It can truly be said that gardenias are not only a beautiful shrub, but also a very persnickety and tricky one. Even the most experienced of gardeners will say that gardenias require extra attention to ensure that they are growing properly. Here are a few guidelines that you can use to get on the right track when dealing with this somewhat difficult bush.
- Size matters. If you are looking to have some gardenias added as an accent to your yard or lawn, then you want to make sure that you keep everything in proportion. Gardenia shrubs come in sizes that range from as small as 1 foot high and 3 feet wide (Radicans), to as high as 8 feet tall (Mystery).
- Weather conditions. Gardenias, though they are exceptionally beautiful, are somewhat temperamental plants. They do not like to be overheated, and cannot abide the cold. This means that they should only be planted in areas of the country where the nighttime temperatures will be, on average, between 50 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit, and the winters get no colder than 15 degrees Fahrenheit. That being said, gardenias will do quite well if they are grown indoors.
- Soil requirements. Make sure that the soil you are planting your gardenias in is prepared properly. Gardenias thrive in soil that is more acidic than you would normally expect (they should have a pH balance of between 5.0 and 6.0). One way that you can ensure that this happens is by using some acidifying fertilizer, peat moss, and acidic mulches.
- Moisture is good. The gardenia shrub absolutely loves humidity, and it is a good idea to maintain somewhat humid conditions. One way that you can do this is by misting the shrubs in the morning, and using a mulch to help protect the roots. Ensure that your soil is moist, but not exactly wet. If you can see the water around the bushes, then you have over watered them, the soil should be moist or damp to the touch.
- Location, location, location. If you are going to be growing your gardenias outdoors, then make sure to choose the location properly. On the average gardenias will require partial to full sun. The ideal location would be shaded in the morning, while providing full sunlight in the afternoon. Do not plant your gardenias near any sidewalks or patios. The reason for this is that concrete can adversely affect the pH balance in the soil, making it difficult for the plant to grow properly.