Focus on flora: Madagascar Jasmine

Focus on flora: Madagascar Jasmine

Hailing from one of the most biodiverse countries in the world, Stephanotis floribunda, or Madagascar jasmine, produces a fragrance people do not easily forget once they smell it.

As the name implies, this gorgeous vine is native to Madagascar, but can be found in other tropical and subtropical locations throughout the world.

With a preference for moist, well-draining soils and full sun to part shade, Madagascar jasmine can be a fickle plant to grow. It is very sensitive to temperature changes and will not tolerate frequent cold spells, making it popular for greenhouses in climates that are not able to grow it outdoors.

It is also susceptible to mealy bug and spider mites, but if cared for properly, is less likely to fall victim to these pests. It does not respond well to hard pruning and should be pruned lightly and more frequently rather than cut back hard.

The deep green, leather-like leaves are lustrous and shiny as it twines its way upward. The natural habit is to spiral around whatever it may be growing on, so it is important to provide a sturdy structure that it can easily climb, or a wall — where it will appreciate the extra radiating heat.

Sometimes taking years to reach maturity for flowering, it is well worth the wait. Cuttings or seed will produce the best results for propagation.

The big clusters of star-shaped flowers are waxy in appearance, with a scent that is truly unforgettable. The white flowers are commonly used in bridal bouquets and floral arrangements. Madagascar jasmine is also used in many high-end fragrances. Blooming heavily in the summer months, this evergreen vine is a great addition to any garden space. At night, the leaves reflect the moonlight and the star-shaped flowers remind one of the stars in the sky.

In Camana Bay, Madagascar jasmine can be found outside of Camana Bay Cinema, where stars of a different kind shine.

This article originally appeared in the July 2021 print edition of Camana Bay Times.

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About the author

Shannon Schmidt is a horticulture manager at Dart’s Arboretum Services Ltd. Joining Dart in 2012, Shannon previously worked in parks, public gardens and tourism properties, among others. Originally from the Finger Lakes region of New York State, Shannon loves island life, spending time paddleboarding around the canals and mangroves, in the sea, and spending time outdoors with her two energetic Boston Terriers Nollie and Ebbie and her equally energetic partner Chase! Shannon holds a Bachelor of Science in Recreation, Park and Tourism Management from The Pennsylvania State University and a Diploma in Horticulture from the Longwood Gardens Professional School of Horticulture, and loves spending time swinging in a hammock, with her favourite smoothie from Jessie’s Juice Bar and reading material from Books & Books.

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