Gardenia advice

I found some gardenia bushes on sale and I couldn't resist them. I have not had any luck with them in the past, but I have seen them flourish in yards in my area, zone 7, NE Alabama. Any advice on where to plant them, (north, south, east or west side of my house), sun, shade or both, as well as how to transplant them into the ground from the pots they came in, what and when to fertilize, will be much appreciated.
Gloria
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Gloria wrote:

Gardenias prefer full or part sun. They do well in the shade only in climates that are quite hot in the summer. I have a "Veitchii" in part sun that is covered with flowers right now; I have had this bush for about 15 years.
They need acidic soil that drains well. For clay soil, mix in a lot of peat moss and gypsum; and plant slightly raised. If the soil tends to be alkaline, stir a little sulfur into the soil (especially near the top). Gardenias prefer a soil that is constantly moist but never soggy.
Mix a lot of bone meal or super-phosphate into the bottom of the planting hole. Phosphorus promotes blooming. Once established, gardenias can be heavy feeders. That is, they like a lot of nutrients. Just wait until they are in the ground about a year; otherwise, you will promote growth of foliage beyond what existing roots can support with moisture. After a year, you can actually use any generic lawn food that does NOT include weed killer. Alternatively, you can use citrus food, which is what I use. Feed about once a month from early spring through mid-fall.
Gardenias like extra zinc. If flower buds form and then drop off the plant, give it a small dose of zinc sulfate (now hard to find). In alkaline soil, supplement the fertilizer with iron sulfate even if you have used sulfur. Gypsum and sulfur may have to be renewed once a year.
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David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean
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Thanks David...great information.
Gloria

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