White fragrant plants: Houseplants of the month March 2016
A romantic experience. That is what’s on offer with these three white houseplants with a delectable fragrance from their creamy white flowers which sometimes affectionately wrap themselves around something.
Gardenia, Stephanotis and Jasmine are three dark green houseplants which offer more than just their fabulous white flowers. They all smell wonderful, the first flowers very profusely, and the other two wrap themselves flexibly around anything they can get hold of. They thereby fit well with the current white and green interiors trend in which focuses on items which have real meaning and appear to be trying to make a connection. These houseplants offer coherence in diversity, appear to embrace with fragrance and tendrils, and provide sensory experiences and calm.
Don’t force these white bloomers into a straitjacket, but largely leaving them to do their own thing for natural beauty. For example, it’s amazing how Stephanotis can turn a light cable into a natural feature. Provide an original base: terracotta, leather and cotton help to create a harmonious entity, as do round shapes such as a large round saucer or a circle as backdrop.
Gardenia has shiny dark green leaves with attractive veins and fantastic creamy white voluptuous flowers with a wild rose shape and beautiful fragrance. If cared for properly, a Gardenia can produce over one hundred flowers. This plant prefers a light spot, but avoid direct sunlight. Keep the soil damp, but avoid standing water. The green leaves like to be misted with a plant spray. Wilted flowers can be removed, and the plant will then carry on flowering
- In the wild Gardenias grow particularly in Vietnam, southern China, Taiwan, Japan and India.
- As far as we know the plant was recorded as early as the 10th century by the Chinese painter Xu Xi.
- The Gardenia is named after the American doctor and botanist Alexander Garden who discovered the plant in the 18th century .
● The flowers were formerly often used as ‘buttonholes’.
Fragrance and colour
Stephanotis has very distinctive flowers: tubular, pure white and slightly waxy. They grow in clusters that open like stars. Once open they have a beautiful fragrance and the colour matches perfectly with the shiny dark green leaves. The plant is usually trained around an arch or other shape, but back home in Madagascar it is a flowering vine. That means that Stephanotis is a houseplant which can grow through a room divider or can be trained along window, in order to link indoor and outdoor spaces together. Stephanotis prefers a light, permanent spot with damp soil with no standing water. Do not turn the plant once it has formed buds to ensure the best flowering.
- In the Victorian language of flowers the Stephanotis symbolises marital happiness, hence the name ‘bridal wreath’. The bridal bouquets of Princess Diana of Wales, Princess Tatiana of Greece, Ivanka Trump and Jessica Simpson all included Stephanotis.
- The name is derived from the Greek: ‘stephanos’ means ‘crown’ and ‘otos’ means ‘ear’: the pistils in the flowers look a bit like ears.
- As a retro flower Stephanotis is very popular with hipsters, particularly as a free-growing vine.
- Stephanotis is one of the world’s most lavishly fragranced flowers, hence its nickname: ‘Fleur Parfum’.
Jasmine is an elegant shrub with attractive dark green leaves and beautifully scented white flowers. The tendrils can be trained around an arch, but it also looks great if you give it its freedom and leave it to grow up a cupboard or around window frame. Place the plant in a light spot which is not too sunny, and give it plenty of water. Jasmine is a fast grower that likes to have slightly damp soil. This houseplant also requires extra plant food once a fortnight in order to give it sufficient strength to grow and flower.
- The name is derived from the Persian word ‘Yasmin’, which means ‘gift from God’.
- Jasmine originates from the Himalayas and the temperate regions of China.
- The plant is an international celebrity: different species are known as the national flower of the Philippines, the Maid of Orleans, The Beauty of India and the Duce di Toscane.
- The flowers’ fragrance is released after sunset, and is said to be even stronger when the moon is waxing.
Houseplant of the month
White fragrant Gardenias, Stephanotis and Jasmine are the houseplants of the month for March 2016. ‘Houseplant of the month’ is an initiative from the Flower Council of Holland. Every month the Flower Council consults with representatives of the floriculture sector to choose a plant which is particularly popular with consumers, or is not (yet) well-known but has the potential to do well in the living room.
For more information see: www.thejoyofplants.co.uk
Published on: 25 February 2016