Stephanotis floribunda (bridal wreath, Madagascar jasmine, wax flower) is propagated chiefly by planting seeds or softwood cuttings. This vining perennial can be started by seed throughout the year, while softwood cuttings are propagated from spring through summer. Stephanotis floribunda is grown mostly as a houseplant or greenhouse specimen, but it is adaptable to outdoor use in Zone 10 and warmer zones. The bridal wreath flower is prized for its white waxy bloom, sweet perfume scent and star-shaped blossom.
Fill seed container with seedling medium. A container can be a seedling tray, clean growing pots, or other clean containers that are freely draining. Place a growing container saucer under each seed container to catch any water.
Wet the growing medium just enough to make it damp. Add additional mix until growing surface is 1/2 inch from top of container.
Place seed 1/8 inch below the surface of the growing mix and cover seed with mix.
Place plastic bag on container so it covers the top (but not all) of the container. Secure the bag in place with a rubber band or string. If necessary, use pencils or dowels stuck in the medium on the sides of the container to keep the bag 3 to 4 inches above the growing surface.
Place bagged container in indirect sunlight at 23.8 to 29.4 degrees C.
Watch growing area daily for signs of growth. Stephanotis seeds take two weeks to three months to germinate.
Remove bag when seeds start germinating. After the bag is removed, water with fine mist to keep soil moist (not soaking wet).
Transplant to larger container when plant reaches two true leaves. Seedlings are usually ready for transplanting about two weeks after they first emerge. If seedling still looks very small after a couple of weeks, delay transplanting until the plant has two true leaves.
Water the stephanotis plant the day before cutting, then cut softwood tips in the morning. A well watered plant provides healthier cuttings, and plant stems contain more moisture early in the day.
Prepare a rooting mix of 1/2 perlite and 1/2 medium-grade peat moss. Water the mix prior to placing the cuttings in the rooting medium.
Make a small hole in the rooting mix with a pencil or your finger.
Cut young, new growth from the tips of the plant with a sharp clean knife, about 4 inches from the top of the stem, preferably just below the fourth set of leaves. Strip lower leaves with sharp cuts so each cutting has two pairs of leaves.
Dust the bare cut tip of the plant with rooting hormone if using this substance, although stephanotis rootings will take root without rooting hormone. Do not cover the sides of the cutting with rooting compound, since a little is a lot when it comes to rooting hormones.
Place cuttings in the cutting mix. Bury at least beyond the first point where leaves were removed, preferably bury to just beyond where the second set of leaves were taken off. Space cuttings about 2 inches apart and mist with a fine spray.
Cover container with a plastic bag. Provide supports (wooden pencils or small dowels work well here) for the bag that are tall enough so the bag can cover the tip cuttings without the bag touching the cuttings. Leave extra room for growth while bag is over the cutting.
Put container in a warm (23.8 to 26.6 degrees C) shaded location, but not a dark spot. Keep cuttings out of direct sunlight to avoid cooking the plants with higher than optimum temperatures.
Monitor the container to make sure the planting area has adequate moisture. Open the bag daily for a few minutes to check on the humidity and to give the cuttings some fresh air. Apply a fine mist if the soil feels dry to the touch. If soil is too wet, poke some holes in the bag.
Observe the cuttings and look for new leaves. New leaves are a sign the plant has grown new roots. Pull gently on the cuttings to test for resistance, and when a cutting has new leaves and does not easily pull out of the perlite and peat moss mixture, this is double confirmation the cutting has grown roots.
Open the bag to give the plants drier air. According to the "Sunset Western Garden Book" section on propagation of softwood cuttings, this stage of propagation lets the stephanotis ease into what will be its long-term environment. If a stephanotis cutting starts to wilt, put the bag back on for a few days, then remove again.
Remove the rooted plant to a 4-inch pot with free-draining potting soil once the stephanotis shows it fares well in open air.
Use a knife or other single blade instrument when making tip cuttings. Do not use pruning tools.
Use only clean containers to propagate any plant. This is especially important with Stephanotis floribunda, since seeds can take as long as three months to germinate.
Tips and warnings
- Use a knife or other single blade instrument when making tip cuttings. Do not use pruning tools.
- Use only clean containers to propagate any plant. This is especially important with Stephanotis floribunda, since seeds can take as long as three months to germinate.