How to Grow Gardenias

by on September 13th, 2010
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Gardenias are often chosen by gardeners for a number of reasons, but the biggest one is for the fragrance of the flowers. Gardenias are hardy in USDA zones 9 and 10, but if you live in a zone that is colder than 9, gardenias are grown indoors as a houseplant. Gardenias are evergreen plants that are native to the tropical areas of, southern Asia and Oceania.

There are over 200 different species of Gardenia. For all its beauty, gardenias can be difficult to grow. This article will provide a few tips for gardenia growing. By learning a few simple thoughts, this plant will reward your efforts with a delightful fragrance from its many delightful white flowers.

Use The Right Soil

Gardenias are particular about the soil they grow in. If your gardenia is struggling, have the soil tested. In order for gardenias to thrive, the pH of the soil should be 4.5 to 5.5. If the gardenia is a houseplant, check the label of the potting soil to ensure that it contains the right pH level.

Growing Location

Houseplant gardenias should be in a room where the daytime temperatures remain 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. During the night, the temperatures should remain around 60 degrees Fahrenheit. If you keep the temperatures at these settings, your gardenia stands a better chance at blooming.

For your outdoor growing gardenia, place the plant in a sunny location, but avoid direct sunlight. Try to find an area that is sunny in the morning, but has some shade during the hottest part of the day. If your gardenia is growing indoors, place the pot in a sunny window. Do not put the plant in direct sunlight or the leaves may burn.


When watering your gardenia, use tepid distilled water or rain water if you have it. Tap water is all right if that is all you have, but it can harm your plant. Tap water has additives that gardenias don’t like. Watering the right way is essential to a gardenia that provides you a lot of flowers. The most crucial time of watering is during the winter. This is when gardenias along with other houseplants are often over-watered. Put your finger into the soil up to the first knuckle. If the soil feels dry, it is time to water. During the summer months, when the gardenia is actively growing, your plant may need to be watered every other day.

Increase Humidity

During the winter months, your house is often dry. This is because of the dry heat we use to make our homes warm. Gardenias need a humid environment, but not by misting the plants as you would your other plants. Misting the plants can cause a fungal growth on the leaves and this could cause your gardenia plant to die. fill a tray or saucer with rocks or large pebbles. Add water, but do not go beyond the top of the rocks or pebbles. Place the gardenia pot on top of the rocks. Add water to the tray as necessary, but do not allow the pot to sit in water.


Beginning in April and continuing through October, fertilize the gardenias every month. Choose an acidic fertilizer. Always mix and apply according to label directions.


Gardenia plants don’t need to be pruned very often, but if yours does, only prune during their dormancy period or right after they have flowered. Cut off any stems that have few leaves or are leggy in growth.


Gardening Know How: Gardenia Care to Get a Gardenia Bush to Bloom

Plant Ideas: Gardenia Cape Jasmine

“National Garden Book”; Sunset Books

“The Houseplant Expert”; Dr. D.G. Hessayon

“American Horticultural Society A to Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants”; Christopher Brickell

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