Garden: Stephanotis floribunda

This is a stephanotis Floribunda. It is an evergreen vine originally from Madagascar. It’s vines will twine 15 – 30 feet with good support. Right now it has the support of a naked, dead tree that didn’t survive our last drought and water rationing.  It blooms from Spring until late summer in Southern California. It thrives in a relatively rich soil, that is well-drained. This one grows in a five gallon pot and occasionally I will flood the pot with water. A large round container with an obelisk and a stand on wheels would work best and in the near future that might happen.  It also likes to be misted regularly.

stephanotis 003Stephanotis 001

This is an open bud. This is a stephanotis cluster not yet open. The flowers are used in bridal bouquets and in flower leis in Hawaii.

The fragrance is strong and intoxicating. Plants can also be grown indoors with the proper lighting. Southern California provides a good growing environment with ample sunshine and warmth.

stephanotis seed pod 002stephanotis seed pod - covered 004This is a Stephanotis seed pod. When I first saw it, over a year ago, I thought it might be a fruit. So I looked it up. I discovered it was a seed, a very large seed. The size of a kiwi. If your plant is agreeable enough to give you a seed pod be for-warned a seed pod takes a full year or more to develop and ripen. First it is a nice fresh green and it does look like a fruit. Toward the beginning of this summer it started turning yellow. Since I knew nothing about this and there didn’t seem to be any information I only hoped it was part of the process.

I’ve kept an eye on this one. I noticed recently it was cracking, but I left it alone hoping nothing was wrong. Then today I saw that it was brown and about 1/3 open.  Look closely. Notice what look like feathers. When it bursts open which it looks like it is ready to do — it will send these soft feather-like seeds to the four winds and there will be thousands of them. The brown bag will insulate it and contain the seeds. Only question I have is what will I do with a thousand stephanotis plants?


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