UCCE Master Gardeners of Orange County
University of California
UCCE Master Gardeners of Orange County


Stephanotis floribunda

Stephanotis floribunda
Stephanotis floribunda is an evergreen vine that will grow 15 to 30 feet tall in the right conditions. It has wonderfully fragrant blossoms that are often used in floral bouquets and leis. Stephanotis blooms in late spring through summer in Southern California.

Stephanotis floribunda thrives in moist, crumbly, fertile soil that drains well. To promote growth, amend the soil prior to planting. Incorporate organic matter such as peat moss, well-rotted manure or compost to the planting site and mix well. It will grow well in a soil-based potting mix or a half peat moss, half soil mix.

Stephanotis is native to Madagascar, a tropical island, so Stephanotis is accustomed to a humid environment. Mist regularly with a fine-headed spray, preventing the roots from sitting directly in water, but allowing the plant to receive the humidity as the water evaporates.

Plant the vine in a spot exposed to full sun in the garden. Stephanotis floribunda thrives in areas that receive six or more hours of direct sunlight every day, although the vine benefits from partial afternoon shade during months of extreme summer heat. Lack of proper light adversely affects flower production and causes premature leaf drop.

Install a sturdy trellis into the ground behind the vine to support it. A wood, metal or sturdy bamboo lattice trellis distributes the weight of the vine while encouraging it to grow upward.

Water the plant frequently during the growing season and summer months to encourage healthy blooms, and keep the soil evenly moist. Reduce watering during the winter, allowing rainfall to provide the only source of water to the plant. Over-watering stephanotis floribunda, especially during the colder months, increases susceptibility to fungal diseases.

Mulch the soil around the plant to reduce weed problems and help the roots retain moisture. Spread a 2- to 3-inch-thick layer of organic mulch around the plant, but 3 to 4 inches away from the main stem.

Feed stephanotis floribunda a slow-release, well-balanced fertilizer during the summer. Avoid fertilizing the plant during the winter.

Prune the plant at the end of winter or in early spring to maintain its size and encourage bushier growth. Use a sharp, sterilized pair of pruning shears to make straight cuts 1/2 inch above a pair of alternate leaves on the stem, so a new bud develops over the area to serve as the vine tip. Remove dead, damaged or diseased parts and clear out any tangles. Avoid pruning vigorously as that can delay flowering.


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