The flowers of gardenia may be white or yellowish, and grow on evergreen shrubs. This genus also features some trees. Altogether, they add up to more than 200 species, plus plenty of individual cultivars.
Gardenias are native to tropical parts of the world, including certain regions of Asia and Africa, as well as Australia, Madagascar, and the Pacific Islands.
Since gardenias may be grown successfully in zones 7 through 11, they have since been cultivated in other regions. They can do well throughout the southern US.
Some gardeners find gardenias a little bit intimidating. They can be fussy, and need more care and attention than some other perennials. But putting in the effort can pay off in many ways. Here are some reasons to give gardenia growing a go:
Gardenias are available in an impressive size range. At the lower end, you have gardenias that grow to be only around 2 feet tall. But at the upper end, you can find gardenias that grow to be up to 15 feet tall and 8 feet wide! That means that if you have limited space in your garden, you can plant gardenias. But if you have plenty of space and are looking to increase your privacy, gardenias can also help.
Even though gardenia flowers are always white or close to white, you can still find lots of cultivars with different appearances. You will be surprised by just how many bloom shapes there are as well as size variation in the blossoms.
If you want, you can plant smaller varieties of gardenias indoors, and keep them there year-round.
Gardenias make lovely cut flowers. You can incorporate them into arrangements, or just put one or more blossoms in a bowl of water. They will float on the surface.
Deer and other mammals usually do not like dining on gardenias.
Gardenias are prized as much for their fragrant scent as they are for their white flowers.
You can enjoy the evergreen foliage of your gardenias even in the winter.
Even though gardenias require some extra work with watering, pruning, and humidity, in other respects, they are actually easy. For example, you never have to divide them. This is not the case with a lot of other perennials.
Recommended Gardenia Varieties
There are many varieties and cultivars of these fragrant flowers worth considering. Here are a few of our favorites:
Kleim’s Hardy: This is one of the best dwarf varieties of gardenia for long bloom times. It blooms in summer, and then again in autumn. Since it can survive temperatures as low as 10 degrees Fahrenheit, it is suitable for cooler climates.
Chuck Hayes: Another type of gardenia to consider for a cool location is this one that blooms twice per season, rewarding you with blooms every summer and fall.
Aimee: This cultivar goes by several different names: “Aimee,” “Aimee Yoshida,” or “First Love.” The double flowers are an impressive 4-5 inches in diameter, blooming in late spring and early summer.
Buttons: An option for growing gardenias as potted plants is the dwarf “Buttons” cultivar. The flowering season is late spring through early summer, and the attractive blooms feature button centers.
Variegata: If you are looking for something that doesn’t just produce basic green leaves, you may enjoy the variegated green and yellow leaves on this type of gardenia.
August Beauty: These fragrant plants have a long bloom season spanning spring through autumn, and produce stunning double blooms.
Crown Jewel: Known as the “jewel of dwarf gardenias,” this plant tolerates cold conditions and grows in a spreading habit.
Pinwheel: For really distinctive-looking blooms, consider this cultivar, aptly named for the shape of its flowers, which have long, narrow petals making them reminiscent of pinwheels.
Veitchii: This lovely cultivar features breathtaking double flowers in spring and summer. It is among the oldest cultivars of gardenias.
Mystery: For white flowers that turn a creamy color as the season progresses, think about “Mystery.”
Tahitian Gardenia: One of the most unusual types of gardenia is the Tahitian gardenia, which actually comprises multiple cultivars. The flowers may vary in shape and even include yellow centers.
Fortuniana: If you want a large cultivar of gardenia which produces a lot of double flowers, you will love “Fortuniana.”
When Do Gardenias Bloom?
Some gardenias bloom as early as spring. Others bloom in summer, or even into the start of autumn.
How Long Do Gardenias Bloom?
Gardenias may bloom for a few weeks. The majority of gardenias only bloom once per season. But you can find some re-blooming cultivars.
When to Plant Gardenias
You can plant your gardenias in spring or autumn. The time to avoid planting is summer, when it is too hot.