Adding a gardenia to the home landscape guarantees sweet-smelling summers. The fragrant gardenia has a prolific, long blooming season, which means you can cut flowers to enjoy indoors while leaving others on the stem. Consider several factors when selecting the perfect place to plant a gardenia.
Gardenias, also called cape jasmine, can be difficult to grow. To avoid shock and damage to the gardenia, plant only in the spring or fall.
Choose a sunny or partially shady spot for the gardenia, preferably close to a window or porch so you can reap the benefits of the plant's fragrance. Do not plant too close to concrete, as this may interfere with the acidity of the soil. Pick a spot where the gardenia's roots will not have to compete with the roots of nearby trees for water.
Gardenias like soil with a pH of 5.0 to 6.0. Add sulphur, if necessary, to lower the pH, or choose a more acidic area of the garden. Add plenty of compost to the planting hole and apply mulch after the gardenia is planted.
Gardenias like moist soil and humidity. Plant near a garden fountain or pond to add beauty and provide the plants with humidity. Keep some distance, to avoid the soil acidity problem if the fountain is concrete. Avoid planting in sandy or fast-draining soil, which can dry out the plant's root system.
Primarily a Southern plant, gardenias are hardy in USDA Zones 8 to 10, but a new Virginia variety is hardy in Zones 7 to 10.
Audrey Lynn has been a journalist and writer since 1974. She edited a weekly home-and-garden tabloid for her hometown newspaper and has regularly contributed to weekly and daily newspapers, as well as "Law and Order" magazine. A Hambidge Fellow, Lynn studied English at Columbus State University.