Flower of the Princesses
Stephanotis Floribunda, the ‘Flower of the Princesses‘ – this rare and infinitely precious perennial creeper comes from Madagascar, where it is known as Madagascar Jasmine, and grown as a bridal flower and for religious festivals and church flowers.
Long climbing stems with glossy, dark green oval leaves and clusters of white, waxy, tubular-shaped, exquisitely-scented flowers, borne all summer long and often deep into the winter in warm frost-free areas, give this Stephanotis the exceptional status of being a plant collector’s dream. It is exquisite!
Stephanotis Floribunda needs cool roots and sun in which to flower. It will not flower abundantly in the shade, but where it has an east facing wall and shaded roots, it will twist its way over a balustrade and flower abundantly and continuously.
Huge oval seeds – the size of an avocado – appear at the end of summer. Once these have ripened, the tough hard outer husks burst open to shower out silky-winged seeds that blow everywhere. Flat black seeds are attached to the white puffs and I have found that these seeds are the best means of propagation.
It thrives when planted in a deep, compost-filled hole and the surface covered with large flat stones to keep the roots cool (I have a hedge of Buxus Microphylla ‘ Faulkner’ in front of my Stephanotis, to keep its roots cool). Soak the roots deeply once or twice a week by letting the hose gently run in. It cannot take frost, nor the cold, so cover it in winter with that amazing plant fleece available from nurseries.
The slender twining branches need support to cover pergolas and arches and one should help the long thin stems to twist and climb where you want them to grow. My favourite is to have it grow on balustrades, making it possible to look directly into those incredible clusters of long-lasting, fragrant flowers.
Use the flowers in your bath, and in bath vinegars, or float them in flat glass bowls to fill the room with fragrance, as well as in long lasting decorations and wedding flowers. Stephanotis Floribunda is a trainable and much sought after prize. Treasure it!