My Early Valentine's Gift...Stephanotis!

puglvr1(9b central FL)February 9, 2009

Just wanted to ask for some tips on how to grow this?

Stephanotis Floribunda...(Madagascar Jasmine)

It's an early Valentine's Gift, I have been wanting one

for a while ever since I saw some pictures of their blooms. Took me a while to finally get one, and I'm pretty excited!!

It was in a 3 gallon black nursery very soggy wet peat soil, so I repotted it in 10"(already had a trellis). Used Al's soil Mix...

I heard they are very fragrant, I first assumed it was related to gardenia or Jasmine, but found out it was closer to a Hoya. If that's the case...should I care for it about the same way?

What is a good fertilizer for it? Morning sun, afternoon shade okay?

Thanks for any help...appreciate it!

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jeelli(5/6 CT)

Puglover- Your Stephanotis is GORGEOUS!!!

(I put mine in the cooler basement per Jim's advice- I think they'll live!)
I keep mine dry, and they seem to do well facing east in the summer- I noticed western exposure caused sun burn. This winter they'd been in south facing windows (the sun isn't too strong during the winter), although now they're facing west, due to the basement move.
I fertilize all of my plants lightly using Electra- Gro, alternating with fish emulsion spring and fall, they all get epsom salts maybe monthly, and they're all doing fine. During the summer I alternate the Electra-Gro with bloom booster. Not sure if it's the right thing to do...

I hope yours blooms! Mine are seed grown- 2 years old I think, so I've got to wait, but yours look ready to go!!
(I need to learn about photobucket, so I can share pics)

    Bookmark   February 12, 2009 at 1:16PM
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puglvr1(9b central FL)

Thanks Jen :o)

I do love it and hope it flowers in Spring! It certainly looks big/mature enough to do so...Thanks for tips, since I live in Fl it will live outside 9o% of the time. I will put it under a palm tree so it gets morning sun and afternoon shade. I will treat it as a hoya as I have quite a few of those.

I think it says it can take temps no colder than 50? Does anyone know if that is correct? Hopefully that is true...

Thanks again,

    Bookmark   February 12, 2009 at 6:18PM
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that is shweeeet! Yes, they can take temps down into the 50s -- if they are dry!! You'll have to be careful about winter rain if it's outside, not just because of root rot risk (say that 5 times fast) but because a dry spell in winter is really important to set those buds for spring. Go easy on the fertilizer, and like hoyas, they bloom best in well-drained soil and slightly potbound, so yours looks good to go!


    Bookmark   February 13, 2009 at 9:27PM
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Pug, BEAUTIFUL. Yes indeed, Steph flowers are fragrant.

The spring of 2004, Frank's Nursery had a table filled with Stephs. All were in bloom. Their scent was heavenly. Flowers smell similar to Jasmine, much stronger than Hoyas..For some reason I have difficulty detecting Hoya flowers. My nose has to be right up to the flowers, lol.

Last Sunday, I replied to, I think, Jeelii's thread, 'direct info from 2 plant books regarding Stephs'. it took 30 mins to type..My puter went dead! Everything lost..Rebooted, but no dice..all was gone. lol

Growing From Houseplants, by Rob Herwig: It's important Stephs stop growing in winter, so give it a dormancy at lower temps than the normal living room temps. Only then will the plant bloom well and stay healthy the following season. Fertilize once every two wks in summer and guide the long vines along a hoop or tie. If buds appear, do not rotate plant. Add less water and food toward fall, and keep cooler in Nov. At the end of winter, after flower buds have appeared, gradually increase temps. Blooms can be forced by artificial light and higher temps.
Much light, no direct sun. Grow warm in summer, cool in winter. Keep moderatly moist in growing season, dry in winter. Moderate to high humidity.

This is from Success With House Plant (binders) not book.
Both authors recommend staking or keeping plant staked/trellis.
Stephs can produce fruit..But only under perfect gh goes my plant..
The author states, Stephs are usually sold in Mar-May. Best grown East or West. (windows) at temps of 72F.
Once the plant is home, if in flower, unwrap carefully, so flowers are not disturbed.
When flowering is over: place in cool position, 60-65F. Aug-Dec: Be sparing with water. It doesnt matter if the leaves look a little wrinkled, a little drying encourages flowering. Jan-Mar: is the time for repotting if necessary. This is done only every second or third yr, and must be done carefully. Roots must not be damaged when you remove old soil. The new potting soil should consist of 25% coarse sand, 25% fine peat and 50% good plant soil. If outdoors, garden soil. Mar-Aug: When buds appear, the stephs can stand in its showplace once again.
Remember, plenty of light but not direct sunshine. Once it has started to flower, it must not be moved. Water w/non-alkaline water and give half-strength fertizer ever two wks.
Stephs can grow 16-32' in ideal conditions. It can grow 3' per year. In good conditions, flowering can last all summer long. Flowers smell simiar to jasmine.
Grows best in east or west windows, without strong direct sun. Summer temp should be 65-74F. Temps should be lower, about 60-65 in winter.
Stephs should never be allowed to dry when in flower and should be given fert with every watering. A daily misting with lime-free water is a good idea at the warmest time of the year..Do not feed in winter and be sparing with water.

Pug, it's funny. I have over 20 plant books, most discuss Stephs, but not-a-one mentions which fertilizer to use..For instance, some books state, use a flowering fert for 'x' plant, or all-purpose for 'x' plant, acid loving plants, C&S' fert, etc, but I can't find anything about Steps..what is it? lol..So, I've decided to use an all-purpose and alternate with flowering fertilizer during growing season..It looks like my Steph is leafing out, so soon it'll get, maybe a balanced fert???

Does anyone here have an older Steph that blooms yearly? If so, what type of fertlizer/s do you use?
My Steph was bought at Carol Wright Gifts, lol, in 1989/'s never once bloomed..Perhaps it needs more was getting fed once a month in late spring till late summer..too little? said yours is seed grown..Do you mean you sowed the seeds? I don't understand if there's a difference...

Pug, good luck...Toni

    Bookmark   February 14, 2009 at 2:32PM
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puglvr1(9b central FL)

Thanks Jim,

Luckily for me, winter is our dry season here in Fl...we get our wet weather in summer...May-Sept. On the occasional winter rain we get, I can always bring it inside. I have it in fast draining soil, so hopefully It will do okay in that. I will only use diluted fertilizers when I apply it.

Thanks for the tips and compliments! Hopefully I get blooms??

    Bookmark   February 14, 2009 at 2:37PM
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puglvr1(9b central FL)

Hey Toni,

Nice to see you!! You and I must have been posting close to the same time(5 minutes apart). I didn't see your post till I sent my response to Jim, lol...

Thanks so much for taking the time to type all that out for me...I will print it and keep it in my notebook for reference. I will just use the all purpose fertiilizer also for now, until someone posts otherwise, especially if they have had good success with their.

I can't wait to see "if" mine will bloom here in Fl...I'm really looking forward to smelling the flowers. I read that it smells wonderful. I'll keep you posted...

DH bought this for me from a local nursery...hopefully they gave it some dormancy, I guess come Spring I will know if it gives me some flowers? I just love getting plants instead of cut flowers for Valentine's Day...they last sooo much longer(most of the time, any way)unless I kill it with too much kindness,lol!

Thanks again for the great info you shared, really appreciate it!

    Bookmark   February 14, 2009 at 6:52PM
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golden_ca_2000(BC Canada)

Well this is my 3rd year with my Stephanotis. The first year I bought it in FULL flower - after it was done flowering I moved it to its new home - a East Garden window - just off my kitchen sink. The 2nd year I was surprised to see flowers. What I basically did was let it dry out in the winter (at one point I noticed my leaves were sort of wilting and I thought OH no and watered her a little) (I guess I sort of forgot about her) . And because it is in my garden window it gets fairly cold in there in winter. I'd say it gets about 50 F maybe even colder once the blinds get shut and it is behind the blinds there. Anyways once february comes around I started fertilizing with my African violet fertiler.(schultz african violet fertilizer 8-14-9) And again this year - being its 3rd year doing the same things - again fertilizing with African violet fertilizer - I see again I am just starting to get flowers starting! I really think the colder area and the dryness helps. At least it has worked well for me.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2009 at 10:13PM
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puglvr1(9b central FL)

Thanks golden_ca!!

I will try the african violet fertilizer...I also have some of that in my thing I don't lack is the
many different types of fertilizer that I own. I need to start using up some of them. I only have one African Violet right now, so I have a lot of that fert. left. Thanks!!

    Bookmark   February 15, 2009 at 1:49PM
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jeelli(5/6 CT)

Hi Toni1 that info you put up is awesome- Thank You!

    Bookmark   February 15, 2009 at 2:37PM
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Hi Puglvr! Just wanted to stop in and congratulate you on your BOOOOTIFUL plant! I grew one from seed, it did grow, but I had it for 3 years and never flowered, then kicked off. I can't wait till it flowers for you!!

Happy Valentines day (belated, of course)!


    Bookmark   February 16, 2009 at 7:41PM
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puglvr1(9b central FL)

Thanks Mersiepoo...:o)

Appreciate the well wishes and compliment. Mersie, Could you do me a favor? Could you do some kind of chant or spell to make it bloom this spring, LOL...I really appreciate it!

I'll update "if" it blooms this spring/summer.

Happy belated Valentine's Day to you also!!

    Bookmark   February 17, 2009 at 12:11PM
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jeelli(5/6 CT)

Hi Puglover-
I just went to a Flower and Garden show in our beautiful state capital, and I bought a Stephanotis in bloom. It smells incredible! I've never smelled one before! I also got to smell a Plumeria- I've been growing these plants for the lure of fragrance, without knowing what was in store.

Now if I could learn to use photobucket, I'd post the pictures, but I seem to be missing something using the instructions on some of the Garden Web threads.

Toni- I never answered your question. My first two Stephanotis are grown from seed- I got the seeds from Thompson & Morgan. Out of the seeds I received, I had gotten only two to germinate. That's out of a lack of experience.

The info that you and Golden CA put up here is very helpful, so again, thank you.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2009 at 11:53AM
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puglvr1(9b central FL)

Hi Jeelli,

Congrats on your new Stephanotis!! I wish I can see mine bloom soon...I can't wait to smell them. Like you I have never smelled one of these before. Actually I just started noticing these plants on this forum not that long ago. I have wanted one since.

I use to live in Guam many years ago...where Plumeria trees grew those I was pretty familiar with. We use to make flower lei's (like they do in Hawaii), and they smelled heavenly!

I posted a link below(from the Fl forum)someone was nice enough to put some great intructions on posting pictures. Hope that helps...I would love to see your pictures!

    Bookmark   February 22, 2009 at 1:45PM
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I have purchased several stephanotis floribunda over the years. They are usually sold in pots which have become too small for them so I put each in a larger pot not long after purchasing. Almost immediately, the leaves begin to become dull and flat (not shiny) and become kind of spotted (yellow and greenish-yellow). Then they become all yellow and fall off.

With each attempt to make one of these plants survive, I have tried different strategies. Less water, to the point of dryness--same problem. More moist soil--same problem. Different soils--more peat, more perlite, less peat, whatever. Always the exact same situation.

Each one was in a south facing window in Maryland, with normal indoor temperature. Humidity never below about 45%.

I am not a clutz with plants. I have never had a plant which I have tried harder to please,and yet with more consistently baffling failure.

Any thoughts, speculation, suggestions, or just plain pity would be welcome.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2011 at 7:13PM
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My experience with stephanotis is a couple of monster vines at a nursery I worked for. Here's my thoughts:

Don't repot too soon, they actually like to be root-bound, and can rot if they get put in a big pot with too much room and soil that stays wet. Repot only in spring, after flowering, when the vine is making new growth.

Also, go easy with water and fertilizer after repotting until you see new growth.

General care, once you've got an established plant, is lots of sun and water in the summer, cooler and dry in the winter (no fertilizer) to help set buds.

Hope this helps!


    Bookmark   February 12, 2011 at 5:19PM
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This was such a helpful post. My Stephanotis plant is now three years old and has grown from a tiny twig to a good seven feet. I am hoping for blooms this year.

If I get lucky, I will post a photo.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2011 at 11:41AM
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Thank you, Jim. I appreciate the thoughts very much. I guess I'll see if it lives or dies. It's now in a smaller pot. I have always been super diligent to make sure it never got/stayed too wet.

Not many leaves left to fall off. But there is new life in several places, which has developed further since I bought it.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2011 at 6:54PM
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