Stephanotis—Madagascar jasmine—symbolizes marital happiness and is common for use in bridal bouquets. This plant has elegant white flowers and a sweet jasmine scent popular for weddings.
Stephanotis – Stephanotis floribunda – belongs to a genus of five to ten vine shrubs in the Apocynaceae – dogbane – family.
The name comes from the Greek words for crown and ear – Stephanos and Otis. This evergreen vining plant is a relative to the butterfly weed and common milkweed. Floribunda means it is an abundant flowering species.
Besides the dainty, delicate flowers, this plant is also popular for its sweet jasmine scent and romantic flower meanings.
Origin of Stephanotis
Madagascar Jasmine is a tropical, tender perennial. This plant is native to tropical areas from Madagascar to Malaya.
But of the roughly 15 species in the Stephnotis genus, some variations are also found in Cuba, Japan, Africa, India, and China.
Other Common Names
You may hear Stephanotis called by other names, including its scientific or botanical name – Stephanotis floribunda.
It’s also known as Madagascar jasmine, wedding flower, bridal veil, waxflower, pua male (Hawaiian), Fleur Parfum, or the Hawaiian wedding flower.
The Stephanotis flower is snowy white waxy, narrow 2″ tubular to star-shaped, with a crown of five stamens and lobes shaped like ears. The flowers grow in heavy clusters.
The plants have opposite, dark green oval leaves with a glossy, leathery texture. The Stephanotis stems – vines – can reach 20 feet when growing wild.
When grown indoors, it’s a perfect plant to train to grow around a unique shape like an arch. It can stand, climb, meander, or hang.
Despite the nickname Madagascar Jasmine, Stephanotis flowers do not belong to the jasmine genus – Jasminum officinale. These two species aren’t related at all.
True Jasmine belongs to the Oleaceae – Olive – family while Stephanotis is in the Apocynaceae – dog1bane – family.
The Stephanotis is the flower for the astrological sign of Pisces – February 19 through March 20.
Growing and Caring for Stephanotis
Stephanotis is a high-maintenance, needy plant that does its best when grown in a greenhouse where you can attend to its fussy nature.
These plants need a loamy, rich soil that stays consistently moist without exposing the roots to standing water. If your leaves start curling up, you might have an issue with soggy roots, which can cause the plant to die.
You’ll need to use a half-strength fertilizer every two weeks during the growing season. And due to its high humidity needs (40%-80%), it’s also necessary to mist your plants regularly.
The preference for high moisture and consistent moistness does put your plants at a higher risk of problems with scale or mealybugs.
Because Stephanotis is a tropical plant, it needs warmer temperatures in the summer – between 70℉ and 80℉. And at night, it can be slightly cooler – 55℉ to 60℉.
While your plants will need a medium to bright light, they will burn in direct sunlight. But, they become more problematic to care for indoors during the winter, where their care becomes different.
You’ll need to keep your plants somewhere where they’ll be in cooler temperatures, around 55℉. High temperatures will kill your Stephanotis. But anything below 50℉ is too cold for the plant to survive.
Your plants will also use less watering, although you’ll still need to mist occasionally. No fertilizer is recommended during winter.
Uses of Stephanotis Flower Throughout History
The Stephanotis flower has had several uses throughout history, depending on the period. Due to the strong fragrance it produces, Madagascar jasmine is a frequent ingredient for cosmetics and perfumes.
In medieval times, the flower made complexion powders and cosmetics intended to hide skin discoloration, blemishes, redness, flushing, and freckles.
Many also thought it helped you keep a youthful, natural complexion due to its cooling, tonic, and astringent properties.
Superstition and Magic
Stephanotis was also believed to attract lovers when used as a perfume, according to how our bodies respond to pheromones, affecting what scents make you feel attraction.
Because Madagascar jasmine is one of the most sweetly aromatic flowers globally, it got the name Fleur Parfum.
You often see Stephanotis used for garnish in cooking and to decorate cakes, despite not being edible, but it’s not toxic. Sugar flowers are usually designed on cakes and artisan candies, shaped after the flower’s beauty.
Stephanotis Flowers Meaning
Dubbed the “wedding flower,” Stephanotis has the main meaning of marital bliss or marital happiness. It’s used in bouquets, centerpieces, and wedding cakes.
But more modern Stephanotis meanings include a longing to travel or good fortune. For example, a Stephanotis flower can say, “I want to travel with you” or “go with me.” It’s a symbolic way for a couple to announce their desire to share new adventures.
Some cultures consider the flower as a lucky charm. For example, it can send best wishes during a wedding day and give the bride good luck.
The white color of the Stephanotis flower is also representative of purity and the embodiment of the couple’s loving relationship. Other potential meanings include a new chapter in life and joy.
What Do the Various Colors of the Stephanotis Flower Mean
Stephanotis is not the type of flower that comes in various colors. Originally, Stephanotis colors were limited to pure white. But botanists have figured out how to give some flowers a delicate light yellow hue.
Pure bright white Stephanotis flowers symbolize purity, innocence, and simplicity. This species is a popular choice for Eastern and Western traditional bridal bouquets.
The purity of the white color is spiritually significant for Eastern traditions. And in other cultures, the gracefulness of the heavenly white flowers makes it a common choice for burial wreaths to represent the cyclic path of life.
Some botanists have succeeded in making the Stephanotis plant’s white flowers take on a pale yellow hue by exposing the vines to less direct sunlight before spring and summer.
The center of each petal becomes yellow, symbolizing friendship and joy. This variant is more common for indoor growing.
Best Time to Gift Someone Stephanotis Flowers
You can gift the beautiful, fragrant Stephanotis flowers at any time. There’s no bad occasion to give this flower. Choose it for Valentine’s Day, anniversaries, congratulations to newlyweds, Mother’s Day, promotions, and birthdays.
Use it to send a message of uplifting positivity, fresh starts, or hope. But it’s also one of the best blooms to use for bridal flowers, especially for winter weddings.
Stephanotis Flower FAQ
We’ve got more knowledge to share about the Stephanotis flower. Check out these commonly asked questions.
What Are Stephanotis Used For?
The most common use for Stephanotis flowers is for wedding decor. However, it can also be used for perfumes and cosmetics.
Can Stephanotis Be Grown Indoors?
It is possible to grow Stephanotis indoors, given that you meet the plant’s needs for watering, humidity, lighting, temperature, and support, like a trellis or ladder.
Is Stephanotis a Perennial?
Stephanotis is a tender perennial that must be brought indoors during the winter in non-tropic climates.
Is Stephanotis Toxic to People or Animals?
Stephanotis is not toxic to animals or people.
Is Stephanotis a Type of Jasmine Plant?
Despite the name and similar scent and look to Jasmine, the Stephanotis – Madagascar Jasmine – is not related to the Jasmine plant.
Does Stephanotis Have a Scent?
Stephanotis has a heady aromatic fragrance that is one of the strongest floral scents, often compared to the sweet smell of Jasmine.
The Stephanotis flower is a strongly aromatic, elegant stark white flower often referred to as the wedding flower. The main Stephanotis flower meaning is marital happiness. Other Stepanotis meanings include a desire to travel, good fortune, and a good luck charm.