Friday, November 15, 2013

Stephanotis Vine (Stephanotis floribunda)

 

Stephanotis, also called the Wedding Flower or Madagascar Jasmine, is another of my favorite useful and tough plants.  Of course, it is useful because of its fragrant, waxy white flowers that go so well in wedding bouquets and leis but the hardy plant is also wonderful in hiding all those ugly chain link fences we have in Hawaii.



The Stephanotis vine likes to grow in a sunny place with good soil drainage.  They just love chain link fences although they tend to favor the top of the fence so you may have to position and pinch the the young tendrils to encourage them to cover the fence well.  Giving the plant some fertiliser and water will give you a lot more flowers but the plant is a tough survivor once established.  It can tolerate salty ocean breezes.  The young plant does seem to take time to get established, so just keep watering after planting it with a bit of fertiliser and soon tendrils will start reaching up and it will take off.

Stephanotis can be propagated from cuttings but I grow my plants from seed.  I pick one of the  large seed pods ( they look rather like a mango) when it is starting to turn from green to a yellow-brown and put it up on the kitchen window ledge until it fully ripens and cracks open.  Actually , it is a good idea to put a rubber band loosely around the pod so that the seeds cannot float off when you are not watching as each seed has a fluffy propeller like a dandelion seed so that it can be carried by the wind.



I always love my first look into the Stephanotis pod when it opens up.  It is one of the marvels of nature to see how the seeds and their unopened fluff is packed so beautifully into the pod.  One pod gives hundreds of seeds and they easily sprout into hardy seedlings.  These I transplant into plastic cups to get them rooted well before planting out when they start getting a tendril reaching up.



The Stephanotis flushes into flower in the spring and summer so it is good timing for bridal bouquets and graduation leis.  In bouquets, a floral pick or a bit of coconut leaf mid-rib can be used to position
the flowers.  The flowers string beautifully into leis or on knotted ribbon streamers.

Aloha

15 comments:

  1. Oh that is very interesting I have a stephanotis vine and it is has just finished flowering so I will be on the lookout for pods. It does tend to have long stalks rather than a bushy habit.

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  2. Hi africanaussie. When I think about it, whenever I get seed pods, it is from very mature vines....so you may have to look around to find them. I know a few public park places where I can find them. :o)

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  3. I have never seen this one in my region.
    Truly it looks familiar but somehow different.
    Thanks for dropping by my blog.

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  4. Hi James...thanks for dropping by and looking through my blog and for your comments. I love how garden blogs are connecting us around the world.....and Malaysia is one of my favorite places so it is like being able to visit there again when I read your blog. Aloha

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  5. Very informative, thank you! I am going to plant the vine to cover chain link, any suggesting for prepping the soil? We live near Hilo with tight reddish soil. Thank you!!

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  6. Hi Alicia. Glad that my writing is being of help. I guess just the usual: breaking up of soil, throw in some organic matter and a bit of fertilizer and then keep the plant watered. Actually, if you have that hard clay soil....the more organic matter the better for all the garden. Still....lucky you live Hilo. I was there a few months ago and by the time I came home, I was ready to move over there. This island is getting too crowded and too expensive.

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  7. No....it is not edible Michelle....even though the fruit looks like a big mango it is just husk and seeds with fluff inside.

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  9. Great blog. Stumbled upon it. Do you think this will tolerate full sun? I've seen suggestions that it be placed in "bright light" but not full sun. I would like to place it in full sun if I can without dooming it.

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  10. Great info on Stephanotis! I was given a pod by my neighbors and now we have 20 little seedlings. Thanks to your blog, now we know what they are and what they look like when fully grown.

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  12. Hi Jose and Glen....sorry been traveling and away from the blog so a long time for you to wait for a reply. I am glad to be of help to you both. I have seen it grown in full sun but you may need to watch that it has enough water in the hot dry summer or it may get tired looking.

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