How to Care for Madagascar Jasmine?
Known by its botanical name as the Stephanotis floribunda, the Madagascar Jasmine is a vining plant with oval-shaped green, glossy leaves and clusters of white, tubular blooms that are sweet-scented.
It’s an attractive plant that can be grown indoors and in favorable climates, even outdoors. As its name suggests, it’s native to Madagascar, which means that it needs warmth and plenty of light.
Although growing the Madagascar Jasmine needs a bit of effort, you can grow it indoors if you follow the plant care recommendations I’ve put together below.
Size & Growth
Given its twining-vining growth pattern, the Madagascar Jasmine can grow 10 feet tall or even more if environmental conditions are highly favorable and well optimized.
To support its upward growth, you can use trellises, wire frames or other support structures including fences when the plant is grown outdoors.
Because of its twinning growth habit, you can often spot the Madagascar Jasmine in bridal wreaths and bouquets.
The white flowers are a perfect match for an elegant bridal bouquet, while the winding stems are easily added to wire hoops to create seamless-looking wraths.
I mentioned how this plant needs light to thrive, but don’t take that to mean it needs direct sun exposure.
Exposure to a bit of morning direct sun that is gentle, does not pose a danger to the leaves or blooms of the Madagascar Jasmine. Strong direct sun, during the warmest parts of the day are harmful to the plant.
Ideally, the Madagascar Jasmine should receive plenty of bright light, especially during the active growing season.
Indoors, it should be placed close to a sunny window but without the sun shining down on it directly.
As long as the plant receives plenty of light and its leaves are protected from strong sunshine, it will thrive and bloom even indoors.
With moderate watering needs, the Madagascar Jasmine should be watered whenever the topsoil starts to feel dry. Water thoroughly in the growing season, but only lightly in the winter.
Don’t overwater. As any other houseplants, the Madagascar Jasmine is also prone to root rot issues when the roots are allowed to sit in water for too long or if the soil takes too much time to dry.
The other extreme — allowing the soil to completely dry out — should also be avoided. The plant is not drought-resistant, so make sure you’re on point with your watering schedule.
When choosing a potting mix for your Madagascar Jasmine look for peat-based potting mixes. You can even create your own mix by using 2 parts peat moss to 1 part perlite.
This substrate will hold only a bit of moisture, just enough to keep the plant happy, and allow excess water to percolate more easily.
When the potting mix is heavy and retains too much water, it’s difficult to avoid root issues caused by overwatering.
Therefore, whether you’re repotting or planting a Madagascar Jasmine, make sure the potting mix drains well.
Temperature & Humidity
The ideal temperature for Madagascar Jasmines during spring and summer should be in the range of 65 – 80°F.
In winter, you might maintain this range, or if you want to encourage blooming in spring or summer, try keeping your Madagascar Jasmine in a room, where the temperature is in the range of 55-60°F.
Be mindful that this plant is not cold-tolerant and is hardy only down to around 45 F. Therefore, if you’re planning to grow this plant outdoors, make a note of the fact that it’s only hardy in USDA zones 10-11.
If the air becomes dry during any season, humidity levels around the plant should be increased, either by placing the plant on a humidity tray or by misting it.
For Madagascar Jasmines grown outdoors, fertilizing is not a requirement unless it’s grown in very poor soil.
Indoors, when grown in containers, the situation is different, because potting mixes become depleted of nutrients rather easily.
Therefore, you can help your Jasmine plant by feeding it with either a balanced fertilizer or one with a slightly higher phosphorus content.
Use the fertilizer at the dilution level directed on the label and use it every two weeks tops, during spring and summer.
Potting & Repotting
Madagascar Jasmines don’t grow too fast, so repotting doesn’t usually come up sooner than every 2 years, making it a manageable plant in this respect.
When repotting, choose a pot that’s one size bigger. Use a pot with drainage holes to prevent water from sticking around at the roots of the plant.
When repotting, use a fresh batch of potting mix, making sure it’s a fast-draining variety that doesn’t retain water for long.
When repotting, also check the health status of the roots and remove any diseased or dried-out parts.
How to Propagate Madagascar Jasmine?
There are two ways to propagate the Madagascar Jasmine. One is by seeds, the other by stem cuttings.
Propagating by seeds is difficult and time consuming, assuming that you can get any seeds at all. Therefore, the easiest way is to harvest cuttings and to root them.
You want to take cuttings from non-flowering stems with at least two nodes per cutting. Use rooting hormone on the cut, place the cutting in a propagator container with a plastic cover to ensure enough humidity and warmth.
Keep out of direct sunlight and keep the potting mix humid but not wet. In a couple of weeks, the stems should put out roots and new growths should follow after.
The Madagascar Jasmine is a bit tricky to grow indoors if you want to grow it for its bloom. Apart from the basics — light, humidity and warmth — the trick usually lies in ensuring the plant a month or two of resting in a slightly colder environment during the winter period.
The plant will more readily bloom outdoors, so you can move the plant outdoors for the summer and take it back indoors for the winter, if you suspect the plant has trouble blooming indoors.
With the careful observance of the plant recommendations I detailed above, you can help your Madagascar Jasmine grow beautifully every step of the way.