How to Grow Strophanthus - Planting & Caring

By Sharon & Team   /   Shrubs Category   /   2023

Strophanthus, also called ouabain, is a genus of flowering plants in the family Apocynaceae, first described as a genus in 1824. It is native to Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, and Madagascar. They are climbing plants with opposite, evergreen leaves and small white flowers. The fruit is a pair of follicles.

How to Grow Strophanthus - Planting & Caring

Growing Easiness

Is it easy to grow Strophanthus plant? If you are looking for a plant that will be easy to take care of, the Strophanthus plant is a good choice. This plant is not picky about its soil and can tolerate a wide range of conditions. It is also resistant to most pests and diseases. The only thing this plant needs to thrive is a sunny spot in your garden.

Plant Size

How big can it be? Unless cultivated, it usually only grows to about 2-3 meters in height. But in its natural environment, it can reach up to 25 meters.

Growth Rate

How fast is the growth? The plant grows very quickly, with branches extending up to 1 meter per season. The plant is very tall, and the branches are very sturdy. The leaves are large and the flowers are small.

Strophanthus Basic Knowledge

Plant Form Shrub
Family Apocynaceae
Origin Most of the genus (32 species) come from Central and South Africa, Madagascar. Several species grow wild in India (1), China, Southeast Asia (6). The most common in domestic floriculture is the pleasant strophanthus (Strophanthus gratus), the strophanthus of Proiss and Boavin (Strophanthus preussii, Strophanthus boivinii).

Lifespan, Perennial or Annuals

How long is the lifespan? Sometimes, a plant may live for two years, but usually, a plant will only live for one year. The plant grows best in warm climates and can be found in the wild in Africa and Madagascar.

Ideal Temperature

What is the ideal temperature? Common strophanthus, or Strophanthus kombe, is a species of flowering plant in the family Apocynaceae. It is native to tropical Africa. It is a climbing plant that can reach a height of 20 m (66 ft). The leaves are opposite, ovate to lanceolate, 10–20 cm (4–8 in) long and 5–10 cm (2–4 in) wide. The flowers are white with a yellow center, 5–7 cm (2–3 in) wide, with a five-lobed corolla. The fruit is a follicle 5–7 cm (2–3 in) long and 2 cm (0.8 in) wide. The strophanthus prefers hot weather and high humidity. In summer, the optimum temperature for the plant is + 68-86 ° F. In winter, the leaves may fall off, but they will grow back in the spring. If the plant is kept in a heated room in the winter, it may even bloom. However, it is better to keep the strophanthus in a cool place at a temperature of + 50-59 ° F, as this will ensure better flowering in the future. The minimum temperature that the plant tolerates is + 32-41 ° F, but such a decrease should be only temporary, as the plant is quite thermophilic.


What about the humidity? Unless the plant is being watered, the soil should be dry to the touch. The plant also prefers a humidity level of about 50%. However, the plant is able to adapt to drier air conditions if necessary.

Light Requirement

What amount of light this plant needed? Sometimes, the plant may not flower due to inadequate lighting. If possible, place the plant near an east or west window to give it a few hours of sun in the morning. It is best if the plant gets bright, diffused light. However, the plant can still grow and bloom even if it is only under artificial light.

Soil Composition

What is good soil for Strophanthus? Because the plant is native to tropical Africa, it prefers warm, humid conditions and slightly acidic soil. A good substrate for growing strophanthus could be a mix of two parts leaf mold, one part compost, and one part sand. This mix should be light and well-draining, yet also fertile. You could also use a commercially-prepared potting mix designed for tropical plants. Be sure to choose a mix that is neutral or slightly acidic.

Watering Time

How much I must water Strophanthus? known as oleander, this evergreen shrub or small tree is a member of the dogbane family. It is necessary to water abundantly as the top layers of the soil dry out. When watering, it is necessary to wait until the water begins to leave the drainage hole. The plant is sufficiently drought-resistant, but it can discard the leaves if there is insufficient watering and drying. In winter, watering is significantly reduced, especially in cool conditions.

Fertilizing and Nutritient

About fertilizer. The best time to fertilize is in the early morning or evening, when the sun is not too hot. Use a complex mineral fertilizer (15-15-15) about once every two weeks. You can fertilize once a month with organic fertilizing.


How to reproduce Strophanthus? So, the Strophanthus reproduces vegetatively with the help of semi-extruded cuttings that take root in the substrate from peat and perlite. The cuttings must be treated with rootstock, rooting under polyethylene at lower heating. However, from the young cuttings obtained from an earlier blooming adult plant, the young stanphanthus will blossom the next year.


Why Strophanthus won't bloom? The flowers are very unusual in some species: in the middle of the corolla, a special tube appears from the middle of the corolla, with long threads hanging from the edges, they can reach 35-40 cm. The flowers of the Madagascar stropheter Boavin have long curled wavy orange-yellow petals.

Caring The Strophanthus

How to care the plant? The young plants are transplanted every year and often need to be transplanted up to three times in one season due to their intensive growth. The adult plants are transplanted every two years. It is best to use ceramic cookware when transplanting these plants as they can get quite large and need a heavy pot that won't tip over.

Pests & Challenges

What is the challenge when caring Strophanthus plant? The most unpretentious - Proiss. But even she does not always please the owners with abundant flowering. The main enemy of this plant is spider mites, which often live on the back of a flower. In order to avoid the appearance of spider mites, it is necessary to regularly spray the plant with water. Also, the plant is affected by the mealybug. If you do not water the plant in time, it can discard the leaves, but then they are usually restored again. If the plant has thrown off the leaves for the winter, it is important not to over-moisten it at this time. In winter, with a cool content and abundant watering in heavy soil, rotting of the roots is possible.


What is the benefit of the plant? When the animal was killed with the help of such an arrow, the flesh around the wound was cut and thrown away, only after that the remaining meat could be eaten.

Toxic & Poisonous Type

Are Strophanthus poisonous? Sometimes, it is called "milkweed" or "butterfly weed" plant. All parts of the plant are poisonous, but the most toxic parts are the pods and seeds. The poison is very strong and dangerous.