By William Mills
A plant traditionally used in wedding bouquets is also an striking addition to the living room releasing a wonderful fragrance from its attractive flowers.
Stephanotis, native to tropical Madagascar, is an interesting plant to grow. Its lush deep green leaves create a backdrop to the bell shaped flowers which open into white stars.
In a rain forest Stephanotis would typically experience bright sunlight filtered by the dense canopy of surrounding trees. It would also be humid and warm with frequent rain showers.
Creating the right environment at home is always rewarding and simple enough if given sufficient thought.
Stephanotis likes a bright spot away from direct sunlight. We need to check the chosen spot for humidity and anything above 30% will suffice. The plant enjoys regular misting, which is usually best done over a sink, however this plant doesn’t like being moved around.
So take lots of care and the resulting aroma will be well worth the effort.
Stephanotis is a climbing plant which can be trained to grow up a wall or trestle. Given the right conditions it will reach heights of ten feet or more.
A word of warning about frosts. Even in May we can still experience cold snaps however they rarely last for more than a few hours. The damage to a plant is done by the frost reaching its roots. Ideally watch the weather forecast and bring them indoors if frost beckons. If this isn’t practical then wrap the plant pot with bubble wrap which acts as an excellent insulator.
Plants love being outside in the summer. If the closest one can get is an outside windowsill do remember that everything must be really secure as a summer gale can blow a heavy chimney pot off a roof, and even if a plant only falls a little way it can still cause injury and damage.