Growing Gardenia

Latin Name Pronunciation: gar-deen'ya

Gardenias are prized for their attractive and richly fragrant white flowers, which are shown to advantage by glossy, deep green foliage. They are cold-sensitive so unless they are grown in zones 8-10, patio planters should be treated as annuals. If desired, they can be overwintered in a sheltered outdoor space, in warmer climates, or moved indoors.

Growing Outdoors:

Grow in sun to part-shade in moist but well-drained acidic soil. Fertilize monthly from spring until frost with a formula specific for acid-loving plants. Deadhead to remove spent blooms.

FLOWERING: The buds on your plant should open in 4–6 weeks. Avoid handling the blossoms; they bruise and turn brown easily when touched. Most flowers last 3–8 days. They open white and mature to creamy yellow. When the flowers start to brown, they should be removed to make room for new buds and flowers. Please note: Except in the Deep South and on the West Coast (Zones 8–10), Gardenias are best treated as a seasonal plant and discarded after bloom.

Overwintering Indoors:

LIGHT: Provide 6–8 hours of direct sunlight such as can be provided by a south-facing windowsill.

WATERING: Gardenias enjoy potting mix that is slightly damp to the touch, but not soggy. If the potting mix gets either too dry or too soggy, the flower buds will drop off.

TEMPERATURE: Gardenias perform best in a room that is warm by day and cool at night. Nighttime temperatures should be kept above 60°F.

HUMIDITY: Gardenias are subtropical plants that appreciate high humidity. Don't place your plant close to a heat vent. The best way to increase the humidity around your plant is to run a humidifier in the same room, or use a pebble tray. Misting the gardenia plant is not recommended.

FERTILIZER: Fertilize Gardenias every 4 weeks during their growing season—April to October. A water-soluble fertilizer formulated for acid-loving plants is best, or use White Flower Farm’s All-Bloom Fertilizer. Do not fertilize November through March.