The delicate appearance and exceptional fragrance of gardenia flowers have earned these plants a place of honour in the hearts of many a romantic – it’s no wonder they’re referred to as the flower of love. But growing a gardenia can sometimes be a challenge.
Under ideal conditions gardenias will bloom prolifically, starting in late spring and continuing through summer. The last stray buds on the shrub in autumn may manage to hang on, tightly closed, to bloom early the following spring. If this is not the case with your gardenia, we had best take a look at what they need.
Gardenias prefer warm, humid gardens in subtropical regions, but will also grow in cooler climates in pots on patios if they are protected against cold winds and frost.
What they need
Direct sun (but not the warmest spot in the garden) or light shade. Morning sun and afternoon shade is ideal. Once in flower, potted gardenias can be moved indoors to a room with plenty of natural light, but once the number of blooms reduces they should be moved outside again. The soil must drain well and be enriched with copious amounts of compost and a handful of bonemeal or superphosphate.
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