Everything you need to know about Gardenia

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Are you looking for a compact garden reinforcement? A natural home-décor solution like no other? Meet Gardenia! The shrub that can give your landscape the floral flair it deserves.

Whilst many only see its outer beauty, growing and sustaining Gardenia requires skill, commitment and consistency.

Read through our in-depth analysis and get to know everything about Gardenia.

There is a lot to take into consideration

In a bid to attain the glossy clusters of flowers hastily, gardeners end up using substandard methods of cultivation.

As a result, this causes gardenia not to bloom and flower buds to fall off. Knowing the preferred methods of pruning and maintenance strategies will set you off a long way and improve your skills as far as gardening is concerned.

By the end of this, you will understand how the following factors affect the growth of Gardenia:

  • Soil acidity
  • Humidity and temperature
  • Type of organic matter
  • Pests and diseases

Categories of Gardenia

Gardenia has proven to be both a traditional and modern corsage; thanks to its adornment in weddings and events.

However, there are approximately 250 types of Gardenia, with different characteristics, adaptations, and uses. This would make it hard to choose the best type of cultivar for you.

Luckily, the 4 categories below will help you decide on the most appropriate type of Gardenia:

Large Gardenia

Growing up to 12 feet tall, the large gardenia has more blooming flowers than any other type of this evergreen shrub. They make compact exquisite hedges and can also be planted along a path, near a deck or close to your doorway. Some of the cultivars that fall in this category are The Belmont, Fortuniana, Aimee and Miami Supreme. 

Dwarf Gardenia

This category can be planted in containers or even housed indoors in flower vases.

On top of that, they make excellent ground covers and scented low-borders around small plants. Examples include The crown jewel, four seasons, buttons, and golden magic- which transitions from white to gold upon maturity. 

Medium-Sized Gardenia

This category ideally offers the best of both worlds; it is neither too large nor too small. The prolific bloomers can be used as hedges, low border cultivars, or planted in containers. The most preferred ones are The Chuck Hayes Gardenia, August beauty, and Coconut Magic Gardenia.

Hardy Gardenia

People living in areas with freezing temperatures can still enjoy the fabulous waxy blooms; thanks to the Hardy Gardenia. Though Gardenia mainly thrives in sunny places, this special type has a genetic adaptation to cold regions. Examples are frostproof Gardenia, Kleim’s Hardy, Daisy and Heaven scent. Remember, it goes beyond growing and cultivation. Choosing the right type of gardenia could save you a great deal of time and resources.

Cultivation and nurturing

Temperature, moisture, and sunlight are the three main conditions for any Gardenia’s progress, regardless of the type or category. In general, it thrives in tropical and subtropical climates.

Before planting, survey your environment and choose a location with full or partial sunlight, preferably directing it towards the morning sun. A shifting shade could also work, but you would need to reinforce with artificial light.

Gardenias tend to do better in soils that have a balanced acidic pH. Therefore, ensure to test your soil using any soil testing toolkit (available in any online gardening store). Based on the results, you may opt to use catalysts such as sulphur to enrich the soil and ensure the pH ranges from 5 to 6.

The most recommended way of planting Gardenia is by using cuttings (7-10cm in length), though there is no harm using seeds or the simple layering method of propagation. The only difference is that cuttings ensure faster blooming and easier maintenance.

Like most shrubs, gardenia is better off when planted during Spring or Fall. It is also important to maintain a 3-6 feet gap between each plant.

When using cuttings, it is advisable to use a hole that is twice as deep as the root balls and a depth equal to their normal length. The same applies when planting in pots or containers. In both cases, apply peat moss and perlite (ingredients for enhancing soil mixes).

Overall, always remember:

  • Adding nutrients such as organic material and fertilizer before planting enhances growth
  • It is advisable to add some water whilst covering the plant with soil, to ensure the soil is settled and remove any residual air bubbles.
  • The soil (both in the garden and the flower pot) should be drained moderately while making sure the plant doesn’t sit in water
  • Plant gardenia where its lovely fragrance can spread easily and get evenly distributed in the landscape.

Maintenance Strategies

Despite being lionized, gardenia is prone to pests and diseases when neglected. The last thing you want is to lose your plants after spending much time planting appropriately.

Here are some of the effective measures to take:


The whole essence of pruning is to remove dead portions of a plant that prevent growth. For gardenia, pruning is not as hard when compared to shrubs such as Leylandii. This, however, does not imply you should let them grow wild.

Trimming should only be done moderately after summer to allow a better bloom in the next season. Don’t make the mistake of pruning during the flowering season.  


Once in a while, apply two to three inches of organic compost around your gardenia. Since its roots can be damaged easily, mulch will help prevent the growth of weeds and retain soil moisture.


Constant humidity all year-long improves the health of this cultivar. That is why you need to conduct average watering on a regular basis. Watering too much will expose the flowers to fungal growth, hence causing destruction. After the flowering season, gardenia does not need a lot of moisture. But during dry spells, they need frequent watering using room-temperature water. Using extremely cold water could cause stress and damages to the plants.

Controlling pests and diseases

More often than not, gardenia does not get affected easily; Even so, it is still susceptible to a few pests such as spider mites, aphids, and mealybugs. Sometimes, even common ailments such as bud drop and chlorosis which cause a change in foliage colour.

To mitigate, avoid planting gardenias close to each other, use fertilizer, clean your pruning shears, and watch the soil condition (both moisture and acidity). In extreme cases, washing the leaves with soapy water from an oil spray does the trick.

Other uses of Gardenia

Aside from landscape design, hedges, borders, screens and ground covers, gardenia has a wide range of uses; mostly as herbal medicine. Over the years, Gardenia extracts have been used for:

  • Treating headaches, fever, snake bites and numerous infections
  • Reducing nosebleeds, wounds, and swellings
  • Food colouration (yellow food colourant)
  • Fighting infections and lifestyle diseases

In spite of these profound uses, you should not use Gardenia directly from the garden, rather used the processed extracts.  

Here are some additional tips to help optimize the performance and quality of your blooms:

  • When dealing with potted Gardenia, use an iron-chelated fertilizer once in two weeks (only between spring and fall)
  • In addition, place the indoor plants strategically near windows to prevent sunlight deprivation
  • The ideal temperature of growing Gardenia is 70-75 degrees during the day and at least 60 degrees at night.
  • To enhance continuous blooming, cut off old or faded gardenia flowers below the leaf node. 


Does Gardenia attract birds and insects?

All highly scented flowers attract bees and birds. Though harmless most of the time, it is advisable to take precaution and plant them further from the walkway.

Is it advisable to plant gardenia along concrete paths?

Whilst planting gardenias near sidewalks or concrete paths seems like a good idea, planting it could lead to destruction in the long run. The soil near solid material has high alkalinity; meaning the shrubs may struggle to grow in extreme pH levels. If you have to, don’t plant them too close to the concrete.

What other shrubs are similar to Gardenia?

If gardenia fails to comply with the surroundings, you could get shrubs such as lilac, summersweet, or the Arabian Jasmine. They are equally attractive and effortlessly produce a sweet scent.


There is no greater joy than having healthy Gardenia flowers that blend with their fleshy dark-green leaves to provide a sweet fragrance and a soothing environment.

By practising the nuggets discussed in this guide, you will have a healthy, lively compound, which will, in turn, give you the satisfaction every gardener seeks.

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About Francesca Fitton 108 Articles
I have a passion for gardening and being outdoors. I blog about plant care, technology and tools that I love to use outside and invite you along to watch.

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