How to Grow, Sow, and Plant Gardenias in Your Garden

A Comprehensive Guide

By John Ehrling Posted on 3/27/23

If you’re looking for a plant that adds beauty and fragrance to your garden, gardenias are an excellent choice. These evergreen shrubs are native to Asia and have shiny dark green leaves and large, fragrant white flowers. In this blog post, we’ll cover how to grow, sow, and plant gardenias in your garden.


Growing Gardenias


Before planting your gardenia, it’s important to choose the right location. Gardenias prefer acidic soil with good drainage and partial shade. They can tolerate full sun but are prone to leaf scorch if exposed to too much heat. If you live in a colder climate, gardenias can be grown in containers and brought indoors during the winter Gardenias can be grown from seeds or propagated from cuttings. However, it’s important to note that gardenias grown from seeds may not produce the same quality of flowers as the parent plant. If you choose to grow from seed, start them indoors in early spring and keep them in a warm, humid environment until they germinate. Propagation from cuttings is the preferred method for most gardeners. Take a cutting from a healthy gardenia plant in the spring or summer. Remove the bottom leaves and dip the cutting in rooting hormone. Plant the cutting in a container with a well-draining potting mix and keep it in a warm, humid environment until it establishes roots.

Source: jalexartis Photography

Planting and Caring for Gardenias


To plant gardenias, dig a hole that is two to three times wider than the root ball of your plant. Place the gardenia in the hole and backfill with soil. Make sure the plant is planted at the same depth as it was in its previous container. Water the gardenia thoroughly after planting. To keep your gardenia healthy, it’s important to provide it with regular water and fertilizer. Gardenias prefer to be consistently moist, so make sure to water them deeply once a week or as needed. Use a fertilizer specifically formulated for acid-loving plants, and apply it in the spring and summer. Prune your gardenia after it finishes blooming to remove any dead or diseased wood. Gardenias can also be pruned to maintain a desired shape or size.


Types of Gardenias


There are many varieties of gardenias, each with its own unique characteristics. The popularity of gardenia cultivars can vary depending on the region and individual preferences. However, some of the top 5 most popular gardenias to grow are:

  1. Veitchii – This cultivar is known for its double flowers and vigorous growth habit. It blooms in late spring and early summer and has a strong, sweet fragrance.
  2. Mystery – This cultivar produces large, fragrant white flowers with ruffled petals. It blooms in mid to late spring and is a popular choice for its intense fragrance.
  3. Radicans – This low-growing cultivar is often used as a groundcover or in hanging baskets. It produces smaller, single flowers with a sweet fragrance and blooms from spring to fall.
  4. August Beauty – This cultivar is known for its glossy, dark green foliage and large, double flowers with a sweet scent. It blooms from late spring to early summer.
  5. Kleim’s Hardy – This cultivar is known for its cold hardiness, making it a great choice for gardeners in colder climates. It produces small, single white flowers with a sweet fragrance and blooms from late spring to early summer.
Large gardenia bush
Source: Gardening Solutions

Gardenia Pests and Diseases


Gardenias are prone to several pests and diseases, which can affect their growth and overall health. Some of the most common pests and diseases that affect gardenias are:

  1. Whiteflies: These tiny insects feed on the leaves of gardenias, causing them to turn yellow and drop prematurely. To prevent whiteflies, you can use insecticidal soap or neem oil sprays.
  2. Mealybugs: Mealybugs are another common pest that can infest gardenias. They leave behind a sticky residue on the leaves and stems and can cause stunted growth. To control mealybugs, use a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol to remove them from the plant.
  3. Scale insects: Scale insects are another common gardenia pest that can cause yellowing and dropping of leaves. To control them, use a horticultural oil spray or remove them manually with a soft brush.
  4. Root rot: Gardenias are prone to root rot, which can be caused by overwatering or poorly draining soil. To prevent root rot, make sure the soil is well-draining and water gardenias only when the top inch of soil is dry.
  5. Powdery mildew: Powdery mildew is a fungal disease that can cause a white, powdery coating on the leaves of gardenias. To prevent powdery mildew, make sure the plants are in a location with good air circulation and avoid overhead watering.
  6. Leaf spot: Leaf spot is another fungal disease that can cause dark spots on the leaves of gardenias. To prevent leaf spot, avoid overhead watering and remove any infected leaves.
Bug on gardenia
Source: stoicshot

In conclusion, gardenias are a beautiful addition to any garden. With the right location, soil, and care, you can enjoy their fragrant flowers for years to come. Remember to keep the soil acidic, provide regular water and fertilizer, and prune as needed. If you’re looking to start adding gardenia’s to your garden, consider planning ahead by using Hortisketch to plan your gardenia garden.