stephanotis question

Discussion in 'Indoor and Greenhouse Plants' started by soccerdad, Oct 27, 2007.

  1. soccerdad

    soccerdad Active Member 10 Years

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    I planted some stephanotis (a.k.a Madagascar jasmine) seeds last January. I fear that they may be growing more than they should.

    They are under lights and I water them regularly. One of them is 17" tall. It is growing at about 1" a week. That seems very nice. But I have read that if they do not get a winter dormant period, and grow all winter, they will not flower next spring - presumably because their natural cycle has been disrupted.

    Any comments?
     
  2. soccerdad

    soccerdad Active Member 10 Years

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    I don't recall exactly when I posted this - "one week ago" seems suspect - but the one that was 17" tall is now 25" tall, so my "1" per week' estimate was a trifle low. I have stopped watering it and we will see if I can slow it down.
     
  3. soccerdad

    soccerdad Active Member 10 Years

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    Plant has now grown to 31". A buddy of mine used to refer to "The Monster that Devoured Cleveland" as if it were some old movie; I wonder if it was a stephanotis.
     
  4. newbieplantlover

    newbieplantlover Active Member

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    Im jealous, mine grows soooo slow. I think its only grown maybe an inch since I got it in June.
     
  5. markinwestmich

    markinwestmich Active Member

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    http://hibiscus-sinensis.com/tropical/stephanotis.htm

    Nature has a way of inducing dormancy. The plant will know when it is time. I have heard of indoor-grown plants that skip dormancy on a particular year, but will definitely go into dormancy the following year. As you probably know, flowering tends to exhaust the plant's reserves, so dormancy will likely occur...if not this year, the next. My sources confirm your concerns with regards to the lack of flowering if it does not go into dormancy.

    You may want to induce dormancy by moving the plant to a cooler location with less light. I have moved some of my plants to the basement that seem to be "late" with their dormancy.

    Mark
     
  6. soccerdad

    soccerdad Active Member 10 Years

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    I planted 4 at the same time, and have kept them side-by-side, so they have experienced exactly the same conditions since birth. Three of them are about 11" tall but this one started to grow rapidly at about that point. Hope that does not reflect some problem.

    Anyway, I have cut down watering but as regards environment I can either:

    (a) move it to a south facing window with average to low room temps and little light - if the sun has ever shone in Vancouver during the fall or winter, I must have blinked when it happened - or

    (b) move it to an unheated storage room with lower than normal light and temperatures that will be just above freezing at night in the winter.

    I will also be setting up my unheated "greenhouse" soon, and could put it there, but there it will be just a bit above ambient temperatures during the day and just above freezing - if it does indeed stay above freezing - at night.

    Any suggestions as to which would be best?
     
  7. soccerdad

    soccerdad Active Member 10 Years

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    Well, cutting down the heat and the water has had some effect: it only grew 1 more inch since my last post. But I really must water it now since the soil is dry as dust and the leaves are starting to droop dismayingly - think I'll lose them all tonight unless I water it. No doubt a consequence of the usual wintertime lack of humidity here, indoors as well as outside. I'm about to move it to a rather dim south-facing window, to see what effect that has.

    It's three sisters remain seemingly dormant.
     
  8. cookie_mccool

    cookie_mccool Active Member

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    I think, for the sake of science and also morbid curiosity, that you are obligated to see how big that bad boy can get before it does indeed devour Cleveland. There's obviously something very "special" about that seedling. Come on, don't you want to see if it might sprout legs or something? Where's your sense of adventure?
     
  9. soccerdad

    soccerdad Active Member 10 Years

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    Self preservation trumps adventure: we fear being strangled while we sleep. You should worry too: I used to live in Champaign-Urbana and so I know that Kalamazoo is not that far from Cleveland.
     
  10. soccerdad

    soccerdad Active Member 10 Years

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    Well, I cut the growing tips off of two of them some time ago. I read everywhere that this will cause the plant to branch. No way. I cut them just above a pair of leaves and one - repeat, one - new end grew out of one of the two leaf axis, and is now about 4" long, with not the slightest sign that anything will ever emerge from the other axil.

    I would like to put them outside during this summer. I read that they like "bright" but "indirect" light. I have never understood what that means: to me, light is "indirect" if it reaches the subject from the source via a mirror, but I don't quite think that is what it means in this context. Does anyone know what "indirect" light for plants means? And has anyone ever tried putting them outside during the summer in the Vancouver area?
     
  11. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Indirect, to me, means a room with the shades mostly drawn shut so that the light entering the room is reflecting off the shades first.
     
  12. joclyn

    joclyn Rising Contributor

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    indirect light means the plant is not directly in the sunlight.

    for example, it's across the room from the window - this would, most likely, be a low-brightness indirect lighting situation.

    being off to the side of the window would be a bright-indirect lighting situation. so would being right next to a window that has sheer or lightweight material curtains on them.

    window blinds can be used to create different levels of indirect lighting...
     
  13. soccerdad

    soccerdad Active Member 10 Years

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    Well, I bit the bullet a few days ago and put two plants each into two 11" diameter pots with 5' tall tripods (quadripods?) in each. Left them temporarily on the North-facing porch.

    The idea is to wrap the vines around them as they grow.

    Two of them, one in each pot, have grown about 6" each in those few days. Of course they want to wind up the structure, not around it.

    No idea if they will bloom this year ... probably not .... and Lord knows where I will put them come winter.
     
  14. cookie_mccool

    cookie_mccool Active Member

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    Sounds like you might have to rent them an apartment. 5', for real? That is crazy! Watch they don't break back into your house!
     
  15. soccerdad

    soccerdad Active Member 10 Years

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    Well I was never very good at three-dimensional geometry, and nowadays it would take me forever to derive a formula for the length of a spiral on the surface of a cone, but think of it as involving say 8 circles with average diameter of 6". So the circumference of each circle is pi d, which would be about 20", for a total vine length of about 160" or about 13'. (Of course an engineer would just wrap a string around the tripod and then measure it, but that would not be an elegant solution).

    My read is that these vines grow to be much longer than that.

    So they should easily cover the tripod (which I see is really a six-pod).
     
  16. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    Those are Apocynaceae, yes? You can limit growth on shade loving members of the family by placing them in full sun, if you're worried about them taking over.

    They will eventually get much much much longer; I had a friend who grew them up the corner of one wall in his living room, and then wrapped them all along the cornice of most of the rooms of his large house; we figured he had close to 200' of vine when he finally got disgusted with having to wind it onto the cornice and chopped it all out. The house always smelled lovely, though.

    So long as you make the upward evolution of the spiral tight enough, by my calculations you've got room for about 30' of vine on each tripod before you'll have to find a taller solution for them. The Engineer's Solution you propose would give you an exact measurement, but it uses a whole heck of a lot of string and as you say lacks the elegance of the geometric solution to the problem.
     
  17. soccerdad

    soccerdad Active Member 10 Years

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    Well, if we made a hollow cardboard cone to mimic the "tripod", and then sliced along a diagonal and spread it out, we would have a part of a circle. The radius would be 5' and the arc would be pi times 11", which is about 35". The entire circle would have a circumference of 2 pi times 60", or about 375", so this part would be about 1/11 of the circle. The area of the whole circle would be pi times 60 squared, so the area of this part would be about 5.5 times pi times 60 - so, 330 times pi or about 1000 sq inches (my kids would use calculators, but I would be embarrassed to do so).

    At this point, we need to know know tightly I will curl them. If I curl them so tightly that say 15% of the area is vine, that means that the total surface area covered by the vines will be 150 sq inches.

    If the vines average say 3/8" thick, that means I would have that 150 /(3/8) or 400 linear inches of vine.

    So well over twice what I calculated before. But then, all depends on how tightly I curl them.

    Problem is, that they will have to come inside for most of the year so they must be chopped if they start to exceed the tripod space.
     
  18. soccerdad

    soccerdad Active Member 10 Years

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    I left the tripods outside, in semi-shade, all summer. Two plants (one plant in each pot) hardly grew at all, one plant grew a foot and then stopped, the last one grew quite a bit.

    Three weeks ago I brought them inside. The two that did not grow remain grow-less: their growing tips look healthy but do nothing. One of those that grew has died off at the end, and I have cut it back by 1'. The last one - the one that was growing best outdoors - has grown about 18" in those two weeks.

    Clearly they prefer the indoors to the outdoors. But does anyone have any idea why two of them, seemingly healthy, have not grown?
     
  19. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    They may have gone dormant on you. Check to see if they're rootbound and do a quick soil test to see what the pH is. Too acidic and they will have stopped growing in protest. If either of these things are happening, re-pot.
     
  20. soccerdad

    soccerdad Active Member 10 Years

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    I'll check the ph. The pots are actually extremely large - maybe too large? - and there is no way they could be root bound.
     
  21. cookie_mccool

    cookie_mccool Active Member

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    I reckon they're trying to lull you into a false sense of security, and as soon as you're convinced they're harmlessly dormant - BOOM! - they eat your house.
     
  22. soccerdad

    soccerdad Active Member 10 Years

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    Just an update. The plants languished and I transplanted the two that survived into much smaller pots. They grew a bit late last winter in my greenhouse, and then did nothing all spring-summer on my north-facing porch. Now in the last month they have started growing again and each has gained about 5 growing ends. They seem, like my fuchsia, to love temps of 14 C during the days and 8 C at night. I may even dare to leave one of them outside in anticipation of the nighttime temperature hitting 4C this coming weekend as predicted. Strange, for I had thought that although they did not like direct light they did like high temperatures ...
     
  23. soccerdad

    soccerdad Active Member 10 Years

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    One plant is now in my fairly cool greenhouse under lights, and I put the other in an east-facing window by my desk at work. The temperature at work is pretty well a constant 20 degrees C, although the humidity is very low, and the one at work is growing well. The other is growing but very very very slowly. It seems that temp is key and that lighting and humidity both count for little or nothing.
     

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