Celebrated for their pleasing foliage and perfumed flowers, gardenias are a popular option for both the home and garden.
Traditionally found outdoors in the south, gardenias (also known as Gardenia augusta or Gardenia jasminoides) make the perfect ornamental shrubs. In order to flourish, they require the correct care, with certain species requiring more maintenance than others.
Gardenias boast a series of pretty, creamy-white flowers, set against a backdrop of glossy, dark-green leaves. Gardenia flowers tend to grow solitary or in small clusters, and come in shades of white or pale yellow. These tubular flowers house lobe-style petals, measuring between 5 cm and 12 cm in diameter.
This evergreen shrub can reach an impressive height of one to 15 metres, with the glossy, leathery leaves measuring between 5 cm and 50 cm long and 25 cm wide.
Gardenia – Care Guide: Outdoor Gardenia Care
Gardenias are extremely sensitive to the cold, which means placing them in the correct location is a must! If not, you may find that your gardenia plants die during severe winter months. Due to this reason, gardenias are normally only grown in climates that boast tolerable winter weather.
If you live in a cooler climate, it’s a good idea to grow gardenia in pots, as you can then move them indoors when winter strikes. If you’re considering planting gardenia, choose autumn or spring for best results.
When growing the gardenia plant outdoors, keep in mind that this plant prefers partial shade. Gardenias also thrive in moist, yet well-drained acidic soil, containing an abundance of organic matter. To ensure your gardenia plant continues to thrive, it’s important to water them regularly, even post bloom.
Pests and diseases
Gardenia plants, as with many shrubs, can suffer from a variety of pests and diseases. The likes of mealybugs, aphids, spider mites, scales and thrips are a few of the more common ailments to watch out for. If you notice these pests on your gardenia plant, it’s important to act quickly! Another (less common) ailment is bud drop.
The majority of these diseases are caused by fungus, which is easily prevented. Simply create a well-drained environment, boasting plenty of good air circulation for your gardenia plant. Prune regularly and water aptly for best results. These simple steps are sometimes all it takes to promote a healthy, vivacious plant. If pests are more of a problem, visit your local garden centre and invest in pesticides suited to this particular specie of plant.
When flowering has ceased, it’s a good idea to prune gardenias by removing any dead foliage and untidy branches. This will encourage continued growth, while keeping the plant in good condition. Healthy plants are able to withstand harsher weather, and will often prove even stronger in the spring.
Indoor Gardenia Care
Many choose to grow gardenia indoors as well as outdoors. Just as with other houseplants, gardenia can be grown in containers. One thing to keep in mind is location. Gardenia plants require bright light and high humidity, so it’s a good idea to take the dry, short winter days into consideration, giving your plants extra care at this time.
For best results, position plants close to southern-facing windows. If you’re unable to offer the correct environment, invest in a series of grow lights to encourage better light conditions during the cold, dark winter months.
High humidity is a must when growing gardenia indoors. Too much dry air will cause blooms to drop from the plant. If you’re struggling to increase humidity in the home, try a humidifier. Alternatively, group plants together on trays of wet pebbles. Avoid misting the gardenia plant, as this can cause fungal leaf spot.
Choosing the correct soil
When planting gardenia plants, opt for rich, loose, organic matter. It’s important to keep soil moist, yet at the same time, take care not to overwater your plant.
This is when frequently monitoring the soil is a must! When the top inch of soil appears dry, this is a sign the gardenia needs watering. In addition to this, the gardenia plant prefers cooler night time temperatures and warmer daytime temperatures.
When to fertilise Gardenias
Gardenias require frequent fertilising to ensure healthy plant growth. For best results, fertilise between the months of April and November using a concoction that has been designed for acid-loving plants. Avoid applying too much of this mixture, as this can lead to salt build-up, which can damage the plant.
Interesting facts about Gardenias
Gardenia plants are symbolic of secret love, purity and sweetness.
They also convey feelings of joy, which makes them a great option for a bouquet.
The majority of Gardenia plants boast an extremely strong scent, this is another reason they’re a prevalent cut flower, as they will add a sweet scent to any room they’re placed in.