Gardenia jasminoides, Gardenia is one of the most fragrant plants around: Smell this flowering
shrub once and you're likely to remember it forever! Happily, gardenia
is good for both its fragrance and good looks; it has single or double
pure-white blooms that often mature to a rich golden-yellow color as
they age. The white flowers are a beautiful accent to the shrub's shiny
dark green evergreen foliage.
Gardenia is a favorite in containers everywhere, and also as a landscape
shrub in partially shaded beds and borders in the South. While Northern
gardeners can bring these beauties indoors for winter, they can be
finicky houseplants and drop their leaves when they're not happy.
Outdoors, grow gardenias in part shade and moist, well-drained soil.
Like many other garden plants, they appreciate lots of organic matter --
such as compost -- in the soil. They also prefer acidic soil (just like
azaleas, rhododendrons, and blueberries), so amend alkaline soil with
Keep the soil moist, but not wet; gardenias aren't drought tolerant but
also don't like soppy, saturated ground. They like a layer of mulch over
the soil around their roots to help keep the soil cool on hot-summer
days. (This counts for containers, too!)
Fertilize gardenias in spring and summer with a fertilizer formulated
for acid-loving plants. Follow the guidelines set on the fertilizer
package for application rate and frequency.
If you want to try going gardenia as a flowering houseplant, grow it in a
bright window. Water when the soil starts to dry and fertilize with a
product made for acid-loving plants. Don't move it around; this can
cause it to drop leaves.