Stephanotis Floribunda going bald

jeelli(5/6 CT)January 30, 2009

Though my two seed grown 2 y/o Stephanotis are in a south facing window, they have lost petty much most of their leaves. I'm thinking it's because our sunlight in the Northeast has been minimal, at best. Is there still hope for these plants- do they have a tendency to go into dormancy? I'm hoping the sun intensity strengthens SOON, and makes everyone happy again. Too many days of filtered sunlight... If any one has any thoughts, Thank You!!!


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Stephanotis needs a relatively cool, dry rest in the winter; not quite dormancy, but more like a winter vacation where you check into a cosy spot and spend all your time reading books and watching TV.

When you add the big drop in light levels, it's hard not to stress the plants out -- but that much leaf drop says something's not right. If you haven't cut way back on the watering they may have some root rot, so you might want to gently pull them out of their pots to check the root balls.

Defoliation could also be caused by those *#^*$#! spider mites, or even actual spiders spinning webs on leaves and stems, which happened with a nice vandofinetia orchid of mine and killed off the flowers early. Curses!

Give 'em as much light as you can, and consider a portable CFL grow light to supplement Mother Nature's weak offerings. Deep waterings once a week are better than 2-3 little waterings. No fertilizer at all!

Hopefully, now that the days are lengthening again, they'll recover, and as new growth starts out you can sloooooly up the watering schedule and see if they flower come spring!

Hope this helps,


    Bookmark   January 31, 2009 at 2:44PM
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jeelli(5/6 CT)

Hi Jim!
I checked the roots, they look good. They're kind of tight in their pots though. I've been spraying, and I'm not seeing signs of mites either- thank goodness! I'm thinking light levels. I may move them to the basement in front of the sliders- they'll get western sun but they'll be cooler-60- 62 degrees.
Thank you for your advice! I don't think I've ever had this much trouble with my plants- now it's my prize Gardenia. She looked like root rot was setting in, so I checked the roots (fine) and switched to an unglazed pot and kept it much drier. Then the decline began again. I watered well, against my better judgement (I had watered not too long before), and now it's perked back up- it's always something!!! I can't wait until spring!!!

    Bookmark   February 3, 2009 at 10:14AM
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Tight in their pots is good -- stephanotis, like their cousins the hoyas, flower better when potbound! Likewise, the lower temps may mean more flowers, assuming they pull through. Winter sucks, don't it!


    Bookmark   February 3, 2009 at 8:46PM
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puglvr1(9b central FL)


Good luck with your Stephanotis...I am planning on getting one this weekend. I will need to know how to properly take care of this plant. This is a first for me. I do have gardenias and hoyas, so hopefully they are similar in their care. Good luck with yours!

Jim, any advise/tips of growing these? I live in Fl, and I am purchasing this locally, so I'm hoping they will do okay here with our climate/humidity. Thanks in advance!

    Bookmark   February 4, 2009 at 4:37PM
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puglvr1(9b central FL)

I just got my Stephanotis yesterday, I'm pretty excited about it! Repotted it today in a nicer pot and removed all the wet soggy peat soil it was in, used Al's soil mix... I will post a picture later...

What type of fertilizer do these plants like?

    Bookmark   February 9, 2009 at 3:34PM
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jeelli(5/6 CT)

Jim- Thank You again- I had NO idea they were related to Hoyas. I have two of those as well, and they are (in a western facing powder room) flourishing. I don't water them anywhere as much as my other plants. Maybe "ignoring" the Stephanotis will do the trick. I have moved them in front of my basement sliders. It's cooler down there- 60, ever so slightly drafty, and they get western sun. They seem to be holding their own- no leaves have dropped since! There looks to be a few areas that look like they'll be putting out new growth- so I'm crossing my fingers!!!
Winter sucks, but I can feel the sun getting stronger- just a week or so ago I thought everything was in decline, but now my Jasmine are all putting out growth, I'm getting flowers- ah! The light at the end of the tunnel!
Puglover- I almost bought a Stephanotis at Logee's- in flower- but I didn't...though I still might....

    Bookmark   February 12, 2009 at 1:30PM
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