It is better known by the name of jasmine from Madagascar, but his real name is Stephanotis. It is a particularly decorative climbing plant that is often used for trellises or walls, for its leaves and also for the flowers, beautiful as well as fragrant. To make it grow better it is necessary tie it to a support, because even if it calls itself a climber, it has neither tendrils nor other organs that can help it to attach itself to the walls or vertical surfaces to which it is asked to adhere.
Her leaves are deep green, consistent and thick, shiny and always paired, while the flowers sprout from spring throughout the summer in clusters at the axil of the leaves. They are white, have a tubular shape, a waxy texture and smell a lot. There is also the fruit of this plant but it is not edible, it matures in a year and contains many seeds.
Stephanotis, in truth, is the name of a genus of plants belonging to the Apocynaceae family, there are some from Madagascar and others from some countries of Southeast Asia.
Looking after the Stephanotis is not that difficult but it is necessary to take into account that it is plants of tropical origin therefore get used to hot and humid climates, different from the Mediterranean one in which we live.
We always try to guarantee you a environment not too cold, this means that in winter we must not go below 13 ° C for too long, while in summer and spring we can stay around 21 ° C or at higher temperatures, but not too much.
Stephanotis must stand in the light but does not like direct sunlight, we can also place it outdoors if we don't live in too cold areas, letting it climb walls or racks.
This is a plant that must always be watered a lot, especially in summer, it is very important that it is in a soil that is always humid, while avoiding the formation of water stagnation. If possible, it is better to use rainwater or demineralized water, as the limestone could damage it.
As the plant grows, it should be repotted, about every year, towards the beginning of the summer, in gradually larger pots and with a fertile soil mixed with coarse sand which favors the drainage of irrigation water and avoids water stagnation.
Wanting to fertilize the Stephanotis, the right time is spring, obtaining a liquid fertilizer to be mixed with the irrigation water every 15 days without exaggerating and only for a continuous period of time. The plant blooms in spring, in white, so to prune it it is necessary to act in early spring for remove the stems that have stretched excessively and cutting them not at the base.
The Stephanotis multiplies by cutting. The cuttings should be taken in spring, from the ends of the stems, about 10 centimeters long, cutting immediately under the node, with a oblique cut in order to have a greater surface for rooting.
The lower leaves should be removed with a clean knife and then they are ready for use, with the cut part sprinkled with a rhizogenic powder which favors rooting. The cuttings must be placed in a soil formed by three parts of fertile soil and one of coarse sand by making holes with a depth of 1.5-2 cm.
In total, about 15 species belong to this genus but the most widespread and commercialized is the Stephanotis floribunda. Comes from Madagascar and sports beautiful green and fleshy leaves that can measure up to 10 centimeters, with an oval shape and a central rib that stands out in light green. This plant, like others of the same genus, blooms in spring and produces flowers all summer, in white and fragrant clusters.
When the plant is subjected to excessive changes in temperature, it suffers a lot: the leaves turn yellow and the flowers fall. It is important not to stress it from a climatic point of view. It can also happen that the yellow leaves are due to an attack of brown cochineal or mealy cochineal. In this case, you can act with a cotton swab soaked in alcohol to remove the cochineal, or by simply washing the plant with soap and water, rubbing the leaves to chase away parasites.
When the spots that appear on the leaves are brown, it could be the fault of the red spider which mainly damages the lower part of the leaves, even leaving some cobwebs. Him and others mites they are terrible enemies for the Stephanotis, we can try to protect them by increasing the environmental humidity around the plant.
The name of this kind of fragrant plants comes from the Greek stephanos which means "crown", and otos which means "ears". One might think that it is because its flowers were often used to make crowns, but there is also a claim that the name is linked to the particular appendages found in the stem crown. In the case of the Stephanotis Floribunda, Floribunda derives from the Latin floribundus, meaning “rich in flowers”.
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