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Madagascar jasmine, or Stephanotis floribunda, is a climbing vine of the Stephanotis genus. As the name implies, this species is native to Madagascar, as are several other species in this group. Other species are native to China, Japan and Cuba. The vines of this plant tend to twine around one another, creating large tangles, but they can be untangled during winter if so desired.
This species is part of the Apocynacae family. This plant family includes milkweed and butterfly weed, and although Madagascar jasmine climbs and spreads, it is not considered a weed. In fact, it is highly prized by both home growers and commercial growers. Although named "jasmine," Madagascar jasmine is not a member of the jasmine genus.
Madagascar jasmine is a popular houseplant but also grows well outside. Whether growing indoors or outdoors, the vines will need some support, otherwise they might break as they grow. This plant prefers to be positioned in indirect or part sunlight and will not survive temperatures below 44 degrees Fahrenheit (7 degrees Celsius). If Madagascar jasmine is being grown outside in cooler climates, it is possible to keep the plant alive through a cold winter by covering it with fleeces and cloches and applying straw or leaf mulch around the base and the bottom leaves to retain as much warmth as possible.
In optimal conditions, including high to moderate levels of humidity, the vines of the Madagascar jasmine can reach lengths of 20 feet (6 m), but it is easily pruned and controlled for indoor growing or outdoor growing where there is a shortage of space. Pruning should be undertaken in late winter, when the first signs of growth occur. All of the dead or damaged wood should be removed, and at this stage, a grower is free to remove as much vine growth as necessary.
The flowers form in clusters and are a vibrant white with a waxy texture. Tubular and star-shaped, the flowers have a strong, distinctive perfume, and the plant is often known as bridal wreath, because the flowers are very popular in wedding bouquets in many countries.
The leaves of the plant are evergreen. They form in sporadic pairs along the vines. This species grows vigorously but irregularly. Madagascar jasmine should be kept moist but not waterlogged during most of the year, but to increase flower production, the plant should be allowed to dry out a little over the winter months. Fertilizer should not be applied during the winter months if the plant is being given a rest period.