Gardenias

  • Soil: Gardenias require a deep, well-structured soil which has been enriched with compost. The soil should have good drainage and the plants need to be regularly watered, particularly during dry periods, as the buds will drop if the plant is drought stressed. Planting gardenias in more alkaline soils can cause yellowing of the leaves. This is due to a magnesium deficiency.
  • Position: Gardenias love acidic soils. However, they require a warm, sheltered position in the garden which is protected from frost. They prefer a position which receives early morning sun but is lightly shaded later in the day. If subjected to extreme fluctuations in temperature the buds can often drop without opening. In full sun, the flowering parts of the plant can scorch so, for best results, take care when choosing a suitable position.
  • Fertilising: Fertilise monthly during the growing season with azalea and camellia food.
  • Mulching: Mulching gardenias generously with a quality mulch will keep your plants healthy throughout the year.
  • Companion Plants: To add a wonderful perfume to the floral display provided by your gardenias combine them with camellias, azaleas or rhododendrons. These plants will all grow well planted together in the same bed.
  • Pests: An infestation of nematodes can lead to leaf yellowing and may finally kill your gardenias if not treated. There are several good products on the market that will kill nematodes. However, if you prefer an organic option, plant marigolds around your gardenias as they interfere with the reproductive cycle of the nematodes. Gardenias are also susceptible to attack from scale insects. Use white oil to rid the plant of these pests. Weevils, aphids, thrips, mealy bugs and hawk moth caterpillars can also be a problem. These can be managed with a general pest spray.
  • Pruning: After flowering, you can prune your gardenias lightly to maintain shape.