How To Grow & Care For Your Gardenias

Gardenias are beloved subtropical flowering perennial shrubs or trees that produce intoxicatingly aromatic blooms and dark green, shiny leaves. They are beautiful additions to traditional and cottage gardens and can be used as borders, hedges, accents, patio plants, and even houseplants. Although gardenia plants can be temperamental and difficult to care for, they are worth it. These tips will help you to grow sweet-smelling gardenia plants year after year.

The Ideal Soil Composition and pH for Growing Gardenias

Loamy, sandy, fertile, and well-draining soil is the best for gardenias. It is best to use a premium potting mixture for growing gardenias inside or outside. You can amend the soil in your native area with plenty of organic matter, perlite or sand, and well-decomposed soil. This will keep the soil moist and drain moisture away from the roots more effectively. Gardenia plants thrive in slightly acidic soil with a pH target between 5.0 and 6.0. You can check your soil’s pH or quality online or with a simple soil test. You can then determine the type of soil that you have and choose what amendments to make.

Gardenia Light & Temperature Needs

When caring for gardenia plants, it is important to consider temperature and light. Gardenias require a lot of sunlight to thrive. The amount of sunlight they receive depends on your garden’s location and the sun’s radiation intensity. These beautiful plants do best with temperatures of 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • Plant gardenias in hot climates and areas with full sun and partial shade. Ideally, this will look like the plant getting morning sun and afternoon shade. In hotter months, more shade is necessary to keep the plant alive.
  • Gardenias love the sun, but too much sun can cause plant leaves to become scorched and precious buds to fall off.
  • Plant gardenias in full sunlight for areas with cooler climates. For gardens with less shade, use a mulch to keep your plant cool.
  • Place your indoor gardenia pots in direct sunlight for 6-8 hours.
  • Container-grown gardenias should not be exposed to too much direct sunlight.


Where to Plant Gardenias

There are many choices regarding where and how to care for gardenias. Gardenias are very picky about where they grow, but you can try different locations in your garden to find where this plant grows best. Gardenias, a subtropical species, thrive in humid climates. They are grown best in zones 8-11, but some varieties can also be planted in zones 6 & 7. You can plant gardenias in the ground or containers indoors or outside.

How to Water Gardenias Best

Gardenia plants require moist soil for the best care. Regular watering is essential to ensure soil remains moist but not soggy. Gardenia plants thrive when there is the right amount of moisture. Gardenia buds can become dry or lose shape if not given enough water. Although gardenias need to be watered regularly, it is advisable to provide them with little water each day, especially if they are indoors.

How to Care For a Gardenia Flower Plant

Gardenias need to have nutrient-rich soil. The best way to give your plants a head start is by using decomposed wood materials, well-decomposed compost, and worm castings. Gardenias need to be well-nourished with manure, phosphorous, and hummus. Use a fertilizer specifically formulated to be used by acid-loving plants at least once every two to four weeks during the growing season. Gardenia plants should not be fed during dormancy, which is usually between November and February.

Pruning Gardenia Plants

Pruning is an important part of gardening and is essential to keeping your plants in shape and encouraging new growth. You should cut off any flowers that are not in use just below the first leaf node and trim the branches of your plant between November and February.

Common Gardenia Plant Pests

These plants are deer-resistant, but smaller insects and diseases can still cause more damage to gardenia plants, including the following.

  • Spider Mites – These insects thrive in dry environments. Regularly misting plant leaves with water can prevent spider mites from pursuing gardenia plants.
  • Whiteflies – A quick spray with the hose can knock whiteflies from your plant by spraying the tops and bottoms of your leaves. A yellow sticky trap can also be attached to a branch to eliminate these pests.
  • Mealybugs– Remove mealybugs by providing a steady water supply to your plants. To prevent mealy bug problems, ensure that your plants receive adequate water, fertilizing, and planting.
  • Root Rot – Make sure your plants are well-drained and not overwatered. Soggy conditions are unsuitable for gardenia plants and cause the roots to rot.

Recommending Gardenia Varieties to Grow

You will be a gardenia expert once you have mastered the techniques of successfully growing them. These plants are irresistible, heat-loving plants that come in many varieties that all produce stunning blooms and fragrances.

Hardy Gardenias

These plants are extremely hardy in zones 6-11 and can withstand freezing temperatures in the winter.

  • ‘Belmont’
  • ‘Daisy’
  • ‘Chuck Hayes’
  • ‘Celestial Star’
  • ‘Frostproof’


Dwarf Gardenias

These dwarf varieties can be grown in small containers and are easier to grow. They can be brought inside in colder climates and are suitable for zones 8-11. They can also be used as borders.

  • ‘Four Seasons’
  • ‘Golden Magic’
  • ‘Radicans’


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