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Gardenia jasminoides or augusta

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Zone 8-10

Gardenia is a lovely shrub from South China growing as tall as 8 feet, but usually smaller. Gardenias are evergreens with compact stems and dark green leaves when properly planted and properly fertilized

As you can see, the pure white flowers are gorgeous, rose-like at their peak of appearance. Flowers continue to open, getting flatter, but still very nice to see. Blooms appear in spring in South Florida, usually April and May. They have been traditional corsage flowers for many years. Floridians like to pick flowers and float them in shallow bowls indoors

Of course, the flower fragrance of the gardenia is also a major attraction. They have a very sweet smell like some jasmine flowers, hence the Latin name jasminoides

Gardenia is happy in southern zone 8, all of zone 9 as well as South Florida's zone 10. Some species are dwarf and grown as houseplants as well. Various varieties can do different work for your landscape, especially 'Miami Supreme' which has the largest flowers of all

The primary key to gardenias is to start with a highly acid soil. We like to mix 40% Canadian peat moss with our native sandy soil plus some quality nursery mix with manure. This seems excessive but it always gets results with excellent foliage and fewer pests. Nematodes are a common problem so fresh soil helps a lot

Provide high shifting shade (like tall pine trees) to near full sun for best performance. Provide reasonable drainage, water regularly but not excessively so as not to strain your gardenia. Critical is to use acid forming fertilizer. Locally, most gardenias have poor foliage for reasons of soil, or fertilizer, or both

Gardenias must taste good to bugs as they can get white-flies, sooty-mold, cottony cushion scale, mealy bugs and nematodes

If you want a fine gardenia, make soil #1 your priority before you plant. Use an acid fertilizer in early spring and throughout the warm months

Named Gardenia varieties locally available include:

  • Gardenia  augusta - Common Gardenia
  • Gardenia  augusta - 'Aimee' First Love
  • Gardenia  augusta - 'August Beauty'
  • Gardenia  augusta - 'Miami Supreme'
  • Gardenia  augusta - 'Mystery'
  • Gardenia  augusta - 'Radicans' Dwarf
  • Gardenia  carinata -  Pic, #1   #2   #3   #4   #5
  • Gardenia  taitensis - Tahitian or Jamaican Gardenia, pic
  • Gardenia  thunbergia
  • Gardenia  tubifera - Gold Gardenia
  • Gardenia  Veitchii

Other gardenias include the Tahitian Gardenia (not from Tahiti), Gardenia taitensis, and Gardenia 'nitida', Tabernaemontana holsterii (not a true gardenia, related to jasmine, very powerful scent)