How to Plant a Gardenia

Опубликовал Admin
14-12-2020, 02:50
Gardenias are evergreens with white billowy blossoms and a sweet, intense perfume that permeates the air in Southern gardens from spring through summer. They do best in places with high humidity and can be planted in the ground or in pots. See Step 1 to learn how to plant a gardenia.

Choosing a Variety and Preparing to Plant

  1. Pick a gardenia variety suited to your climate. Most gardenia varieties thrive in places with high humidity and plenty of rainfall, like the Southeastern US. Certain hardy varieties can make it through the winter with some protection, and others are suitable for growing in pots and bringing indoors when the temperature gets cold.
    • Varieties suitable for outdoor planting in humid climates include Golden Magic, Aimee, August Beauty, Miami Supreme, and Mystery.
    • Varieties hardy enough to withstand colder temperatures include Chuck Hayes, Klein’s Hardy, Grif’s Select, and Shooting Star
    • Varieties that do well in pots that are brought inside in the winter include White Gem, Veitchii, Radicans, and Kimura Shikazaki.
  2. Choose a place to plant your gardenia. Gardenias need full sun to light shade. Choose a spot that's high in the yard and not too close to other shrubs and trees, so the roots don't get crowded. If you can, plant the gardenia in close range to a window or porch so that you'll be able to enjoy its sweet scent when it blooms.
    • In very hot parts of the southern US gardenias like morning sun and afternoon shade if possible. In cooler areas they will do well in full sun.
  3. Test the soil for acidity. Gardenias require acidic soil with a pH between 5 and 6. If you're not sure about your soil's pH level, get a soil testing kit and find out. Soil that's close to concrete edging and paths tends to be more acidic than soil in other spots. If the soil's pH is over 6, you'll need to amend it before planting your gardenia.
  4. Amend the soil if necessary. If your soil has a high pH and low nutrient content, amend it by mixing in sulphur and compost. Use a tiller or a garden hoe to till the soil to the depth of 12 inches (30.5 cm) and work in the materials to distribute them evenly. Test the soil again to make sure the pH level is correct before planting.
  5. Plant in the spring or fall. If you live in a warm climate, it's fine to plant the gardenia in either the spring or the fall. If you live in a colder climate, plant in the spring so the gardenia has time to stabilize before the cold snap comes. The gardenia will produce blooms when the weather warms.

Planting and Caring for Outdoor Gardenias

  1. Water the spot where you're planting the gardenia. The soil should be moist and rich to provide the right environment for the gardenia.
  2. Dig a hole as deep as the root ball of the gardenia and twice as wide. This will give the gardenia's roots plenty of room to spread out.
  3. Set the gardenia in the hole. Remove the pot or any burlap or other substance from the gardenia plant's roots and place it in the hole you dug. Loosen the plant's roots or gently work them apart if it is root bound. Refill the hole with the soil you took out. Water the gardenia well to settle the soil.
  4. Mulch around the gardenia's base. Use wood chips or pine straw to cover the area around the base of the gardenia. This will protect the roots from cool temperatures and prevent water loss in warm weather.
  5. Keep the gardenia watered. Gardenias need regular water all summer long - at least an inch of rain or water per week. During times of heavy rainfall, there's no need to water. Monitor the soil and water the gardenia whenever the soil looks a little dry.
    • Avoid wetting the leaves when you water the gardenia. Water close to the roots so that the sun doesn't burn the plant.
  6. Fertilize once a month during spring and summer. To keep the gardenia looking its best, use an acid-loving fertilizer, blood meal, coffee grounds, spent tea, compost, there are many effective options. At the same time, be careful not to over fertilize.
  7. Prune the gardenia. Prune it once in early spring to shape the bush and get it ready for the growing season. After the flowers have finished blooming, prune the gardenia once more to remove dead flowers and branches.
  8. Look for signs of pest infestation. Gardenias are prone to getting infested with several different types of insects, especially white flies, scales and mealy bugs. If you see signs of infestation, use a horticultural oil or insecticidal soap to take care of the problem.

Planting and Caring for Potted Gardenias

  1. Choose a pot with good drainage. Look for one that is just slightly wider and deeper than the root ball of the plant you are going to pot. Be sure to use a gardenia variety suitable for pot growing so that the gardenia doesn't outgrow the container.
  2. Fill the pot with potting mix. Choose a good houseplant potting mix without added fertilizer to fill the pot. Make sure the potting mix states that the pH is below 6. Place enough of the potting mix in the pot so that the top of the root ball will be about 1 ⁄2 inches (3.8 cm) below the rim.
  3. Add warm water to the potting medium until it feels moist. Mix it well so there are no dry pockets.
  4. Center the gardenia in the new pot. Fill in around the gardenia with potting soil to the top of the root ball.
  5. Add fertilizer. Mix an acidic water soluble fertilizer formulated for gardenias as directed on the package for potted plants. Water the pot with the fertilizer solution until water drains from the bottom.
  6. Add more potting mix if the mix settled below the root ball. There should be about 1 inch (2.5 cm) of space between the pot rim and the top of the planting medium in the pot.
  7. Place the pot in a sunny spot. Potted gardenias are perfect for sunny porches or patios. Make sure the pot isn't too shaded, or the gardenia won't bloom.
  8. Water the gardenia at the same time each week. Potted gardenias only need to be watered once a week. Give the gardenia a good inch of water on the same morning each week. Water the roots, not the leaves, to keep the sun from burning the plant.
  9. Bring the pot indoors in the winter. If you live in a cool place, you'll need to overwinter the gardenia inside. Before the first frost in the fall, bring the pot inside and put it in a sunny, humid room. If the air in your house is dry, and it probably is, run a humidifier in the room with the gardenia to keep humidity high enough for the plant. It may also help to set the pot on a tray filled with pebbles and water
  10. Repot gardenias every 2 years in the spring. Gardenias will slowly outgrow their pots after about 2 years. Buy a larger pot and repot your gardenia to keep it healthy.


  • Use smaller varieties of gardenia for potted indoor plants.
  • If you cannot find a fertilizer for gardenias a fertilizer for azaleas or blueberries will work.
  • If your soil is not naturally acidic you may need to fertilize your outside gardenias with acidic fertilizer several times a year even if you amended the soil before planting.
  • Gardenias like cool temperatures, (about 65ºF or 18.3ºC) in the winter but a long, warm summer.
  • Indoor gardenias do better if they have a summer vacation outside.
  • If you are growing gardenias from cuttings, then it is best to plant them in a pot and transfer them to the ground when they have grown into a shrub.


  • Gardenias require high humidity and the medium in their pot should always be moist when kept indoors.
  • Keep gardenias well watered outside.

Things You’ll Need

  • Acidic fertilizer
  • Potting medium for indoor plants
  • Pots with good drainage
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