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Stephanotis Vine Care

Stephanotis Vine Care

Stephanotis floribunda, aka Madagascar Jasmine or Hawaiian Wedding Flower, is one beautiful vine.  It has striking, dark glossy green foliage and heavenly scented, starry flowers grow in clusters which delight the olfactory senses.  How you care for it (in the outdoor world) is not difficult, but like any plant, there are a few things it requires.  


The attractive foliage is much like that of a Hoya – it looks tough but can burn in the sun. 

This twining vine is evergreen and can grow to reach 30′. It’s not particularly fast growing (slow but vigorous!) which is good because that means you don’t need to have at it constantly with the pruners. It does need a means of support to grow on and training to get it to do what you want.  The pictures below says it all.


This is my neighbor’s vine (planted about a year ago) which is now saying “bigger trellis please!”  You’ll see this plant in the video below.


 The new growth tendrils out wanting something to grab onto. It blooms on newer wood so prune lightly.  Here, late winter or early spring is a good time to prune to keep it in check.


This one is being trained with wire & eye hooks. Some of the new growth strays out – no way around that. This pic was taken in mid-November & it’s still blooming away.

There are quite a few of these vines around Santa Barbara and I would hazard a bet that none get too much pampering if any at all.  Here’s what I know:

*  Stephanotis likes nice bright light but no direct hot sun.

*  It’s hardy to around 39 degrees.

*  It doesn’t like dry air.  I live 7 blocks from the ocean so that’s why my neighbors’ vines do so well.

*  This vine is not drought tolerant – keep it evenly moist.

* It likes nice rich soil & will benefit from an application or 2 of nice, rich compost every year.

*  The roots need to be kept cool – the compost will help with that.  This is another reason to keep it out of hot sun.

*  As far as insects go, keep an eye out for mealy bug & scale.

As a houseplant (they are most often seen growing on a ring or small trellis), Stephanotis can be a bit tricky. In the winter our home tend to be kept dry and this plant likes humidity.  Another glitch, it likes cool temps in the winter time.  Fertilize it with fish emulsion, kelp or liquid seaweed at 1/2 strength during the growing season.

Here in Santa Barbara it flowers from the late Spring through early Winter.  This year has been sunny and very mild so the Stephanotis is still blooming away in January.  In days past this was the quintessential bridal flower and was commonly seen in bouquets, corsages, boutonnieres and in bride’s hair.

The individual flowers are put on Stephanotis Picks which are long pieces of covered wire with cotton at the end.  This is so they can be put into a bouquet.  Sweet little blooms!

Want To See A few More Vines?

Potato Vine  

Red Trumpet Vine 


Bougainvillea Tips and Facts

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  1. Pingback: How to Care For The Sweet Pink Jasmine Everybody Loves | Joy Us GardenJoy Us Garden

  2. I have had some luck growing stephanotis floribunda in a dry environment, but not without some effort. Year round I keep it well mulched and during Summer I give the leaves and ground a good hose down in the mornings.

  3. Dry is not its ideal environment so it would take efforts. It does well here because we’re never scorching hot & the moisture from the ocean air is just what it likes.

  4. I have two that winter over in a sun room and spend summers outdoors — both are growing beautifully (I’ve never pruned them), but I’ve only seen a handful of flowers. Thoughts?

  5. Hi Stephanie – Stephanotis, like Hoyas, have beautiful foliage but don’t we love those flowers?! My neighbor’s is in full bloom right now & covers the front of their house. They do well in Santa Barbara because we have a fairly even climate with summer temps averaging in the 70’s & winter temps in the 50’s. Stephanotis like a relatively even climate with no highs & lows. They need those cool winter days & evenings to set the flower buds. Also, because they are native to the tropics, they like humidity. I’d say your summers might be too warm & if your sunporch is heated, then they are not getting the cooler temps (& humidity indoors) that they like. They need a nice, enriched soil & to rest a bit (back off with the watering) in the winter when indoors. Many people struggle to get them to bloom indoors so you’re not alone! Nell

  6. My stephanotis was very healthy at one time but we were away to Florida for six weeks and my son watered my plants. The leaves of the plant are all dried up and I’m wondering if it is dead? What should I do to revive it.

  7. Denise – I’m not quite sure what to tell you because I don’t know enough details. I’m not sure if it was under or over watered. Stephanotis doesn’t like to be dry but it doesn’t like to sit in water either. It can be a bit tricky as a houseplant because it doesn’t like environmental changes. Nell

  8. Nell, my stephanotis is on a pot on my pool patio. It is flourishing too much. I have it in a large pot. It blooms but it is the “Blob” growing everywhere. How far back can I prune it? I will wait until it stops blooming in the winter but this girl is out of control. Thanks, Chris

  9. Hi Chris – Yes, Stephanotis does grow fast. You can take it back by 1/4 its size now. The best time to prune it is late winter so at that time next year, take it back by another 1/4. The general rune is that you can take it back to about 1/2 its size. Be sure to thin it out also. Nell

  10. I have a vine that is growing out doors on my deck for the summer and it is loving it because it’s growing like crazy. …just wondering when the best time to repot it is ?….

  11. Hi Tara – Stephanotis is best repotted in spring. Use a mix which drains well but is very rich. Nell

  12. Hello Nell,
    My stephanotis is growing healthily but after 3 months I have never seen even one flower.
    How often does yours flower? Does it have a season or is it just random?
    It has been outside all summer on a roof deck in New York City in partial shade where I have been careful not to overwater it, but it will soon have to come inside as the nights grow colder.
    I have resisted feeding it because I’m afraid it would just take over the whole deck but perhaps that would encourage it to form flowers buds?
    I’d be glad of your advice!
    Thank you.

  13. Hi Barlett – Mine flowered every year from late spring through fall but it was growing outdoors in Santa Barbara, CA. Stephanotis can be tricky when you move it inside/outside because it’s not fond of change in environment. It likes evening winter temps around 50 with a good degree of humidity & our homes are warmer & drier in winter. This hinders the bud formation. It also likes a lot of organic matter & will benefit from that. Nell

  14. Helene Kammeier

    Loved your video on pink jasmine. Thanks for the information

  15. Thank you Helene. It’s always my pleasure to share what I’ve learned. Nell

  16. Becky J. Patton

    ??I have kept two plants living in containers since last spring. Brought them in for the winter. Getting ready to plant outside in the next few days. Thank you for the information!

  17. Of course Becky. They’ll be glad to get back outdoors for the warmer months. Nell

  18. I live in southern Spain my steph lives in full Sun at at times reaching 40c in the shade! It is doing great sitting in a raised bed which had a deep layer of horse manure in the bottom (8 years ago)

  19. That’s a great climate for it Paul. Steph loves a rich soil so the horse manure definitely helps. Thanks for sharing, Nell

  20. My vine has multiple seed pods. What to do? Plant is outside in SoCal year around. We have had warmer winter. Lynn

  21. Hi Lynn – Stephanotis seed pods are big. You can let them ripen (up to at least a year) if you want to germinate the seeds or remove them. Too many will ultimately draw energy out of the plant. Nell

  22. Just purchased my first Steph and it will get morning sun and afternoon shade. Is morning sun too much?
    I live inGrover Beach 1 mile from the ocean
    Thanks for your help

  23. That should be fine Amy. They like a rich soil so feed it with plenty of organic compost. Nell

  24. our Stephanotis plant is about 20 years old and has flowered every year suddenly this year all the leaves turn bright yellow and it appears that is not going to live.. is there anything that you would suggest? And how long do Stephanotis normally live?

  25. Hello Nell,
    I saw Stephanotis plant in a nursery today and while doing my research, came across your site:) Thank you for a lot of useful tips. We live in Hermosa Beach so the climate is similar to yours. I am thinking it can be a right plant for our west/north corner patio since it only gets
    the sun in the afternoon. But, can it still get burnt?

  26. Thank you for all of your advice, Nell! I live in South Florida, across from the beach. I am considering switching out my confederate jasmine vine for stephanotis because it is so unique and beautiful, plus I would just let it grow rather than training a large (60 ft wide) wall of confederate for the cross/diamond pattern! My question is, our back wall faces west, so it would get afternoon light. is that going to be too strong for the steph vine? The house is two story, so it does block some of the direct afternoon light from the roots. Hoping it can work out! grateful for your advice!

  27. Hi Ken – My neighbors in Santa Barbara had a Steph vine growing on their house which was about 35 years old. I don’t know if yours is growing outdoors or indoors but here are a few reasons: too much water, temps too cold, change in soil pH (they prefer a slightly acidic soil) or soil not draining. Nell

  28. You’re welcome Meredith. Stephanotis is a lovely vine & the flowers are as pretty as the flowers. It should be fine as long the soil is rich & well drained. Cover the roots with lots of organic matter so they stay on the cooler side. As the plant grows, you’ll need to extend the range of the compost. Enjoy the flowers! Nell

  29. Anna – It should be fun. Just make sure to cover the ground around the roots with lots of rich organic matter. They can take some sun but the roots prefer to stay cooler & shaded. Nell

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