The genus stephanotis includes about five species of evergreen climbing plants, originating in Madagascar; S. floribunda is a vigorous, evergreen, with thick stems, which become semi-woody over the years; it has oval leaves, 8-10 cm long, dark green, leathery and shiny. In late spring it produces small clusters of white, slightly fleshy, intensely scented, star-shaped flowers; the flowers of stephanotis they are very reminiscent of jasmine flowers, although they are larger and fleshy. For an adequate development the plants of stephanotis they need a guardian or a trellis to wrap themselves in; in nature these plants reach 4-5 meters in height, in cultivation they generally remain below two meters.
In order to have a good development it is advisable to put in place the jasmine from madagascar in a partially shaded place, protected from the wind and possibly against a wall of the house, so as to guarantee protection from intense cold. The stephanotis can withstand short periods of cold, but, in areas with very cold winters, it is advisable to cultivate them in a tempered greenhouse or place them in a sheltered and warm place to keep them during the colder season. The jasmine plants of Madagascar are often grown as an apartment variety, in this case it is good in winter to keep them at temperatures above 10-12 ° C, although they can easily withstand lower temperatures, for short periods, around 4-5 o'clock. ° C, without serious or permanent damage. During flowering it is good to remember to avoid temperature changes, as they can cause the total or partial loss of the buds.
Watering and fertilization of Stephanotis
from March to October it is advisable to water the Madagascar jasmine regularly, leaving the soil to dry slightly between one watering and another; in winter water sporadically. It is good to regulate with the amount of water in relation to the type of plant, the size of the pot and the climatic conditions, with the foresight to avoid water stagnation.
During the vegetative period, provide fertilizer for flowering plants every 10-15 days.
The Stephanotis requires a slightly moist substrate. From spring to autumn it will intervene on average twice a week or in any case when the surface is totally dry to the touch, preferring rain or demineralised water. We always avoid the use of saucers because they are the most frequent cause of root rot.
In this period we distribute weekly a liquid fertilizer for flowering plants, in which potassium is the predominant macro-element. Alternatively we can opt for gradual release granules or sticks to be inserted into the substrate.
THE STEPHANOTIS IN BRIEF
|Family, genus, species||Apocynaceae, gen. Marsdenia floribunda|
|Common name||Stephanotis floribunda, Jasmine of Madagascar|
|Type of plant||Evergreen shrub with fickle stems|
|Use||Flowering pot plant; from apartment|
|Height at maturity||Up to 5 m in nature; up to 3 m in pot|
|Width at maturity||Vase with 50 cm diameter|
|Minimum temperature||10 ° C|
|Ideal temperature in the vegetative period||18 ° - 25 ° C; no jumps between day and night|
|Exposure||Very bright, no direct sun|
|Ground||Fresh but drained|
|Fertilizer||For flowering plants, every week|
|soil pH||From neutral to subacid|
|Soil moisture||Slightly damp|
Soil and repotting of Stephanotis
To plant the jasmine specimens of Madagascar use a substrate rich in organic matter, lightened with a small part of sand and a few shredded barks; these plants prefer slightly acid soils. It is good that the soil provides the correct degree of drainage to avoid the formation of water stagnation.
It is good to repot the plant immediately after purchase: generally the container is too small and light for the vigor it will reach in the year. Furthermore, sometimes the roots already show some signs of rot (due to not very careful irrigation). Later this operation can be carried out on average every 2 years.
The diameter of the container must be greater than 2-4 cm. Choose a sturdy and rather heavy one: we will avoid that the plant can tip over.
We create a good draining layer. The suitable compost is obtained by mixing soil for flowering plants with a little clay, to help us keep the roots fresh for longer.
To obtain new specimens of this variety, the cuttings, 10 cm long, are cut between April and June by non-floriferous side shoots. The rooting must take place in a sand and peat substrate on a warm bench at 20 ° C. After rooting, the plants are transplanted into larger and larger pots.
Diseases and pests
Jasmine from Madagascar is a robust plant, aphids and cochineals can come from other plants nearby and spoil buds and flowers. It is good to intervene promptly with anti-parasitic products or with natural methods that involve the use of a preparation based on water and garlic, macerated and filtered, to be sprayed on the affected plants.
Climate and exposure Stephanotis
The stephanotis is native to the forests of Madagascar. To obtain abundant and prolonged blooms, the type of environment must be reproduced as much as possible. The ideal temperature, during the vegetative period, ranges from 18 to 25 ° C, without large changes between day and night (on pain of flower drop). The display must be very bright, but avoid direct light. In the apartment, it is ideally located near a window facing South or West, appropriately shielded by a curtain in the most intense light months. It is also important to keep a good quantity of humidity in the air by using leaf sprays or special devices. In the summer, when the minimum temperatures do not fall below 15 ° C, it is advisable to bring the vase outside, placing it under a pergola or in any case in an area protected from both strong light and currents.
Stephanotis winter rest
To obtain an abundant flowering it is important, during the winter period, to let the plant go into vegetative rest for at least a month. For this purpose it is good to place the plant in a slightly heated room (12-14 ° C) and lit. We also reduce water intake to a minimum by ensuring only that the ground bread does not dry out completely.
THE STEPHANOTIS CALENDAR
|Flowering||May - October|
|repotting||End of winter|
|Talea||Spring - early summer|
|Vegetative rest||November - February|
Supports and stephanotis
The stephanotis is able to climb independently thanks to its twisting stems, although it often requires ligatures. As supports we can therefore use thin racks or wire meshes. If we want to obtain a semifera shape we can insert two arcs in the vase, making them cross at 90 ° C.
A good pruning allows us to keep the specimen compact and rich, year after year. You can intervene at the end of winter or, for minor adjustments, throughout the growing season.
The shoots can be shortened to stimulate the release of new ones from the base and also obtain greater branching. We then check and eliminate those that are old, dry or obviously weak.
Pests and diseases
Stephanotis is susceptible to aphids, whitefly, scale insects and red spider mites. For the first three it is good to intervene with mild insecticides, especially in the case of slight attacks. Alternatively, systemic products can be used (also available in tablets to be inserted into the ground). For the red spider it is good practice to increase the environmental humidity; in severe cases we resort to specific acaricides.
Variety of Stephanotis
The genus (composed of six species) once known as Stephanotis has now undergone a profound revision: it is part, in fact, of the great genus Marsdenia together with other similar plants, such as the Jasminanthes. It is part of the Apocynaceae family. The Marsdenia floribunda is almost exclusively found on the market, known almost exclusively with its old name (Stephanotis floribunda). In the most supplied nurseries its variety 'Variegata' can also be found with slightly white-stained leaves.
Jasmine of Madagascar: History and curiosity
The name Stephanotis derives from the Greek Stephanos which literally means "which is used to make crowns". The name Marsdenia is instead a tribute to a famous English linguist and orientalist. The plant has many popular names: some call it wax liana, others liana or crown of brides: for its perfume and its beauty it is in fact often used as a decoration in hairstyles or in double bouquets. It also seems to have been one of Marilyn Monroe's favorite flowers.
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