gardenia care

Gardenia Flower: Types, How To Grow and Care

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Gardenias are known internationally for their sweet fragrance and beautiful waxy petals. This evergreen flower has a very shiny dark green foliage. As a result, they sure catch everyone’s attention, as they are a very popular ornamental shrub.

Even though this flower is relatively easy to grow, they do require gardeners to follow certain steps to grow gardenias successfully.

Are you interested in sowing your gardenias and filling a garden with these flowers? Keep on reading this article!

Basic Facts about Gardenia Plant

gardenia flower
  • Its scientific name is Gardenia augusta. They belong to the coffee family of plants Rubiaceae.
  • Although they are native to South Africa, China, Taiwan, and Japan, nowadays, they can be grown all over the world. 
  • According to the US Department of Agriculture, this type of flower will thrive best in zones 8 through 12. However, they can also be grown indoors.
  • Its petals can be white or yellow.
  • Some people confuse them with jasmine flowers.
  • It is an ornamental shrub.

How To Grow Gardenia Flowers

white gardenia flower

Gardenias will healthily grow if they are exposed to full sun. However, they also appreciate a partially shaded area, especially in zones where the heat is too strong during the summer. This flower prefers humid areas as they would struggle to grow in arid conditions or in places where droughts are common.

It would be best to sow this flower in early fall or spring. Ideally, you would reserve an area for this shrub to grow by itself, and it would be great if they were planted in a raised bed as this will give them all the room they need. 

gardenia flowers in bloom

Do know that gardenias love to have their roots spread out throughout the soil; keep this in mind when designing a garden.

Soil Requirements

garden shovel

This flower needs acidic soil to thrive. If unsure about the type of soil you have, purchase a kit, they are easy to use and will let you know in no time what your soil has and what it’s lacking. 

Water Needs

gardenia flower with dewdrops

Gardenias love water, and they need to be watered at least an inch a week. If water is abundant where you live, you can add some more. However, make sure their soil is draining well, as these plants won’t survive puddles of water around them. 


wood chips

Regardless of how much water they receive, gardenias will benefit from mulch. This way you will make sure the soil is moist and the plants are safe. 

Feeding Gardenias

If possible, feed the gardenia tree with an organic fertilizer. Alternatively, you could add some doses of coffee grounds to the soil. You could compost it first or you could apply it directly to the soil.


Every gardenias’ cultivar will agree on one thing: do not worry when the beautiful white flowers turn slightly brown! This is a clear sign that something is going on with the plant, but it doesn’t necessarily mean the plant is dying. 

On the contrary, it’s just asking for attention. If you prune the tips after flowering, you will reduce this drastic change of color for the following season. 

gardenia flower in bloom

Winter Protection

Applying mulch is necessary during this time, especially if you live in a cold gardening zone. Alternatively, add some breathable fabric that allows your plants to keep the warmth within them. 

Gardenias are not fond of cold climates. If this is where you live, bring the gardenia plants indoors during the winter months.


The best time to propagate gardenia is during the summer. Cut the tip of a strong branch, take away all of the blooms it may have and remove some spent leaves. Place it in a cup and fill it with water. It will start blooming within a couple of days. This cutting could then be planted when it’s long enough.  

How To Care for Gardenias

gardenia bud and full bloom flower

If growing indoors, make sure you mimic nature’s conditions. This way, your plants will grow healthily. They need plenty of sunlight to thrive, but avoid placing them too close to doors or windows, as the plant could be affected by cold winds.

During this time, it won’t be necessary to water them as often as before. In fact, they will only require water once a week or so, depending on the location.

gardenia bud

Sometimes, gardenias like to tell their cultivars that something is not going right, and they do so in numerous ways. For example:

Yellow Leaves

If gardenia trees are grown in alkaline or clay soils, they will immediately know it. You will too, as their petals will turn yellow or sometimes will even get a green vein that goes across. This is referred to as chlorosis and it means the plant is in need of iron.

If this is the case, go to your local nursery and ask for an organic fertilizer for this plant. This way, you will be able to slightly amend the soil and the plant! 

Pests and Diseases

This flower is highly susceptible to mealybugs and scales, and they are usually found underneath the leaves or where the stems almost touch the soil. 

These pests are easy to identify though: if there are hard, brown shells that seem to be immobile, then these are the scales. If, on the other hand, there are white cottony egg sacks, then these are the mealybugs. 

You can make or purchase an organic insecticidal soap that will help you combat these pests.

fragrant gardenia

Types of Gardenia Tree

There are more than 250 types of gardenias. Here are the most common varieties of this plant:


It has double white flowers. They are ideal for containers as an ornamental plant, although they tend to grow slowly.


They too have double flowers. However, this variety is bigger than the rest of the gardenia bushes. They prefer to be fully exposed to the sun unless they are sown in a very hot location.


This dwarf variety is often used as a cover crop or groundcover. Their whole life’s mission is to bring nutrients back to the soil.

Miami Supreme

This is one of the largest types of gardenia bush, as it can reach up to 6 feet in height. It also has double flowers and white petals. It will bloom from spring through summer. 

Summer Snow

As its name suggests, this variety of gardenia shrub is very hardy. In fact, they could even be grown in USDA zone 6 without the need to protect it with a breathable fabric.


Also known as ‘’First Love,’’ this type of plant has larger flowers and is overall a larger shrub in comparison to other varieties. They will bloom throughout the spring.

gardenia flower in full bloom


Here are some of the most common questions about this flower:


When people first encounter a gardenia flower, they will be amazed by its scent. It’s one of the best smelling flowers. These extremely fragrant flowers have an innate ability to make everyone happy solely by their presence!

They dislike overcrowded areas, and sometimes, gardeners struggle trying to see what these plants enjoy, so they can thrive. But with these simple tips, your gardenias will bloom in no time!

Don’t forget to check our blog for more flowers and ornamental plants with names and pictures.

Up next: Gardenia Flower Meaning and Symbolism

*image by kaewphoto/depositphotos

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