Did you know that the yellow dye extracted from the fruit of Gardenia jasminoides is used to dye food and clothes?Gardenia jasminoides are evergreen and flowering shrubs, which are popular around the world. The plant has shiny emerald leaves and white, fragrant flowers which bloom in summer, making the plant even more beautiful. It is one of the favored choice among plants used in flower gardens.
This plant grows up to 4-8 feet in height and spreads to around 6 feet in width. It is not native to North America, but can be grown easily, if its basic needs are met. Below, are various care factors you need to maintain while growing this plant.
This plant can be planted year-around in USDA zone 8-11. It can grow in part shade or part sun. It requires good amount of light, moisture, and warm environment. So maintain these requirements when growing gardenias indoors as houseplants or outdoor shrubs.
It is important to maintain the right temperature during the day and night, when growing these plants. If the appropriate temperature is not maintained, then it will discourage the plant to form buds. So, maintain 60 - 65° F (15.5 - 18.3° C ) during night, and 70 - 75°F (21.1 - 23.8° C) during the day.
The fragrance of gardenia jasminoides is strong, so it's best if you plant it in a place where its smell can spread easily. It can be planted near a wall, deck, or patio; so that its fragrance is carried easily throughout the landscape. When planting them, keep a distance of at least 40 inches between each plant.
The preferred soil for gardenia care should be rich, acidic, moisture-retentive, and well drained. Use a soil which has 6 or higher pH. This is a calcifuge plant, which means it doesn't tolerate alkaline soil. If the soil is not acidic enough, then many plant problems can occur.
Gardenia jasminoides requires average watering. However, supply the plant adequate water on a regular basis. But, take care not to over water the plant. In many cases, it can moderately tolerate drought conditions. Stick a finger in the soil, if the soil feels dry then water the plant. Avoid using very hard water for gardenia, however if there is no soft water, then add some vinegar to the hard water to lower its pH.
Gardenias favors humid conditions. If the plant is indoor then fill a bowl with pebbles and pour water in it. Maintain the water level just a bit below the topmost layer of pebbles. Place the plant over this bowl. Ensure the plant never sits in water. You can also mist the 'leaves' of the plant to raise humidity.
It can be grown in part shade or part sun. During the hottest climate, protect the plant by keeping it in shade.
It requires fertilization twice in a year, for maintaining dark green leaves. Fertilize during early spring (before the flowers appear), and during early summer. Buy an iron chelate fertilizer and mix with an acidic soil mixture. For potted plants, provide feed once in two weeks during the period of spring to fall. Take care about the amount of fertilizer you use, because sometimes the flower buds drop due to poor soil conditions and use of too much fertilizer.
The propagation can be done by simple layering. For simple layering, just bend a low-growing and flexible stem to the ground. Another way to propagate this plant is by softwood cuttings.
For container gardening, it can be grown in any type of container, but clay pots are preferred. You will need to repot gardenias every 2-3 years. If you keep your potted gardenias outside, then place them in a shaded spot. In case the temperature falls below 60°F, bring them inside.
You can prune the plant with shears. Make sure you prune this plant after the flowering season, which is after summer. Because, one can by mistake trim out the flowering buds during the flowering season. When the plant becomes dormant, pinch off the tips. This will boost the amount of blooms next season.
This plant has shallow roots, that can damage easily. So, be careful when removing weeds near the plant. You can lay two inches of organic mulch around the plant to discourage the growth of weeds and retain moisture.
There are no major pest diseases that attack this plant. But, sometimes scale, white-fly, or spider mites may attack the plant. Many times sooty mold, which looks dark in color can affect the leaves. To treat this problem use a horticultural oil spray and wash the leaves with soapy water. They are susceptible to nematodes, so make sure you buy the plants having nematode-resistant rootstock. Another common problem with this plant is chlorosis, which turns the foliage yellow. To treat this problem acidify the soil and maintain moist soil.
You must be wondering, there are quite many care factors one needs to pay attention to, when maintaining gardenia jasminoides. However, if you follow the above instructions properly, well-maintained gardenias may bloom second time during the fall!