Caring for Gardenia Plants
The gardenia plant produces beautiful milk-white flowers that have an amazing fragrance. These plants really stand out in a garden area when they are in full bloom. I Have a gardenia in my front yard that has been growing for some years now and during those seasons when this plant is in full bloom the clusters of white flowers that are produced are very pleasing to the eyes that you can’t help but enjoy this beautiful display.
Many homeowners have gardenias as a part of their garden design, I was not aware of this until traveling back and forth passing many homes and seeing them beautifully growing in their front yards. If you are interested in growing and caring for these garden beauties then follow these simple steps for growing gardenias success.
Things you need to know
Here are some rules that are a must to be successful at growing gardenias.
- Planting Location
- Soil Type
- Watering Methods
- Fertilizing Methods
- Gardenia insect pests problems
- Where to install Gardenias
The planting location should be an area that gets full to partial sunlight.
The soil type for these garden beauties should be acidic and the soil ph should be anywhere from 5.0-6.0. Adding organic matter to your existing garden soil will help in building your soil to hold moisture and allow excess water to drain through.
Gardenias don’t like wet feet so avoid overwatering, the soil should be somewhat moist not waterlogged.
Fertilizer your gardenia during the growing season with a fertilizer that is formulated for acid-loving plants. During the fall and winter months discontinue fertilizing until the next growing season because this will encourage new growth which will be killed by the winter frost.
Gardenia insect pests problems
This garden beauty has its share of insect pest, here are a few to be on the lookout for.
Mealybugs and whiteflies are sucking insects that suck the sap from your garden plants which can have an adverse effect. To bring these garden insect pests under control the use of insecticidal soaps will have proven to be effective. When using chemicals read and follow the manufacturer’s label because the label is the law.
Diseases of gardenias
Gardenias do have their share of plant disease but with proper treatment, this garden beauty can bounce back. With that said let’s take a look at these diseases.
- Bud Drop
- Powdery Mildew
- Stem Canker
- Root Rot
Gardenias that are infected by bud drop is caused by those garden insect pest that was mentioned earlier. The buds of the gardenias will dry up and fall from the plant, also a black mold known as sooty mold appears on the leaves. These molds are a result of these sucking insect pests. The use of insecticidal soap or neem oil will eliminate these garden insect pests.
Powdery mildew appears as a white powder on the leaves of garden plants. This disease is encouraged because of poor air circulation. When installing gardenias give them proper spacing from other garden plants also thining your gardenias will help in this process. Applying neem oil has proven to give good results.
Stem canker is caused by a fungus that affects the gardenia by entering wounds that are found on plants. Signs of this disease are lesions that are dark and oval with wilt and leaf drop. To control the spread of this disease prune the infected part back to the sound wood and properly discard the infected part. Remember to sterilize your pruner before using it on healthy plants. A mixture of 2 tablespoons of bleach to a cup of water. Soak a piece of rag in this solution and gently wipe the blades. Be careful not to cut your hand.
The signs of root rot are the yellowing of the plant’s leaves. Root rot occurs when garden plants are overwatered or growing in soils that have poor drainage. Plants that are infected by root rot should be removed and installed in an area where the soil has good drainage or the infected soil should be removed and replaced with soil that drains well.
Where to install gardenias
Gardenias can be installed.
1. In a garden area that meets their requirements
2. Alongside porches.
3. Near fences, the advantage of planting garden near fences is that a chain-link fence is designed with openings that allow air to freely pass through. Proper air circulation is so important for these plants.
4. Installed in pots and placed at the entry of doorways.
5. Can be used as a stand-alone or specimen plant.
Container grown gardenias
A great way to grow gardenias is in containers, the method of planting should be as stated above. Ensure that your containers have drain holes to allow excess water to drain through. The advantage of growing gardenias from containers is as the winter season sets in you can bring your plant indoors or place it in a secure area where it will be protected.
Growing gardenias indoors
When growing gardenias indoors it is of the utmost importance that you keep a close eye on your plant. This is a great way to get this fragrance indoors. The area that is chosen should be an area that gets a lot of indirect bright sunlight. Humidity also plays an important part in the life of your gardenia, if the humidity is not right your plant will suffer. The humidity should be in the range of the ’50s during the day and the ’60s at nighttime.
The use of a humidifier or misting the leaves will offer your gardenias much-needed help. Because your gardenia is growing indoors there is no need to water as much as if growing outdoors. The soil should be somewhat moist, allow the soil to dry out a bit between watering. Fertilize your gardenia as stated earlier.
A few uninvited guests ( garden insect pests) may seek to pay your plant a visit that’s why it is so important to ensure that your plant is stress-free by meeting their requirements. If your gardenia has fallen to these insect pests then the use of insecticidal soap sprays will offer some help, neem oil has also proven to give good results. Remember the containers should have a saucer to allow excess water to drain through, this excess water should be emptied from the saucer.
The final word
Growing gardenias both out and indoors is pretty simple, all it takes is some know-how and you will have these garden beauties in full bloom with their milk-white flowers and green shiny leaves that fragrance the air with such a sweet aroma. Investing in a plant like this is worth the effort so I encourage you to go ahead, install these plants, and reap the rewards.