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Native to tropical and subtropical regions of the world, gardenia, the genus, was named in honor of the Scottish-born American naturalist, Dr. Alexander Garden. This flower is associated with rich meaning, making its presence or gifting a highly valued symbolic gesture. As with most flowers, specific feelings have been dedicated to gardenia.

What does the Gardenia Mean?

Gardenia flowers are borne on evergreen shrubs or small trees, with very bright to dark green glossy foliage and white flowers bone on stem ends in clusters or alone. Although this flower is only used in very small arrangement of floating flowers, its scent makes it a must in most events. Floating gardenia along with other flowers like the pink-purple vinca, marigold and hibiscus, and a few floating candles make a very pretty picture when used to light up a corner or as a centerpiece in earthen brass or glass ware.

Gardenia flowers mean secret love, purity, and joy. Beauty and lovely too are words associated with this flower. Usually these flowers are given as a confession of love. So, if you have a girl or boy that you have been in love with for a while, and do not know how to tell him/her about your feelings, you can simply give them a bouquet of gardenias, with a note. These flowers are prized for their sweet and refreshing fragrance. They are also used in wedding ceremonies because of their symbolization of love, purity, joy, and beauty. Because of its meaning, many parents nowadays are naming their daughters after this beautiful and delicate flower.

Plant Care

Gardenias bloom in mid-spring to early summer, and has a very prolonged flowering season. They are hardy plants and do well in most environmental conditions. They can be grown in pots, containers, and on the ground. They make for a very scented hedge (if you have the time and patience to shape it). They prefer a rich, acid soil with a pH maintained between 4.5 - 5.5.

Water gardenia plants well during dry months, as their leaves are quick to wilt. They cannot tolerate both; dry or frost. However, too much water will cause bud drop. Hence, the soil must be kept slightly moist, and not wet.

Plant gardenia in a 'not too sunny' location, where they can get both shade and sun. The plant should be fertilized once a month, especially when flower buds begin to appear. Many pest such as the scales, aphids, spider mites, thrips, whiteflies, etc., constantly keep attacking it. Most of them are found nestled together on the underside of leaves or close to flower stems. These pests can be the reason for bud or leaf drop to occur. Specific germicides are available to control this menace. During winters, ensure protection against frost. If in pots, bring the plant in a well-lit room, and for outdoor ones, cover with a frost cloth. Prune the plant before the onset of spring, or after the last frost.