of the month
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Stephanotis floribunda (stef-ah-NO-tis flor-ih-BUN-duh)
Madagascar jasmine, Wax flower, Bridal wreath, Floradora
Stephanotises are evergreen vines that can grow as tall as 15 to
18 feet. They generally are grown as potted, trellised plants,
and the vines can grow more outward than upward. The leaves are
thick and leathery. Stephanotises are best known for their
white, 1-inch-diameter, star-shaped florets. They have an
intense fragrance that resembles jasmine (Jasminum officinale).
Stephanotises’ blossoms are white. They will appear ivory or
yellow as they mature and fade.
With proper care and handling, Stephanotis plants can last for
Stephanotises are available year-round. The plants’ peak seasons
are summer and autumn.
IN-STORE AND CONSUMER CARE
LIGHT Bright light will
maximize plant quality and flower development. Flowers that open
at lower light levels are pale and irregularly colored. Choose
an east, south or west window to provide the correct light
levels, but do not allow direct sunlight to hit the plants.
WATER Keep the potting mix
evenly moist. Water sparingly in the winter.
TEMPERATURE Avoid sudden
changes in temperature. Stephanotises are warm-loving plants
that do best with nighttime temperatures of 65 F or higher and
daytime temperatures of 75 F. In the winter, however, they
should be kept between 55 F and 60 F. Make sure there is plenty
of air circulation.
HUMIDITY Humidity levels
should be high. This can be achieved in the home by placing the
plants on pebble trays. Misting frequently is also beneficial.
FERTILIZER Use a bloom
fertilizer, feeding the plants every two to three weeks.
GROOMING Remove individual
flowers as they fade. If lower leaves turn yellow, they can be
removed without damaging the plants.
repotting Repot the plants in the spring every two years.
Stephanotises can be affected by ethylene gas. Check with your
supplier to make sure your plants have been treated with an
anti-ethylene agent at the grower level or during
Look for florets that are bright white, waxy and plump. There
should be no signs of bruising, yellowing, spotting, mold or
MITES These pests afflict young plants. They can be
kept down by fumigating, vaporizing or syringing the plants with
a solution of insecticidal soap.
THRIPS If thrips infest the
plants, they will eliminate the rich, green coloring that
characterizes the foliage of healthy Stephanotises. Syringing
with a solution of insecticidal soap will control them.
MEALYBUGS This is the
biggest pest problem for Stephanotis plants. Their feeding
method weakens and stunts plants, and causes leaf distortion,
yellowing and even total leaf loss. In some cases, plants can be
killed. Mealybugs produce large amounts of honeydew, which can
coat plants and surrounding surfaces with a sticky layer. A
black fungus commonly known as “sooty mold” grows on the
honeydew. Applying rubbing alcohol with a cotton swab to the
leaves will eliminate this pest.
Some information provided by:
Brannan Street Wholesale Florist, Inc., San Francisco, Calif.
The Chain of Life NetworkÆ,
The New House Plant Expert, by Dr. D.G. Hessayon
You may reach “Blooming Plant of the Month” writer Steven W.
Brown, AIFD, at
firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (415) 239-3140.
Photos courtesy of The John Henry Company
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