Everything you need to know about these elegant, delicately perfumed
common calls Stephanotis
floribunda (pronounced stef-a-NO-tis flor-i-BUN-da) is most
often referred to in the U.S. by its botanical name, but its common
names include Madagascar jasmine, floradora and waxflower.
what’s in the names Steph-anotises
derive their name from the Greek words stephanos, which means
“crown,” and otos, which means “ear,” referring to the five
lobes (auricles) that compose these flowers’ star-shaped faces (staminal
crowns). The specific epithet floribunda means “many
flowering,” a reference to the clusters in which these blossoms
family matters These elegant flowers
belong to the Asclepiadaceae (milkweed) family, and close
relatives, in addition to milkweed/butterfly weed (Asclepias),
include wax plant (Hoya), Tweedia/Oxypetalum
exotic appeal and
origin Bright white and waxy
textured, these fragrant blossoms, which are native to Madagascar,
have tubular bodies, 1 inch to 2 inches in length, with flared lobes
resembling five-pointed stars. Their sweet scent is similar to
jasmine (Jasminum) flowers, which along with their nativity,
accounts for the common name Madagascar jasmine.
plan ahead Stephanotises are
available year-round, but they are most plentiful from late spring
through early autumn. To ensure that you get the flowers you need,
give your suppliers advance notice, especially if large quantities
physical examination When buying
Stephanotises, look for florets that are bright white (they
yellow with age), waxy and firm. Avoid blooms that exhibit signs of
withering, wilting, bruising, yellowing, spotting or mold.
purchase options Stephanotises are
most commonly sold as cut florets, in airtight boxes, with 25 or 50
blossoms. Some growers, however, sell these flowers on their vines,
which have shiny, dark green leaves.
moisture required These flowers do not
take up water after harvest, so they should always be stored in
airtight containers lined with a source of moisture such as damp
shredded tissue, to keep humidity levels high. Their need for
moisture continues after the blooms are used in designs.
get soaked Upon their arrival in
your store, unpack Stephanotis blossoms, and float them in
room-temperature water for 20 to 30 minutes. Then place them, still
soaking, into the refrigerator for two hours at 42 F to 44 F.
chill can kill After soaking, shake the
florets delicately to remove water droplets, and place them loosely
into airtight containers, storing them at 42 F to 44 F, until they
are needed. Although Stephanotises are cold sensitive, they
can be refrigerated at lower temperatures if their storage
containers are wrapped in insulating material such as several sheets
one week, max You can store these
blossoms for up to a week, if the aforementioned temperature and
humidity requirements are met.
anti-aging tips For best results, float
Stephanotises again in room-temperature water before using
them in designs, and do not arrange them more than 24 hours prior to
an event. Applying an antitranspirant or finishing spray after
arranging these blooms, once they’re dry, can help prevent
dehydration and yellowing.
handle with care These delicate blooms
require a gentle touch, and some flower care experts recommend
handling them with wet hands to prevent bruising.
down to the wire Because Stephanotises
have extremely short natural stems, wire stems are often added when
preparing them for use in bouquets, corsages, headpieces and
boutonnieres. Types of wire stems include pretaped cotton-tipped
Stephanotis Stems; chenille stems; and thin-gauge hairpin-shaped
wires, with tiny moistened balls of cotton placed in the crooks. All
wiring methods require the removal of the natural stems and calyxes
from the base of the blooms. Tape chenille stems and wire stems with
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