Stephanotis


Stephanotis floribunda

Top Tips

  • Keep the soil evenly moist, allowing the top third to dry out in between irrigations. Avoid the use of cold water whilst in bloom.
  • Avoid more than one hour of direct sunlight in the summer months.
  • Supplement using a potassium-based whilst in the development of budding and flowering, before switching to a nitrogen-based feed for quality foliar growth.
  • Reduce the temperature and amount of irrigations during late winter to mid-spring for the replication of its dormancy period.

∙Water - 🔸🔸

During the active growth in spring and summer, allow only the top third of the soil to dry out. It's important not to present persistent droughts due to the heightened chance of foliar or flower loss. Once the plant enters its dormancy period in winter, allow the majority to dry out and remove any excess water from beneath its pot. Whilst the plant is in bloom, it's important not to use cold water as this will quickly shock the roots, causing multiple issues down the line. Under-watering symptoms include rapid flower loss and dry, sunken leaves; these issues are usually due to either forgetfulness, too much sunlight or too much heat. Over-watering symptoms include rotting lower leaves, yellowing leaves, a loss of buds or flowers, and root rot. Allow the majority of the soil to dry out in between waters, preventing a pool of standing water to accumulate beneath the pot. For more severe cases, remove the plant from its pot and check for root rot. Remove the affected roots and some of the soggy soil, replacing it with a fresh batch of Houseplant compost in the original container.


∙Humidity - 🔸🔸

Stephanotis require high humidity, all year round to develop quality growth. Mist the foliage weekly whilst the heaters are on, or introduce a humidity tray during this time. Get a saucer that's ideally wider than its pot, and fill with stones - pour water until the top centimetre stays dry. Place the plant onto the bed, making sure that the standing water doesn't touch the bottom of the pot.

Do not mist the flowers as this will cause botrytis petal blight that can spread quickly if not dealt with accordingly. Never situate this plant within three metres of an operating radiator as it will cook both the plant and the surrounding air moisture. 


∙Location & Light - 🔸🔸🔸

Avoid direct sunlight in the summer months, proving a splash of direct rays in the winter. A brightly lit setting whilst the plant is actively growing will heighten the chance of flowering and foliar growth. A dark location that offers no sufficient light must be avoided - if you can't read a newspaper without artificial lighting, it'll be too dark for a Stephanotis, too.

Location - Place this on, or within two metres of a north-facing window if you tend to under-water plants. A metre away from an east or west-facing windowsill is the ideal location for good quality growth over the year. During the winter, provide a cool  (12°C,  54°F)  and bright area, possibly with a splash on sunlight - a heated conservatory or south-east facing window is ideal.


∙Fertilisation - 🔸🔸

Use a fertiliser high in potassium to prolong its flowers during the festive period - an excellent example would be Tomato Feed. Regular fertilisers will still do the job but will favour foliar growth instead. For the rest of the year, a standard fertiliser can be used to supplement the plant, once a month.


Once opened, a Stephanotis flower can last up to ten days in full bloom.


Common Issues with Stephanotis

Sudden flower loss can be caused by an array of different issues, including an change in location, too little hydration, too hot or cold temperatures, or droughts and pests. Whilst the plant is in bloom, keep the soil evenly moist to hydrate the thirsty work of producing flowers. Locations that are outside of the recommended temperature bracket, or have drastic fluctuations must also be kept off the cards, as Stephanotis can be very sensitive to the ambient warmth that they're situated in. Too warm temperatures during the autumn and winter months will result in a badly served dormancy, thus leading to poor flowers - scroll down to the next section for more information on this. The final issue could be to do with pests. Although it's highly unlikely that an infestation will cause a sudden change in health, have a quick inspection for scaleaphids and mealybugs.

A lack of flowers is caused by a insufficient dormancy period, served in the winter months. Locations that offer near-similar temperatures all year round won't allow the plant to go dormant, resulting in poor spring growth. To achieve, situate in a location that dips to around 12°C  (54°F) with fewer waters. Allow the majority of the compost to dry out and provide a humidity tray while the radiators are operating. 

Persistent droughts while it's blooming should be avoided. Typical signs of this include wilting, sunken leaves, rapid flower or bud drop and stunted growth. Not only will you have to be mindful of persistent droughts, think about which plant parts to keep dry. Its foliage must also remain dry at all times to prevent the development of diseases and blights. Those situated in direct sunlight or within four metres of a radiator are more likely to suffer from under-watering related issues. If the flowers suddenly drop off, increase waters and supplement with a potassium-based feed.

Too much sunlight will lead to sun scorch, with typical signs including browning or crispy leaves, dry leaf-edges, sunken leaves or stunted growth. Although too little light will cause over-watering issues, too much sunlight will be a detriment, too. Unfortunately, Stephanotis cannot tolerate more than two hours of direct sunlight a day in summer. If yours has fallen short of this, reduce the amount of sunlight considerably and always be mindful of environmental shock (when too locations offer too different growing conditions). Remove some of the affected leaves and increase waters slightly. A splash of morning or evening winter sun will be highly beneficial for this plant, as long as it's sat in good soil moisture.

As mentioned before, powdery mildew and botrytis are major threats among heavy foliage plants due to the compact nature that aids the spread of the diseases. Watering above the foliage will allow excess moisture to sit in the cubbyholes of the stem, enticing harmful bacteria to thrive. Remove the affected areas and improve the growing conditions by situating the plant in a brighter location with the use of the bottom-up method of irrigation.

Never situate a Stephanotis within four metres of an operating heat source, for instance a radiator or fireplace. Due to the heightened temperature, the plant will soak up far more moisture than those situated in cooler locations, increasing the chance of droughts and inevitable death. This genus cannot cope with persistent dry soil or air; you're skating on thin ice if it starts to wilt. 

Pests could also be an issue, especially mealybugs. Especially before purchasing, have a quick scan over the plant's foliage and flowers, inspecting its cubbyholes for those white critters. If your specimen has fallen foul of pests, click on the appropriate links to learn more about treatment, as well as observing what they look like. 




Dormancy Care & Annual Flowers

Trying to re-flower an Stephanotis isn't the easiest of tasks, but those that have a cool room without artificial light at night will be on the upper-hand. Repotting isn't usually mandatory if you want it to re-bloom - in fact, this may hurt the chances. Only repot every two to three years and after the blooming has finished. To get it to flower in the cooler months, think back to its previous dormancy period served in the spring. To help navigate you through this period, think of the acronym SHORT - the main ingredients for a successful show of flowers. The following steps should be done during autumn, when the plant enters its dormancy. 

Sunlight

Be sure to provide a bright location with a splash of sunlight throughout this period. Although excessive winter sunlight won't necessarily hurt the plant, you can easily fall in the trap of under-watering, potentially weakening it. Avoid the use of artificial lighting during the night.

Hydration

Reduce irrigations so that the majority of the soil becomes dry. Do not apply cold water to the soil as it could shock the roots.

Occasional Feeds

While it's bloom, use a Tomato fertiliser to provide a nourishment of potassium. During the dormancy period, only supplement once or twice to carry it through until the following spring, using a general houseplant fertiliser. 

Reduce Everything

This one is to remind you that everything needs to be reduced - especially the temperature.

Temperature

This is the most significant step - keep the temperature within 12 - 15℃  (53 - 59℉) throughout autumn and winter, until buds form in the spring. It'll be highly unlikely for a Stephanotis to sufficiently bloom when the ambient temperatures are kept the same all year around, so we can't empathise the importance of temperature.




Origins

Stephanotis is a genus consisting of perrenial plants that originates from Madagascar, Cuba and Eastern Asia. It was first described back in 1806 by Frenchman, Louis-Marie du Petit-Thouars, who brought live specimens back to France shortly after. The name, Stephanotis, comes form the Greek word for 'crown', which refers to the flower shape and ability to inter-twine around circular trellis.


Temperature

10°C - 25°C   (50° - 78°F)
H1c - can be grown outdoors in spring and summer in a sheltered location, but is fine to remain indoors. If you decide to bring this houseplant outdoors, do not allow it to endure more than an hour of direct sunlight a day as this will burn the leaves. Regularly keep an eye out for pests, especially when retrieving the plant back indoors. 

Stephanotis thrive in warm, humid locations and generally will flower much better if a good dormancy is served in the winter when the temperature dip to 12°C  (54°F).


Spread

Up to 2m in height and width, when trained up trellis or support brackets. The ultimate height will take between 5 - 8 years to achieve.


Pruning

Remove yellowed or dying leaves and plant debris to encourage better growth and improve the all-round appearance. Pruning must be done with clean scissors or shears to reduce the chance of bacterial and fungal diseases; remember to make clean incisions as too much damage can shock the plant.

Prune the leading and lateral growths back to the main stem after flowering. Do not prune in the spring due to the heightened chance of removing the buds.


Propagation

Via seed or stem cuttings. To learn about the critical essentials with sowing seeds, be sure to click on this link - Seed Propagation Tips

For stem cuttings, use shoots that have a soft, bendy wooded base that haven't flowered; this propagation method can be taken in at the end of spring. They should be at least 8cm  (3 inches)  in length and are found in the outer edge of the plant where the new growth takes place. Remove the lower half of the leaves, dip the wound in a rooting hormone and place in a well-draining potting mix - Seed & Cuttings Compost is advised. Keep the cuttings in a transparent bag to maintain high humidity. While the plantlet is still young, avoid direct sunlight and water-logging and repot as necessary, once the roots have surpassed 2cm in length. This method can be quite difficult, so be sure to take a few cuttings with differing variables to see which suits your skills the best.

N. B. - Air-layered cuttings can be taken during this period, by placing the 8cm stems in a transparent to maintain high humidity. Do not offer direct sunlight or allow the temperatures to dip below 15°C  (59°F). 


Flowers

Stephanotis will flower between spring and summer if served with a good dormancy the winter. Each individual flower will last up to ten days, with the overall show lasting up to six to eight weeks. Supplement the plant using a fertiliser high in potassium to prolong its flowers - Streptocarpus or Tomato feeds are an excellent choice.


Repotting

Repot every year or two using Houseplant compost with added perlite or grit at the start of summer.  For matured specimens, introduce more grit to promote a stronger root ball as well as the reduction of potential root rot; click on this link for more information on how to perform the perfect transplant. Never repot whilst the plant is budding or in bloom.


Diseases & Pests

Common diseases with Stephanotis are root rot, powdery mildew, leaf-spot disease, botrytis petal blight and powdery mildew. Keep an eye out for scale, whitefly, spider mite, thrips, aphids & mealybugs. For more info on how to address any of these issues, hit this link.  Identifying Common Houseplant Pests & Diseases


Toxicity

Considered highly poisonous if consumed by pets and humans. If high quantities are eaten, it may result in vomiting, nausea and a loss of appetite.


Retail Locations

Some florists or garden centres & Online Stores.

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