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How to Grow and Care for Madagascar Jasmine Indoors

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I enjoy growing flowers and giving tips on how to care for them.

Madagascar Jasmine or wax flower is a heavily perfumed climber. The waxen flowers appear in groups or 'pips' along the stems.

Madagascar Jasmine or wax flower is a heavily perfumed climber. The waxen flowers appear in groups or 'pips' along the stems.

About the Madagascar Jasmine

The name Stephanotis comes from the Greek words stephanos, a crown and otis, an ear, probably referring to the way the flowers are formed in bunches. There are some 15 known species of this evergreen climber, but only one species is grown as a house plant to any extent. This is Stephanotis floribunda, popularly known as Madagascar Jasmine or wax flower, which was introduced from Madagascar in 1839.

The strongly scented white and waxy flowers, often used in wedding bouquets, corsages, and buttonholes, are produced in clusters in spring. They may continue through summer on an evergreen climbing shrub, which can grow to perhaps 15 ft (4.5 m). Although the stems get very long, the plant can be kept under control and encouraged to flower by carefully pruning and training the leading growths around a hoop of wire or cane.

Is It Easy to Care for as a Houseplant?

Madagascar Jasmine is not the easiest of plants to grow in the house, but if kept in a window where it can receive good light, it will flower well. It is really better suited to a greenhouse or conservatory, where it looks its best when trailing along a rafter with the clusters of lovely white flowers hanging down delicately.

When buying, look for healthy and green foliage. The plant should have two or three clusters of flower buds, preferably with one or two flowers just opening. Look out for and reject plants that have dropped some of their flower buds.

Madagascar Jasmine Care Guide

  • Atmosphere: The plant appreciates a ventilated but not draughty position that's free from gas fumes.
  • Cleaning: Wipe the leaves occasionally with a damp cloth. Never use leaf shine.
  • Feeding: Apply a standard liquid fertilizer every 14 days during spring and summer when the plant is growing and flowering.
  • Humidity: They should be sprayed every day with lime-free, tepid water in summer, but do not spray the flowers. Stand the pot on damp pebbles to provide constant humidity.
  • Light: Provide plenty of bright light, but keep the plants out of direct sunlight, which will damage the foliage.
  • Potting and Repotting: Potting should be done in late winter, using a soil-based potting mixture. Move plants into pots one size larger in early spring. After the first two years, repot after pruning (see below) every spring. Mature plants can generally be accommodated in 5-6 in (12–15 cm) pots, but move healthy plants that continue to grow into 8-9 in (20–23 cm) pots. If the plant gets too old or difficult to move, just replace the topsoil in the pot or tub with fresh potting mixture.
  • Propagation: Take 3–4 in (8–10 cm) long tip cuttings from non-flowering lateral shoots in spring or early summer. Dip the cut ends in hormone rooting powder, and plant each cutting in a 3 in (7.5 cm) pot containing equal parts of peat moss and coarse sand or perlite. Enclose the potted plant in a plastic bag or heated propagating case and keep it at a temperature of around 65° F (18° C) in bright light without direct sunlight. Given just enough water to keep the potting mixture moist, rooting should occur in 8–10 weeks. When the new roots are well developed, move the cuttings into the normal soil-based potting mixture used for mature plants. (See step-by-step photos above).
  • Pruning: Cut back any straggly leading growths by about half if necessary, and cut the side shoots back to spurs of 3 in (7.5 cm) or so. Cut out all weak shoots. This is best done in spring.
  • Temperature: The ideal summer temperature for stephanotises is 65°–70° F (18°–21° C), but they also do well in warmer rooms, given high humidity (see above). The maximum summer temperature is 80° F (27° C). In winter, keep them slightly cooler at 55° F (18° C).
  • Watering: In summer, water plentifully as often as necessary to keep the potting mixture thoroughly moist. In winter, water sparingly once a week. Use lime-free, tepid water when possible.
Madagascar Jasmine in a pot.

Madagascar Jasmine in a pot.

Stephanotis floribunda.

Stephanotis floribunda.

As an Outdoor Plant

In frost-free climates, the Stephanotis floribunda can be grown against a sunny wall or over an arbor or pergola.

Guide to Common Issues


Young leaves turn yellow

Chlorosis from lime in the water

Water once with a solution of sequestered iron and then water only with lime-free water

Flower buds shrivel

Too dry

Water more often

Flower buds drop

Plant has been moved about or the pot turned

Leave it alone

Leaves turn yellow

Too dark

Move plant to lighter place

Brown scaly insects on stems and under leaves

Scale insects

To prevent insect infestations, spray monthly with malathion. Scale and mealy bug can also be removed individually with a swab dipped in methylated spirits. The plant will be more resistant to insect attack if it rests in winter at 55 degrees F (18 degrees C).

Leaves turn slightly yellow and have webs underneath

Red spider mite

(See above.)

White, woolly patches on stems and leaves

Mealy bug

(See above.)

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


Sandy on June 18, 2019:

Hi Jay ..I don't know of any place in NYC but Pepper's Greenhouse

in Milton Delaware has them ..they also have a variegated leaf variegated for 6.95 & 8.95 ...both in 4 inch pots...which is a steal.I hve bought from them & their plants are healthy & large for the price & comes in $ inch pots.No phone orders.Check out their site & you'll probably want to buy others rare/unusual plants for the home.

Jay on May 29, 2019:

Where can I get staphanotis or madagaskar Jasmin in NYC? on October 19, 2017:

Can someone please tell me why my Stephanotis plant is bleeding a sticky syrup from many of the leaves?? I can't find the info anywhere. Please help.

Sandy on September 09, 2016:

Should have mentioned something about their seed pods as this is what I was interested in as I have more than a dozen massive mango like seed pods and wanted to know whether to leave them or cut them off.

anglnwu on May 04, 2013:

I'm interested in buying this plant. I love the appearance and the flowers are lovely. Thanks for sharing.