Gardenia jasminoides Gardenia, Cape Jasmine Medium-sized shrub

This medium-sized evergreen, which is prized for its highly fragrant, white, cream, or ivory flowers, reaches heights of four to six feet with an equal spread. Mature shrubs are round in appearance with dark green, glossy leaves that have pointed tips.

In spring and intermittingly throughout the warm weather, gardenia flowers add a wonderful fragrance to the garden. Sometimes, flower buds drop or flowers die from too much hot air or plant stress. Gardenias like well-draining, slightly acidic soils that are high in organic material. When planting in the ground, mix mulch and organic compost with the soil. In the spring, add ammonium phosphate fertilizer to the soil and water it thoroughly. Use a light amount of iron fertilizer at the same time to prevent iron chlorosis. Fertilize it again in the summer during the monsoon season to encourage blooms. Avoid fertilizing it in fall to prevent stimulating new growth that would be susceptible to early winter frosts. Gardenias prefer filtered sun to shade. They can sunburn if planted in full sun. The plant is hardy into the low twenties Fahrenheit and should be protected during prolonged periods of frost. Provide ample to moderate irrigation and good air circulation to help prevent infestations of diseases and insects. Use it in containers in protected areas or on patios and porches or use it as an understory plant beneath trees for woodsy or tropical effects or in oriental gardens. Many different varieties are available. The plant is native to Southern China, Japan, and Taiwan.

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