Stephanotis - Regal Blooms, Fragrance And Whimsy

Few flowering lianas today can challenge the popularity of Stephanotis. In every flower shop when looking for an ornate and elite plant it will be offered almost first. There can be no doubt about the decorativeness of the elegant large leaves and stunningly fragrant flowers. But the fact that Stephanotis is also one of the most capricious plants in the category of indoor lianas is often overlooked. The slightest deviation from the conditions or usual care turns into a whole set of problems. However, it is possible to cope with them. In this article, read about the peculiarities of care for stefanotis.

Stephanotis - regal blooms, fragrance and whimsy
Stephanotis. © Stefanie

Flowering Madagascar jasmine - Stephanotis

Stephanotis are usually counted among beautiful flowering plants, although rather - they are universal lianas, in which greenery is no less ornament. Of course, the lasting impression of fragrant flowering aristocrats is much stronger, but this liana is also good outside the flowering period.

The reputation of Stephanotis has ensured its popularity: the fragrant flowers of the plant are used in many countries as an obligatory element of wedding decorations, and the charm of the inflorescences led to an active spread and the plant itself in greenhouse and room culture.

The belonging of Stephanotis to the family Lastovnae is not easy to guess, because this rather sturdy liana is not much related to periwinkles and their company. In nature, all the luxury of Stephanotis can be appreciated in Madagascar - the loose cascades of this flexible and ubiquitous liana give the forests a garden paradise effect. But despite the nickname Madagascar jasmine, the plant grows in Malaysia, China and Japan as well. The Latin name of the plant refers to the peculiarities of its inflorescence ("wreath of ears").

The only widely spread representative of the genus in indoor culture is Stephanotis floribunda (Stephanotis floribunda), which has become a visiting card of Stephanotis.

Stephanotis belongs to climbing vines and its ability to cling to supports by itself is given by tendrils. It's not easy to notice them on the plant, as all attention is drawn to the leaves and flowers of the plant.

The maximum height of the plant is limited by the length of the branches, often not exceeding 1.5 m, but usually the size depends on one thing only - the forming strategy. Stephanotis can be curled around a support so that it develops into a compact, lush cloud, or you can unleash the potential of a rather large liana and let it drape over walls.

The greenery in Stephanotis is more reminiscent of classic large-leaf ficus than other lianas. Large, perfectly oval, leathery and tough, the leaves of this liana look impeccable. They reach 10-12 cm in length. The dark color and glossy surface appear more intense and as if absorbing light. The leaves give the plant an elegant appearance, give the impression of a noble classic and provide the perfect backdrop for graceful blooms.

How does Stephanotis bloom?

Stephanotis blooms are often compared to jasmines, although the flowers are different in character and showy. Funnel-shaped, trumpet-shaped, with a beautiful star-shaped corolla, the flowers are gathered in dainty bushy umbrellas or brushes in which each flower is perfectly visible.

Like splashes of creamy flashes, the inflorescences color elegant silhouettes and appear almost weightless. Flowers can reach more than 4 cm in diameter. The narrow tube bends very gracefully, and the beauty of the lines emphasizes the unusual waxy texture of the flowers and their radiantly pearly white hue.

Some varieties of Stephanotis can be distinguished by a slight purple, cream or lemon hue, but we are still talking about variations in white color. The five oval-tipped lobes of the bend form a symmetrical, classic star flower effect.

One of the greatest virtues of Stephanotis is its fragrance. It is a fragrant plant, the smell of which envelops everything around it in a magical cloud. In small rooms Stephanotis can be very aggressive: the plant is recommended to be taken out of bedrooms or kept with the windows open, leveling the intensity of the fragrance. Its overtones somewhat resemble the smell of a lily. And if you do not like the smell of these garden flowers, it is better to check the "tolerance" of the smell of stefanotis before buying.

The flowering period of the Madagascar wonder covers the whole summer. The first flowers of Stephanotis under normal circumstances open in June, but do not finish blooming until September.

Stephanotis - regal blooms, fragrance and whimsy
Stephanotis floribunda (Stephanotis floribunda). © rastenievod

Conditions for growing room stefanotis

Extreme sensitivity to any negative factors makes stefanotis one of the most capricious room plants. When selecting conditions not only lighting and temperatures are important, but also "little things" - absence of draughts, access to fresh air, duration of light day.

Stephanotis are good as crops for entrance hall, hallway, stairway, rooms with cool environment in cold seasons. In living rooms, they are usually kept only from spring to fall, moving them to cooler rooms for a dormancy period. It is believed that the full beauty of Stephanotis can only be appreciated in greenhouses and conservatories, where the plant can be used in its natural form and allowed to drape large areas.

When handling Stephanotis, it is worth considering its status as a poisonous plant. The danger is mainly the irritants in the sap of the plant, which cause unpleasant inflammatory reactions of the skin and mucous membranes.

Lighting and placement

Stephanotis is a light loving liana, which, despite all its apparent toughness and resistance of leaves, reacts poorly to direct sunlight. For this plant, you should choose bright sites with diffused light. The best place for the plant has always been and remains the eastern and western window sills, but only in summer. During the colder seasons the light intensity of these places can be insufficient for this liana.

Stephanotis show the best flowering if they are given diffused light on southern windows or bright diffused lighting of winter gardens. Even the slightest shade, lack of light or a short day will show in the intensity of the plant's growth. Compensating extra light for this culture is not only acceptable, but also desirable. Stefanotis remains a plant of long daylight (minimum duration - 12 hours) even in its dormancy period.

Stability, absence of any sudden changes in light is critically important in the stage of budding. The plant must not be moved or turned in relation to the light source. Even if Stephanotis is moved for leaf cleaning procedures, it is important to ensure that the plant remains in the same place and position even after returning.

Temperature regime and ventilation

Stephanotis adores restrained, stable warm conditions with little variation in air temperature during the summer. The liana achieves the greatest decorative effect if the temperature values do not go beyond a range of 18 to 22 degrees. Stephanotis reacts very badly to heat, even a short increase to 25 degrees, and even more, may lead to loss of ornamentality of leaves.

The main condition for Stephanotis blossoming is cool overwintering. This plant is afraid of severe cold, a drop in temperature to 10 degrees. But also exceeding the value of temperatures beyond 16 degrees will lead to a violation of the normal course of the dormancy phase and the absence or more sparse flowering stephanotis. The optimum temperature range for overwintering is considered to be 12 to 16 degrees Celsius.

One of the most difficult points in selecting conditions for Stephanotis is its fear of changes in temperature. Both during the resting period and during active development, any differences greater than 2-3 degrees can cause developmental disorders or health problems.

Stephanotis, literally, must be protected from any stress. Particular attention to protection from temperature fluctuations should be paid with the beginning of budding and flowering stage. Such sensitivity to changes needs to be somehow combined with constant ventilation: without access to fresh air, stephanotis quickly comes to a depressed state. This liana cannot tolerate polluted air, cannot be used in the kitchen or grow in contact with tobacco smoke.

Stephanotis - regal blooms, fragrance and whimsy
Stephanotis can bloom only in a well-lit place. © HQ

Home Care for Stephanotis

The careful care required by this liana greatly limits its spread. Stephanotis require experience and careful observation, they often react too radically to the slightest lapses in care and are prone to "extremes" - loss of leaves and stopping flowering. Both watering, air humidity and feeding are important for them.

Pouring and air humidity

In the development of Stephanotis resting periods and active vegetation periods should differ significantly in the degree of substrate moisture. From March to the end of flowering, watering should be abundant and quite frequent. Overwatering is not necessary, but the humidity of the soil must be stable, with drying out only the upper layer of the substratum.

Reflective frequency of watering - 2 times a week in summer. Rarer but abundant watering likes stefanotis more than sparing but frequent procedures. With the end of flowering, watering is gradually reduced (by the amount of water, but not the frequency of procedures, on average using half as much water in winter), until the plant is transferred to cool content.

Throughout the wintering stefanotis water carefully, slightly moistening the substrate, not letting it dry out, but significantly reducing the degree of humidity. Drought and stagnant water for the plant are equally dangerous and often lead to growth disorders of the liana. Throughout the year you need to monitor the "signals" Stephanotis and check how the substrate dries out between water procedures.

For Stephanotis, watering only with soft water at a controlled temperature equal to the temperature of the air in the room and the substrate is acceptable. The plant is sprayed only during the warm season, regularly (daily) or periodically, depending on what conditions reign in the room.

Stephanotis is most comfortable in medium-high humidity values, with dry air it is worth supplementing the spraying with other methods of increasing air humidity (for example, installation of trays with wet pebbles or keramzit). In winter, no spraying is done for Stephanotis.

The leaves of the plant should be regularly cleaned of dust. Showers are not suitable for this liana, it is better to limit the gently wiping the leaves with a soft damp sponge or cloth. Only young plants can be gently washed with warm water (in adults, more often this procedure does not allow the size).

Fertilizers and composition of fertilizers

Fertilizers for Stephanotis spend only when the plant actively develops and flowers. From March to September - every two weeks according to the standard scheme, halving the dose of fertilizers in the first year after transplanting and fertilizing in the specified dosage by the manufacturer in the second year. At the same time, liquid complex fertilizers with water for irrigation.

The composition of fertilizers is very important, because Stephanotis prefers mixed mineral and organic fertilizers. Complex preparations can be replaced by an alternation of organic and mineral fertilizers.

For this liana is important balanced composition of fertilizers with a slightly reduced nitrogen content. Fertilizers for beautifully flowering crops have the optimal composition.

Unlike many indoor lianas, Stephanotis are excellent with the use of long-term fertilizers of any type.

Stephanotis - regal blooms, fragrance and whimsy
Even without flowers Stephanotis liana is very ornamental. © naturgucker

Trimming and shaping stefanotis

Without support, stefanotis is not grown. Plants, most often, curl on wire circles or set trellises, allowing to emphasize the classic appearance of the liana. If you wish, you can experiment with more original supports, and with the direction of the free branches.

The curly nature of the plant allows you not to apply methods of "hard" garter: the plant is enough to guide or in several places fix with soft twine.

Cut plants usually need pruning only when there are some violations in their development. In Stephanotis, elongated, bare, unproductive shoots and weak branches without leaves are cut back.

The densification of the plant is stimulated by shortening the main shoots to the desired length. Radical pruning, especially most of the branches, is best avoided.

Planting, containers and substrate

Stephanotis is transplanted regularly, but not annually. The plant usually has time to master the potted substrate in two years and transplanting every other year is considered the best strategy. Transplant the liana into a new container only at the very beginning of the active growth period.

If the liana is large, especially when growing in a greenhouse with free growth on walls and trellises, transplanting is replaced by simply removing and changing the topsoil as long as possible.

When selecting the substrate for Stephanotis, preference should be given to special highly nutritious earth mixtures for beautiful flowering plants. The dominant substrate should be turf soil. The optimal pH is from 5.5 to 6.5.

When choosing a container, it is desirable to keep the classical ratio of height to diameter, giving preference to deep containers. Drainage holes are mandatory, as well as drainage to 1/5 of the height of the pot. Only stable containers are suitable for stephanotis. The plant prefers natural ceramic pots.

Stephanotis never transplanted with the removal of the old substrate from the roots, trying to fully preserve intact dense root ball (of course, except for emergency transplanting, which the plant tolerates very badly).

Transplantation is carried out carefully, avoiding injury. After transplanting, watering should be very careful, rooting stimulants can be added to the water to compensate for damage and speed up adaptation.

Diseases, pests and problems in cultivation

The susceptibility of Stefanotis to diseases and pests is determined by how its keeping conditions differ from optimum. The critical period is considered the fall and winter, when high temperatures or low humidity can lead to a rapid infestation of insects.

The plant is particularly favored by scales, aphids and spider mites. Stephanotis tends to be prone to extreme infestations. It is not worth experimenting with pest control methods on them, starting immediately with highly specialized insecticidal preparations.

Prevalent problems in cultivation:

  • extraction of shoots in an insufficiently light place;
  • weak flowering even in light penumbra;
  • yellowing of young and appearance of spots on old leaves when watering with hard water;
  • bud twisting when soil moisture is low;
  • fall of buds at any displacement of the container;
  • complete yellowing of old leaves in insufficient light;
  • sharp shedding of leaves in a draught or temperature spike;
  • stoppage of bud or flower development in fluctuating air temperature or substrate subcooling.
Stephanotis - regal blooms, fragrance and whimsy
Stephanotis is particularly favored by scabs, aphids, and spider mites. © Scot Nelson

Propagation of Stephanotis

The main propagation method for this liana remains cuttings. Stephanotis is propagated by stem and apical cuttings. Cut cuttings length of 8 to 10 cm only from the last year's branches. They only need to have 1 pair of leaves, making an oblique cut under the second pair and removing lower leaves from the shoots. The hardest part of rooting is the requirement to create hot conditions: cuttings take root only at a temperature of about 25 degrees. For rooting, a mixture of standard for Stephanotis substrate and sand in equal parts is used. Cuttings are planted under a hood or film. Treatment of cuttings with growth and rooting stimulants increases the chances of success.

Rooting of stefanotis cuttings takes at least 1.5 months. Young plants are very sensitive to elevated temperatures and should be kept cool.

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