FLOWERS: Stephanotis, Sweet Fragrance and Elegant Simplicity Combine into One Perfect Little Wedding Flower

May 26, 2011 ,
empty image
empty image

Beloved for their star-shaped waxy white blooms and strong tropical perfume, Stephanotis is a traditional ingredient in wedding bouquets and bridal party flowers.  One of our absolute favorite flowers to work with, these sweet little blooms are fragile to some extent but hardier than they look due to their high tolerance for warm temperatures.  Thanks to the glorious sunshine amd steamy humidity in Philadelphia this week, our Stephanotis plants are flowering like mad!  (see photo below).

Stephanotis Floribunda, aka “Madagascar Jasmine,” is an evergreen vine that can grow naturally to a height of 15 to 18 feet, although we groom it to six foot metal trellises for a fuller (and infinitely more accessible) shape.  The dark green leaves are thick and leathery like many plants from their native Africa, but ordinarily, we don’t use the leaves in bridal bouquets.  As you can see from the photo above, the vine produces a fragrant white cluster of delicate flowers from late Spring to early Autumn.

The name derives from the Greek “stephanos” which means “crown” and “otis” which means “ear” – which combined, supposedly refers to the arrangement of the stamens in the flower, each one said to resemble an ear.  (we don’t really get that, do you?)  Although beautiful to play with in wedding design, Stephanotis is a difficult plant.  It absolutely hates sudden changes in temperature, needs constant cool conditions in Winter and is supremely attractive to bugs.  Typical.  The beautiful ones are always challenging but 100% worth the effort.

[Photos: Phil Kramer and Laura Novak]