The Madagascar Jasmine, like its relations in the same genus, is a flowering plant of the vine variety. It is a climber. Blooms of the Madagascar Jasmine are shaped like trumpets and the plan is evergreen. The plant is robust and climbs with an invigorating capacity. Stems are hardy and leaves are a very dark shade of green. Uniquely, leaves are sturdy and feel a lot like leather. Thriving well in tropical conditions, the flower is native to the African country of Madagascar. The vine of the plant grows to heights of 2 to 6 meters, and can manage its growth in the sunshine or indoors. Typically, it is grown as a garden vine as it can spread freely and looks very appealing. In cool climates, it grows on a sunny window ledge, but come summer, it will have to be moved into the bright light of the sun.
In more ways than one, the Madagascar Jasmine is a showstopper of sorts. It will draw your attention to it, even if other colorful plants are in the vicinity. It has a truly mesmerizing fragrance that is used in the perfume industry to the fullest. Its height gives it the attention it deserves!
The botanical name or genus of the Madagascar Jasmine is called stephanotis. Derived from the Greek words for crown (stephanos) and ear (otis), the plants in this family (Dogbane family) are all vines, evergreen in nature. Stems are woody and thick in all these plants. Strangely, the name is such because of the way the stamens in every flower are shaped. This is the most famous of the species and is used extensively. Other plants you will recognize of the same genus are oleander.
Madagascar Jasmine is called stephanotis floribunda by its full botanical name. The Madagascar Jasmine is commonly seen at weddings. It has great value as an ornamental flower. The flower has a strong and intoxicating scent and the flowers look pure and white. The flower is soft, but wax-like, and the leaves are like leather to the touch. This is why it is referred to as the Waxflower, Bridal Veil or the Hawaiian Wedding Flower. People love to use the flowers in wedding bouquets and for decor at weddings. Since it is a vine, it tends to hang down quite elegantly and may drape areas well. It is also used as a corsage and worn as such.
Growing the Flower
Seeds of the flower are as huge as mangoes. When the flowers bloom, they grow in clusters of white star-shaped flowers. Being a large and tall vine, the plant needs its space. It makes a lovely companion plant for lanai, but both plants need room to flourish. For the Madagascar Jasmine to grow properly, it should ideally develop on a trellis. Being as overwhelming as it is, especially as it grows to its full height, it requires adequate support. This is why the plant is difficult to grow indoors, unless it is in a greenhouse. As the flowers age, they tend to turn a pale yellow.
Tending to the Plant
While it is growing, the plant needs indirect light if its inside. For that heady scent, it needs just the right amount of sun to make your senses tingle. Outside, it enjoys full sunshine and partial shade as well. Too much sun can burn its flowers and too little can turn them yellow. During spring and summer, it grows well in temperatures that range from 65 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Cooler fall and winter temperatures are tolerable too, but if it gets too cold, the blooms will drop off at the budding phase.
When the flower blooms, Madagascar Jasmine has to have humidity all around. This should ideally be at around 70 percent. In dry climates, you can mist the plant, but don’t wet flowers too much. Its a good idea to use distilled water if you live in a hard water area. Acidic soil is a must for Madagascar Jasmine. Hard water may alter the chemical composition of the soil over time and the flower’s survival will be compromised. If you can, use rain water that you can collect. It is naturally acidic and you won’t have to modify it to water the plant. Soil acidity should be in the range of 5.6 to 6.5 pH. Test the soil before you consider planting the flower in an outdoor space.
Repotting the Plant
Soil should be ideally drained and you can add sand to it to improve drainage conditions. In this manner, rot forming on the root will also be avoided. As the Madagascar Jasmine grows larger and taller, it will need re-potting to adjust its growth. Even if it slips your mind, your plant can adapt to a small pot, but at some point, it will feel the strain. Standard fertilizers work well with this plant.
The Madagascar Jasmine is a large-sized wonder. Outdoors, it needs a trellis, frame or stakes to support itself. The plant shouldn’t be exposed to very strong winds. Hopefully, it will adapt to being around other plants as well. If you have pets, don’t worry, the Madagascar Jasmine is not poisonous. Its relatives, nonetheless, are toxic plants.
Other Useful Information
On occasion, the plant may produce large fruit. You may not catch a glimpse of it as it looks just like the leaves of the plant and is the same size. It gets camouflaged well. It is about the size of an avocado. Cutting it shows you interesting elements inside. The outer layer is thick and fleshy. Inside that, seeds are arranged in layers on a central core. On every seed is a tuft of soft fuzz. The seeds that are layered look like fish scales. The fruit isn’t recommended as edible. Its best to keep children and pets away from the seeds.
Growing the plant can be a bit of a challenge, because some plants can be slow to bloom. The primary solution to this is to get the plant into as close as its natural environment as you can. If it doesn’t bloom in the summer, try placing it in cool conditions and see if that works. This trigger may lead it to bloom in the following season. The temperature, soil and light have to be just so for this flower to show up. Everything must be “just right” as Goldilocks would say. You will be rewarded with a handsome plant that will justify all the effort you took in its care.