant will die and anything below 50°F. (10 C.) is usually too cold for the plant’s survival.

Their watering requirements drop dramatically, but they still like the occasional misting.

Do not fertilize during the winter months.

Stephanotis Flowers and Seed Pods

You won’t find much info on the Stephanotis flower seed pod because it is so rare in the home garden. If conditions are perfect, your plant will produce fruits that are usually described as egg or pear shaped and can reach four inches in length.

This inedible fruit takes months to ripen and will eventually split and turn brown. The pod can then be pulled apart to reveal a mass of flat seeds with white feathery hairs attached similar to the more familiar milkweed, which is, in fact, a relative. These seeds can be planted, though propagation through stem cuttings is more common and successful.

Stephanotis floribunda is relatively new on the home gardener market and their care can be tedious, but if you’re looking for a gardening challenge, this plant may be the one for you.

Madagascar Jasmine flowers

Madagascar Jasmine flowers

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Height: 12 feet

Spread: 3 feet


Hardiness Zone: (annual)

Other Names: Waxflower, Bridal Wreath


This vigorous climber bears dark green leathery leaves to contrast clusters of pure white tubular blooms that are highly fragrant; largely used for wedding arrangements; grows best in sunny, tropical conditions or indoors

Ornamental Features

Madagascar Jasmine features showy clusters of fragrant white tubular flowers along the branches from early spring to late winter. Its attractive glossy oval leaves remain dark green in color with distinctive light green veins throughout the year. The fruit is not ornamentally significant.

Landscape Attributes

Madagascar Jasmine is a multi-stemmed annual with a ground-hugging habit of growth. Its medium texture blends into the garden, but can always be balanced by a couple of finer or coarser plants for an effective composition.

This is a high maintenance plant that will require regular care and upkeep, and is best cleaned up in early spring before it resumes active growth for the season. It is a good choice for attracting bees and butterflies to your yard. It has no significant negative characteristics.

Madagascar Jasmine is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Hedges/Screening
  • General Garden Use
  • Container Planting

Planting & Growing

Madagascar Jasmine will grow to be about 12 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 3 feet. As a climbing vine, it should either be planted near a fence, trellis or other landscape structure where it can be trained to grow upwards on it, or allowed to trail off a retaining wall or slope. Although it’s not a true annual, this fast-growing plant can be expected to behave as an annual in our climate if left outdoors over the winter, usually needing replacement the following year. As such, gardeners should take into consideration that it will perform differently than it would in its native habitat.

This plant does best in full sun to partial shade. It does best in average to evenly moist conditions, but will not tolerate standing water. It is very fussy about its soil conditions and must have rich, acidic soils to ensure success, and is subject to chlorosis (yellowing) of the leaves in alkaline soils. It is somewhat tolerant of urban pollution. This species is not originally from North America.

Madagascar Jasmine is a fine choice for the garden, but it is also a good selection for planting in outdoor pots and containers. Because of its spreading habit of growth, it is ideally suited for use as a ‘spiller’ in the ‘spiller-thriller-filler’ container combination; plant it near the edges where it can spill gracefully over the pot. Note that when growing plants in outdoor containers and baskets, they may require more frequent waterings than they would in the yard or garden.

Stephanotis, also called Madagascar jasmine, is a magnificent indoor plant that blooms all summer long.

Key facts about Stephanotis

Name – Stephanotis floribunda
Family – Apocynceae or dogbane
Type – vine, indoor plant
Height – 10 to 16 feet (3 to 5 meters)
Exposure – well-lit
Soil – indoor plant soil mix

Foliage – evergreen
Flowering – May to October

Planting stephanotis

In our climates, only potted growing is possible for Stephanotis because it can’t bear the cold.

Growing stephanotis in pots

If potted, it is advised to re-pot every 1 or 2 years, preferably in spring.

Pots provided upon purchase quickly become too small: re-pot your stephanotis as soon as their blooming is over.

  • Once in place, avoid changing its location because it hates being transferred from one spot to the next.
  • Refer to our guidelines on how to repot your stephanotis.

Growing stephanotis outdoors

Stephanotis is native to Madagascar, and therefore requires temperatures of at least 68°F (20°C) all year-round to thrive.

When growing directly in the ground, temperatures must be high in both summer and winter and planting is done in spring.

Growing and caring for potted Stephanotis

Choose a very well-lit space for your stephanotis, but not in direct sunlight behind a window.

  • Avoid heat sources such as radiators.
  • Protect the plant from direct sunlight during the hotter hours if placed behind a window.
  • The temperature must never drop below 60°F (15°C).

You can bring your potted Stephanotis outside from late spring to early autumn, keeping an eye on the temperature.

Stephanotis in winter

Winter care for Stephanotis in a pot

Best is to bring the pot in from the cold to a lean-in or cool greenhouse.

If your plant customarily lives indoors inside a heated house or apartment, it will appreciate a phase of rest over the winter months in a cooler spot instead of the hot, dry indoor air.

Temperatures shouldn’t drop below 57°F (13°C) for extended periods, and any bout of frost will kill the vine.

Ideally, your Stephanotis will go dormant if you keep it in a 57° to 60°F (13 to 15°C) range. In winter, water your potted Stephanotis only when the soil is dry, without adding any fertilizer.

Caring for outdoor Stephanotis in winter

– If ever winter is cold in your area (below 50°F / 10°C), it’ll take a miracle for your Stephanotis to survive.

  • The only options to protect your outdoor Stephanotis from the cold is either to uproot your stephanotis to a pot and bring it indoors as described above,
  • or, if you’ve already got the materials at hand, to set up a temporary heated greenhouse around it!

Transferring to a pot is by far the most economical solution. However, it’s also more difficult when the shrub has grown to several feet or more in height. You’ll have to bring the treillis or stake along with the plant and root clump. The bigger the plant, the higher the risk of it dying of transplant shock.

  • Read how to uproot your Stephanotis and plant it in a pot
  • One solution could be to plant your Stephanotis with a pot-in-pot strategy to make it easier to pull out and protect.

The Stephanotis plant will work on renewing its root system during fall and winter, and it’ll be ready for being replanted out in the open come late spring!

Watering and fertilizing Stephanotis

To flower well and grow, a Stephanotis plant requires a bit of care as regards watering and fertilizer.

Water regularly but not too much, to avoid suffocating roots.

  • Watering 1 time a week should be enough.
  • Adding liquid flower plant fertilizer every fortnight will enhance the blooming and growth.

Your stephanotis will require a lot of moisture because its natural habitat is forest underbrush.

  • Spray soft water on the leaves often.

When potted, stephanotis needs a lot of moisture and likes being placed on a bed of constantly moist gravel or clay marbles, since this recreates its natural environment.

Stephanotis after flowering

The usual blooming season for Stephanotis extends from May to October-November.

After blooming, its is best to give your plant a “rest” for it to go dormant: place it in a cooler but well-lit room.

  • Ideal temperatures are around 68 to 70° F (20 to 21° C) in summer and 57 to 60°F (13 to 15°C) during the rest phase (usually winter).

During the dormancy, all addition of nutrients must be stopped, and you should only water if the soil in the pot is dry.

Pruning stephanotis

Early spring, you can prune the vine without restraint to let it grow back even better and ensure it will bloom again.

  • If the vine is very large, and you wish to reduce it in size, it may be better to stage the pruning over two years
  • Learn how to prune stephanotis vine in this article
  • You’ll have to prune if you want to transfer a stephanotis indoors in colder climates.

Fruits on Stephanotis

You might discover, usually after several years, a plum-shaped fruit growing on your vine.

  • This isn’t a plant disease or an insect gall – it’s a fruit!

The pod of the Stephanotis vine is surprising and its seeds are rather exciting…

  • Pod on stephanotis

Learn more about stephanotis

As its common name shows, Stephanotis is native to Madagascar, where it can be found outdoors in the wild among other plants in forest underbrush. It is used under temperate climates as an indoor plant.

Madagascar jasmine is a vine that offers deep dark green leaves, leathery and shiny, and flowers from spring to fall that appear at the junction of each leaf.

Usually, a stake is provided to help it grow upright, because it cannot stand straight on its own.

Stephanotis shares its fragrance with another plant that is related to it: Plumeria. Both boast beautiful white five-petaled flowers. Their fragrance is heavenly when it spreads through the air!

Diseases and issues related to Stephanotis

If a cottony white substance starts covering your stephanotis leaves, a scale insect colony has appeared.

  • Follow our advice on how to treat scale insects.

Stephanotis can also be colonized by mites and ticks such as red spider mites, especially when the surrounding air is too dry.

  • Here is how to fight red spider mites.

Leaves turn yellow on a stephanotis plant whenever the water used for watering is too hard or when the plant lacks light.

  • Use rainwater or mineral groundwater to water your stephanotis.
  • Give it a bit more light.

Stephanotis not flowering happens when the plant isn’t yet in an ideal growing environment. It’s a very picky plant. Try the following:

  • Mist the leaves or rest the pot atop a tray with clay pebbles doused in water.
  • Bring it outside in spring through summer, but shelter it from wind. A clear difference between warm days and cooler nights helps trigger blooming.
  • Try planting it outside for the warm season. Extra root space combined with day/night cycles have a positive impact. This has worked before! You’ll have to uproot it for winter, though.
  • It might take a couple years – young, newly propagated plants commonly only bloom in their second, third or even fourth year.

Smart tip about Stephanotis

Adding flower plant organic fertilizer will enhance its bloom.

  • Read also: Stephanotis, VIP fragrance
  • Amazing indoor plants, a top selection

How to Grow Stephanotis From Seeds

Stephanotis, often referred to as Madagascan jasmine, is a handsome, fast-growing tropical and subtropical vine. It sports large elliptical, leathery dark green leaves, and a profusion of delicate, highly-fragrant pristine white flowers from spring through fall. It is winter hardy in all temperate areas of the United States, is easy to grow and not demanding. The plant prefers rich, well-draining soil in full sun and it loves humidity. Healthy adult plants produce very large 5-6 inch long green seed pods that look like mangoes and take 6-9 months to mature. Your stephanotis will refuse to bloom while there are pods developing on it because producing offspring will consume all of the plant’s energies. Picking pods as they appear will keep the plant in flowering condition.

Pick the mature pod from the mother plant when it turns completely yellow. Put it in the leg of an old pair of pantyhose or a knee-high so that none of the seeds will float away. Set it in a clear plastic or glass container on a sunny windowsill until it puckers and splits open on its own.

Remove the pod from the stocking and use a stout paring knife to peel away the thick layer of flesh, revealing a long, thin cylinder of seeds. This will look somewhat like a pine cone, with 50-100 seeds all layered tightly together like fish scales. They’re stuck to a long wad of fine, soft white fibers. Each creamy colored seed will have a long, soft, thick fuzzy tail, kind of like a dandelion seed. Work in an area free of moving air so that the seeds won’t float away from you.

Spread the stephanotis seeds out in a single layer on a cookie sheet, and set it in a warm, dry area where they’ll be undisturbed overnight. This will ensure that all remaining moisture will evaporate from them, discouraging rot.

Remove the lid of a Styrofoam egg carton. Poke a few drainage holes in the bottom of each cell to create a seed starting tray. Combine coarse sand with potting soil for a seed starting mix with 20 percent sand content, and fill the cells with it. Press a single seed lightly into the center of each cell. Just barely cover with a very thin layer of sand.

Set the prepared seed starting pack in the egg carton lid, and water with gentle spritzing from a plastic spray bottle. The surface should be evenly moist, but take great care not to wet it to the point that it’s soggy. Seal everything in a clear plastic bag to retain humidity, and place in a warm spot with plenty of indirect bright light. The top of your refrigerator or above a water heater are good choices.

Check the planting medium daily to make sure that it doesn’t dry out completely. Water only when it begins to feel slightly dry, but just enough to evenly moisten. The seeds will germinate in about 2 weeks, and produce seedlings in about another 2 weeks.

Use scissors or a paring knife to carefully separate each of the egg carton cells. Gently peel the Styrofoam from the seedling’s rootball. Plant it in a well-draining 4-inch clay pot of the same mixture you started the seeds in. Spritz to water enough to evenly moisten the medium.

Set the potted seedlings in a warm, bright spot for a couple of weeks, where they’ll receive at least 6 hours of indirect sun each day. Don’t allow the temperature to drop below 55 degrees F, and protect them from strong direct sunlight.

Move the stephanotis seedlings outdoors when all danger of frost has passed. Feed their roots a layer of organic compost once a month throughout the growing season, and keep their medium evenly moist. They like their heads in the sun and their feet in the shade, and must be provided with excellent drainage. Your stephanotis seedlings will flower 2-3 years from the time they’ve sprouted.

How to care for your Stephanotis

To keep your Stephanotis happy and to get your blooms to return this summer there are a few simple, easy steps to follow. After your blooms have passed and it warms up outside you can place your Stephanotis outside. Keep your plant in a well lit area, away from the direct sunlight as this may scald the leaves. In the summer the ideal temperature for Stephanotis is 21ºC. These are high humidity loving plants. If you would like to keep your Stephanotis outside during the summer you should place it in a humidity tray. To make a humidity tray find a pot without drainage that is large enough to fit your potted Stephanotis inside with about 2 inches of gravel in the bottom. Place the gravel in the bottom of the no drainage pot and pour water onto the gravel until it is about 1/2 an inch below the surface of the gravel. Then place your Stephanotis in the pot. As the day warms the water will evaporate from the gravel and provide your plant with humidity.(Hint:This humidity tray is something that most plants would love to have if you want to place them outside in the summer). During the summer months you will want to fertilize every 2 weeks with a fertilizer high in potassium (The 3rd number in the fertilizer code). You will want to water regularly throughout the growing season.

During the winter month Stephanotis do not grow much so you will want to water sparingly. Do not allow the soil to completely dry out, but make sure the top inch of the soil is dry before watering. Temperatures between 13-15ºC are ideal for, although they can tolerate temperatures as low as 10ºC.

To repot your Stephanotis you will want to wait until the end of the plants dormancy period, which is in late March-April. You will want to chose a potting soil rich in compost and organic matter. A suitable mix is African Violet soil which is designed for plants that require rich compost and lots of organic matter.

Grown as a fragrant specimen plant, Stephanotis floribunda sports highly scented waxy flowers reminiscent of the tang of true jasmines

Used in wedding, bouquets, corsages, arrangements, and even adorned right on the bride, Bridal Veil vine is a potent sweet smelling long-lasting classic bloomer

As are so many great plants, this fine woody vine is from Madagascar. Blooms start in spring then can be seen during all your summer months, and often into later fall

Flowers form in clusters. Below are some soon to open

click pics to enlarge

Best outdoors in zone 10, position your Bridal Veil in full sun and let it climb to arch or cover

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Worldwide, Madagascar jasmine is grown in pots and trained to twine in shapes as desired

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Grow in pots anywhere. Over winter in colder climates, protect when needed then convert to a houseplant for your ongoing winter months

Leaves of your Stephanotis floribunda are clean, shiny, leathery and very long lasting like the flowers. The vine is woody and takes to pruning and training very easily

click pic to enlarge

With age, your vine will occasionally set seed with a avocado-shaped pod that cracks open to show winged seeds

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Easy to grow, you should consider adding Stephanotis floribunda to your collection of fragrant plants

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Really healthy Stephanotis floribunda are ready to ship to you right now. You can then keep potted or you can plant now right into your landscape

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Never before offered here. You may order your own rare-to-see sweetly fragrant Bridal Veil live plant for only $21.00 plus postage & packing

For pre-purchase PayPal information, click here

As always, you receive complete care info
included with your package
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