Stephanotis (or Madagascar jasmine) was the favorite plant of Marilyn Monroe. The blooming does require a little care, but its elegant flowers that release such an incredible intense odor are worth the work!
A lucky charm plant native to Madagascar, from whence it was brought in the XIXth century, stephanotis is traditionally used in bridal bouquets.
If not guided along a trellis, it undulates in long sprawling vines that, if bunched together, remind onlookers of the bridal veil. They can also be used to braid magnificent crowns.
The white flowers, shaped like starry trumpets, release a subtle and warm smell, a blend of jasmine and lilies. This fragrance is highly sought after and is part of many famous perfumes, like Night of Fancy by Anna Sui, or Love of Pink by Lacoste.
Stephanotis, beautiful twining
Although the stephanotis flowers themselves are quite delicate, the leaves and stems, on the other hand, are very strong. To train them, they must be attached to a lattice that forms a hoop.
But if you simply let it run free and grow to it’s heart’s desire, you may get a spectacular surprise. Indeed, this miniature vine tends to attach to whatever is in reach, be it a shelf, a curtain, a frame on the wall…
Stephanotis, a somewhat fickle plant
To make your Stephanotis as happy as can be, place it near a window, in a luminous and drafty place, but not in direct sun.
During the blooming, your stephanotis will love being hydrated often, but it doesn’t like it when the roots wallow in water at the bottom of the pot. On top of regular watering, mist it with rainwater to re-create a moist atmosphere.
Stephanotis doesn’t like being moved around much. Once in place, don’t even rotate the pot: modifying exposure would make its floral buds fall off.
The blooming of Madagascar jasmine isn’t always easy to obtain. For it to happen, best is to subject the plant to a time of winter rest. During these darker months, keep the plant in a luminous but cool room, around 57°F (13°C), and step down on watering.
Image credits: FCH