Stephanotis – Trellis Plant, Fragrant Tubular White Flower Clusters

stephanotis floribunda in flower

Summary: Stephanotis, long time favorite, fragrant, bridal flower, has grown in popularity as a spring-time patio plant grown on a trellis and hanging basket, but little care information has been available – read more.

The Stephanotis has grown in popularity over the past few years along with some of the other spring flowering vines like Mandevillea.
We’ve received many requests for care information on the Stephanotis vine, but sadly, have not found much cultural information available.

Stephanotis – The Description

Stephanotis floribunda, the Madagascar jasmine, is better known as the “bride’s flower,” or “Bridal Veil vine.” A wiry twiner with opposite, oblong, thick, glossy deep green leathery leaves.

The clusters of tubular flowers, most abundant in June, are waxy white and deliciously fragrant, and commonly used in bridal bouquets, hence the name “Bridal Veil Vine”.

Bridal Veil Quick Culture Tips

Light, sunny to semi-sunny. Temperature, average house. Humidtiy, 30% or more. Soil, equal parts loam, sand, peat moss, and leaf mold; keep evenly moist at all times.

Feed biweekly using a soluble food like miracle gro plant food in spring, summer, and fall; withhold food, reduce amount of watering slightly, and lower temperature in winter. Propagate by cuttings of half-matured stems in spring; keep warm and in high humidity until roots form.

Growing The Trellised Stephanotis

We often find the Stephanotis vine grown as a potted trellised plant, although I have seen the plant grown as a basket. Stephanotis can have a tendency to grow all over the place. To produce a compact plant it is recommended that you prune and train around the supporting trellis or basket.

Stephanotis Loves Light

The Bridal Veil enjoys a lot of light especially in the winter months when light levels are low. In the summer months provide as much light as you can, however, it may be necessary to give some light shade from the direct hot sun.

fragrant stephanotis flower

When the wonderfully deliciously fragrant scented flowers appear do not turn or rotate your plant as the flowers have a tendency to drop off.

Well Drained Soil Required

As with many tropicals use a well-drained soil. If you are going to repot, remember these plants can be very sensitive to over watering.

When the plants are in full growth (summer time) water moderately and sparingly during the winter. You are more likely to harm your plant from over-watering it than under-watering.

The real beauty of this plant is the scented white flowers against the deep green leaves. Stephanotis is very responsive to warm temperatures, good, fertile, well-drained soil, and requires a minimum of 55 degrees.

Fertilizing Stephanotis

My thoughts have been expressed on fertilizing plants indoors; outdoors it is altogether different. Flowering forces the plant to use up a lot of food, so a good well balanced fertilizer will help in keeping the plant(s) healthy and flowering longer.

The Stephanotis has not been in the marketplace very long, and one question we get as winter approaches has to do with winterizing the Stephanotis. We would like to hear from anyone who has successfully over wintered his or her Stephanotis.

This isn’t just staying alive but bringing it back into flower the next year. I suspect that the Stephanotis vine will over-winter better than a mandevilla.
stephanotis seed pod

Propagating The Bridal Veil Vine

Stephanotis is produced from cuttings and seed. The seedpod reaches the size of a medium to large pear and remains on the vine for over 6 months before the seeds are ready for harvest. You will not see an abundance of seedpods on a vine. In fact, in over 30 years I have only seen 5 pods produced on a rather large vine. This page has some good photos on the seed pod.

Seeds germinate readily in warmth and humidity. I have rooted cuttings a few times, but here is the advice of experts. Cut stem tips with three or four joints, from half-ripe wood, in spring. Root in peat and coarse sand, with humidity and warmth (70 degrees).

Popular Greenhouse Addition

This twining tropical vine and thick, glossy, waxy oval leaves and of course summer clusters of small waxy fragrant flowers makes for a perfect greenhouse subject in the North, and in the south when grown over a trellis and other supports.

The vine needs warmth (65 degrees minimum) and moisture during the bud-setting season. Provide full sun except in midsummer heat. And keep it slightly cooler and drier during the winter rest period. Soil should be extra rich in humus. Prune after flowering, in early fall.

Family: Asclepiadaceae
Common Name: Madagascar Jasmine

Photo Credits: Stephanotis floribunda flower: Tsheko | Seed Pod: L. marie

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

karen shaw June 19, 2010 at 7:43 am

Good Morning,

I enjoyed reading your article and wanted to say that although I probably have an unfair advantage living in the Caribbean, I have two of these plants side by side in huge pots on our back deck that have been growing like crazy for about a year and a half but have produced several seed pods to date.
When I saw the first one I didn’t know what it was so asked at our local nursery that told me pretty much the same as your article in that they were pretty rare. I left it on the vine for only about 3 months and tried to plant the whole thing in soil. Nothing happened of course!
The second one which was kind of hidden among all the greenery turned brown and broke open and spread little seeds with a cottony white tuft of them all over the place. I did not try to germinate as my husband suggested as it seemed like too much work.
I now have at least 3 more pods/fruits as I call them growing on the plants. I wonder if they are cross polinating each other?

Kind Regards,

Cary Peterson June 21, 2010 at 8:04 pm

Re overwintering Stephanoitis, mine from last summer is in full bloom again right now. It wintered on a heated, but cool 60-65, sunroom where almost everything seems to do quite well. This year I am trying to root some cuttings, as all my friends want one. They are really spectacular in bloom.

Irene June 22, 2010 at 9:09 am

re: Stephanotis – over-wintering
I’ve had this plant for about 4 years and it always blooms every summer. We live in Norfolk, Virginia – high humidity, hot summers and this plant thrives!! Winter time will find my Stephanotis peeking out through our back door (facing east) and getting water sparingly (maybe twice) during the cold months.. just enough to keep it alive. Absolutely no plant food. I have a housefull of plants but if I had to pick only one to keep it would be my Stephanotis.

joann olenechuk July 1, 2010 at 2:29 pm

I work in a florist and recieved stephanotis plants for spring last year . the plants were wintered over in my shop with only water and lost quite a few leaves. I brought the last one home in the beginning of june after transplanting into african violet soil with a time release plant food to which i supplemented with miracle grow . it has produced three flowers so far im hoping for more. ive given it a south eastern exposure It seems happy

Cora Arquisola July 2, 2010 at 3:04 pm

I was so happy to say that I have two (2) stephanotis that I was able to
grow and flowers are back this year. You are right – watering has never
been an issue for these plants. Flowers are even bigger than last year.

George Collins July 5, 2010 at 9:41 am

I have had a stephanotis for about four years and have kept it successfully in my greenhouse in the winter. I had two very large seed pods last year and found the seed production to be fascinating. Each seed has its own little parachute to deliver it to the ground. The plant seems to be very vulnerable to scale and requires regular spraying in the winter.

bill martin July 7, 2010 at 1:21 pm

I have had a stephanotis plant outdoors for the past four years here in JaƩn, Spain (Andalusia) where the summer temperatures reach 120F and down to 30F in winter. The leaves stay green through the winter and begin to yellow and fall off in early spring.I fertilize after the blooms drop and as winter approaches slowly decrease fertilizer and let the soil become only slightly dry in winter. I have it in a pot near the front east facing door and it receives a lot of light. I have had it bloom at least three times during the year. In spring when the leaves fall, after adding a good scoop of humus, I cut the obvious deadwood back, but not too severe. It is about 4 feet tall and stays bushy throughout the summer/fall.I have tried training it on a column and wall, but it seems to prefer to intertwine on itself.

Liz July 8, 2010 at 5:24 am

We have successfully overwintered our Stephanotis. It was looking dead after last summe with the leaves turning brown and falling off. We moved it into the kitchen where the temperature is cooler and the air is damper. On the windowsill it recieved very bright light, especially the low morning sun. We fed it every two weeks with tomato food.
Since the start of the spring it has trebbled in size and now has 9 flower heads on it. We have left it in the kitchen.

Peter Rayner July 8, 2010 at 9:50 am

Help!!! I found a couple of large stephanotis in full flower at a local nursery at such a good price so I bought them and chucked them into the garden against some pergola supports. They are obviously very happy as they are growing rampantly! However, One of the vines has produced 2 ‘ pears’ as mentioned in your article, and I need to know what to do with them . I understand that they will be on the vine for 6 months or so, but will they tell me when they are ready to be removed? will they ‘ ripen’/ go brown/?
I am very intrigued and want to be able to harvest the seeds. Any advice would be most apperciated.
thanks you.

Jim Buck July 10, 2010 at 10:45 am

I have overwintered a stephanotis for five-six years placing it in a southern bay window in Portland Oregon, but one with three panes of glass that are solar treated so it doesn’t get the heat of the sun. I have had it blossom the following summer but not with the same intensity as the first year. I have not had it outside for four years but it continues to produce blooms. I found that channeling the vines differently than where the plant wants to send them can cause them to wither. Changing the soil in the pot every couple of years helps restore the plant as well.


John Crompton July 21, 2010 at 12:09 am

Dear sir/madam

I live in Cyprus and planted a stephanotis plant 2 years ago. The soil here is red coloured and not that great. We planted the Stephanotis when it was about 1foot in height in a part shady area. We just watered it and left it. It now cascades down the steps which go up to the sun terrace of the villa. We have now got two seed pods and they are pear shaped and when we discovered them they were solis. Now after 6 months the seedpod is turning yellow and is getting a wrinkled and soft. Do we take the pood off and plant the seeds inside. The plant has been admired by our neighbours but we have not done a lot to it excpt water,feed and clean the leaves of greenfly.

Thank you

John & Joan Crompton

Ann M E Knapper July 21, 2010 at 8:05 am

My stephanotis has lived in my conservatory for about 4 years. with the cold and heat. Flowered well the first 2 years, then last year did not look happy, so unwound the plant, cut off bits that didnt look happy and this year it has flowered really well. Perfume beautiful. BUT I amk known for “slaughtering” all my plants – in and outside – but they always come back. Does this mean I DO have green fingers?

from Ann Knapper

sarah July 23, 2010 at 9:39 am

Ihave had my staphanotis on my balcony here on the Algarve for two and half years.It’s now producing flowers again but the leaves are starting to turn yellow and fall off.Anyone have any suggestions as to what may be wrong?No sign of any disease or insect infestation.

Jamie August 7, 2010 at 9:22 am

I received my first stephanotis this spring and is potted in my kitchen window. It is trained around a little trellis and seems to be very happy for its first year. It is a pretty small vine, but I now have 2 seed pods that have been growing for almost 2 months now. They are between golf ball and baseball size. One is starting to yellow and soften, but other is green and still growing. How do I know when the pods are ready? What do I do with them when they are?



Pamela Little August 23, 2010 at 6:39 pm

I have lots of new 5 month old stephonotis. I grew them from seed in my greenhouse. I live in Michigan and can’t keep them all…………..would like to sell some of them. If you are interested please contact me thru e-mail.
from Pam Little

Reg Balch September 7, 2010 at 12:21 pm

I live in Spain and have a stephanotis which produced two seed pods this summer . One ripened and burst I planted the seeds and I now have 65 seedlings which are growing well