Gardenias are a romanticized flower of the South. They’re commonly seen in corsages during prom season and used for beautiful floral displays during summer weddings. Prized for their large creamy, white and fragrant blooms, they’re perfect for growing in containers or as hedges outdoors.
However, they have a misleading reputation that they’re hard to grow. This isn’t true, gardenias are easy to grow and will reward you with blooms all summer, especially if you follow these simple growing tips:
Gardenias and Growing Tips
1. It’s best to plant your Gardenias in the early spring or early fall, so they can become established without extreme summer heat, or cold winter temperatures.
2. Gardenias grow best in full sunlight, but they can tolerate shade. In really hot areas, gardenias can benefit from receiving afternoon shade.
3. If grown indoors, place your gardenias by a bright sunny window, or in a room where it will receive a lot of bright indirect light.
4. Check your soil. Gardenias enjoy well-draining soil. They don’t like to sit in standing water. If your soil is heavy in clay, amend it by mixing some sand or a loamy potting mix.
5. Also, Gardenias prefer slightly acidic soil. A pH balance ranging from 4.5 to 6.5 works best. You can use a pH meter from your local gardening store to test the pH balance of your soil. Adding sulfur to your soil will lower the acidity of your soil, and adding organic matter like peat moss will raise the pH of your soil.
6. Don’t bury your Gardenia too deep. When planting your Gardenias, only dig a hole as deep as its root ball. Make sure that the root collar is level with the surrounding ground before back filling your hole.
7. Throw your watering schedule out! Gardenias need an inch of water a week. Check on your soil every few days to monitor moistness.
8. Mulch! Spreading a layer of mulch around the bases of your plants will prevent weeds from growing too close and stealing nutrients from them. Mulch will also help the soil retain moisture, and regulate the soil’s temperature.
9. If your plants are inside, make sure that they don’t dry out. Give them some humidity by misting the leaves daily with a spray bottle, placing a humidifier nearby, or by keeping their planters over a bed of rocks and water.
10. Fertilize your flowers once a month during the growing season. Use an acidic fertilizer. Each package will have a recommended fertilizer dosage based on the size of your plants, but we recommend using half of that suggested amount to avoid burning the roots.
11. It’s best to prune your plants in the early spring. Remove blooms once they’re spent.
12. Protect your flowers from the cold. During cold winter snaps, cover your plants at night with burlap or blankets. Cardboard will even work well as a protective barrier.
Gardenias = Ease and Elegance
Once your flowers start to bloom, their sweet, floral fragrance will intoxicate. You might be taken back to your grandmother’s home, when she grew these fragrant shrubs in her garden. Best of all, you’ll get year-round color and glossy green leaves. Follow these planting and care tips for your own Gardenia success!