Houseplants come in all kinds and they each have their own specific properties. The Stephanotis or bridal flower is a plant genus from the Asclepiadaceae or silk plant family. For one species you need to have a green thumb, the other will survive without too much care.
There are air-purifying plants, hanging plants, air plants, succulents, and so on. They have one thing in common: they bring nature into your home. If you also want a wonderful scent in your living space, choose the Stephanotis or bridal flower, a houseplant with flowers that spread a heavenly perfume.
Plant Genus Stephanotis
The Stephanotis or bridal flower is a plant genus from the Asclepiadaceae or silk plant family. This is a family of dicotyledonous plants and is characterized by a wealth of shapes. This family includes the common plants with stems, leaves, and flowers, but also succulents or succulents, and liana plants.
The silk plants count 280 genera and 2000 flowering shrubs. So one of those plant genera is Stephanotis with about 15 species of evergreen shrubs. The Stephanotis floribunda is the most cultivated species. This species is also known by the name Marsdenia floribunda.
The Stephanotis originates from the forests of Madagascar and can also be found in China, Japan, Malaysia, and the Caribbean. It is a tropical plant that naturally grows in an environment of humid heat. For a Stephanotis as a houseplant, you must take this into account and try to approach its original habitat as much as possible.
Meaning Of The Name
The name Stephanotis comes from the Greek words stephanos meaning crown or wreath and othos or ear. In ancient Greece, the plant was used to make flower crowns. The word ethos refers to the pistils that are shaped like an ear.
Today, the Stephanotis is often used in bridal bouquets, hence the Dutch name bridal flower. This wonderfully fragrant plant is a symbol of happiness and purity.
Description Of The Stephanotis
The Stephanotis or bridal flower is a garland plant with lianas that can grow up to 5 meters long in the wild. The oval-shaped leaves are dark green, leathery, and glossy with a lighter vein in the middle. They are about 8 cm long. The white tubular flowers contrast beautifully with the dark green foliage.
They grow in clusters that open into stars and have a waxy appearance. The scent of the flowers is truly heavenly, a bit like the scent of jasmine. The plant only starts to bear flowers after a few years. The flowering time is in spring and summer.
Because the bridal flower is a vine, it must be trained. This can be done, for example, around a metal arch or around a moss pole. The plant can also wrap itself around a window or windowsill if you let it do its thing.
A Stephanotis requires a lot of light but no direct sunlight. Give the plant a warm and light spot, preferably in a well-ventilated room. In the summer it tolerates high temperatures and can possibly go outside, but here also shielded from direct sunlight. In winter, the plant should be in a cooler room.
However, the temperature should not fall below 13 °C. Avoid moving or turning the plant during the flowering period as this will cause it to drop buds and flowers in response.
In spring and summer, make sure that the potting soil always remains moist. Regular pouring is therefore the message! However, the water should not remain at the bottom of the pot because this plant does not like wet feet.
Good drainage is necessary, a pot with holes in the bottom is ideal. Misting is also allowed in the summer because the Stephanotis like humid heat. Do it with lime-free water, such as rainwater, and do not spray on the flowers. In autumn and winter, the plant needs a rest period and you have to limit watering. The potting soil may be almost dried out between two waterings.
The plant absolutely needs good drainage. That is why it is best to add some coarse sand to the regular potting soil.
In spring and summer, the Stephanotis can use some extra nutrition. Add liquid plant food to the irrigation water every two weeks. Choose a composition with nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, and microelements to promote growth and flowering.
At the end of winter/beginning of spring, the too-long stems can be cut off, but not to the base. Old, dry, and weak stems can also be removed. This way the plant retains its compact shape. Make sure you have a clean and sharp pruning blade. When pruning, milky juice will be released, but that can be staunched with cold water.
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The Stephanotis must be repotted every year in the spring, each time to a slightly larger pot. If it is in a pot with a diameter of 25 to 30 cm, it is sufficient to remove only the top 2 to 3 cm of potting soil and replace it with a mixture of fresh potting soil and coarse sand.
Propagation is done in the spring by cuttings. With a sharp, clean pruning knife, cut off a stem just below a node. Remove the leaves at the bottom and dip the stem in cold water to stem the milky juice that flows out. Then apply some cutting powder to promote root formation.
Fill a pot with a mixture of potting soil and sand, make a hole in the soil with a pencil, and insert the stem to a depth of 1.5 to 2 cm. Place the pot in a shady spot at a temperature of around 21 °C. Always keep the soil moist and use water at room temperature when watering. After 2 to 3 months, sprouts will appear, which means that the plant has formed roots. That is the moment when you can transplant the cutting into potting soil, in a pot with a diameter of 8 cm.
Diseases And Remedies
When the Stephanotis loses its beauty due to diseases or incorrect care, it is important to act quickly. With the right remedy, you can still save the plant!
- The Stephanotis is sensitive to aphids. You can fight them with alcohol or by removing the aphids with a sponge soaked in water and a neutral soap. Afterward, you have to rinse the plant well to remove the soap residue.
- Another common disease is spider mites. This is in fact an infection of mites and often happens in an environment that is too dry. Then give the plant more water and mist the leaves. If it really gets too bad, you can fight spider mites with acaricides.
- When the leaf turns yellow and the water remains on the surface after pouring, it means that the soil is not permeable enough. Remove the yellow leaves and repot the plant in a pot with holes at the bottom and use potting soil mixed with coarse sand.
- When the leaves show yellow and burnt spots, the plant is probably in direct sunlight. This can be solved simply by moving the plant or by filtering the sunlight with a curtain.
- The non-appearance of buds and flowers, the yellowing of the leaves, and the growing height of the Stephanotis indicate a lack of light. The plant should be moved to a bright spot.
- When the flowers fall off or when the plant has a very short flowering period, the leaves shrivel and fall off, the cause is a lack of water. It is best to immerse the root ball in a bath of lukewarm water (no longer than an hour). Then drain well.