I just published an article about gardenia plants and thought it might
be helpful for some members in this forum....
is a genus of flowering plants comprised of about 142 species
belonging to the family of Rubiaceae. Gardenia plants are indigenous to
the tropical and subtropical areas of Africa, Asia and Australia.
Gardenias are evergreen shrubs which can grow from two to twenty feet or
more in height in their natural habitat. The leaves are glossy, dark
green growing from about one to ten inches long depending on the
species. Gardenia flowers are white or yellow in color and develop
either a single or a cluster of blossoms. The flowers of many species
are known for their intoxicating sweet scent.
Gardenia 'Diamond's Fragrant Delight'
, also known as Gardenia grandiflora, originated
in Asia. In China Gardenia jasminoides is called Zhi zi and in Japan it
is called Kuchinasi. The yellow flowers are used in both countries as
dye for clothes and food. It has been grown in China for more than one
thousand years and has been introduced to England in the 18th century.
Several hybrids have been created, including low growing plants with
large flowers. The white flowers are large and highly fragrant. Several
decades ago the flowers were worn by men as boutonnieres on special
occasions. Jazz singer Billie Holiday called gardenia flowers her
trademark by wearing them in her hair. Today the flowers are still a
favorite choice for weddings and proms.
Gardenia jasminoides is considered a difficult plant to take care of.
Many times gardenia plants with many buds are bought and the buyer
eagerly awaits the opening of the flowers. But many times the buds drop
without further development. When purchasing gardenia plants it's better
to start with small plants without buds. The plants need some time to
adjust to the environment in their new home. Once the plants have
adjusted to their new home, flower buds start to develop into beautiful,
sweetly scented gardenia flowers.
, also called Tahitian Gardenia and Tiare Flower, is
one of only a few plants indigenous to Polynesia. This evergreen
tropical shrub can grow as tall as twelve feet. The flowers are white,
composed of five to nine petals and very fragrant.
Inhabitants of Polynesia use these highly fragrant flowers as necklaces.
These floral necklaces are called *Ei*
on the Cook Islands, *Hei*
Tahiti and *Lei*
On some Pacific islands wearing these gardenia flowers indicates one's
relationship status. When the flower is worn on the right ear, the
person is available. When the flower is worn on the left ear, the person
The flowers of Gardenia taitensis are used to make *Monoi Tiare Tahiti*
which is a perfume oil, by infusing the flowers in coconut oil. This
process is called *Enfleurage*
. The process uses odorless fats that are
solid at room temperature to capture the fragrant compounds released by
In addition, the flowers are also used in highly priced perfumes, like
Tiare by Ormonde Jayne and Tiare by Chantecaille.
Other popular Gardenia species include *Gardenia brighamii*
and *Gardenia nitida*
, to name a few.
Gardenia plants prefer *partial sun*
and should be protected from the
hot afternoon sun during the summer months. They grow and flower well
under *grow lights*
where night temperatures should not go below 60 to
65 degrees which translates to 15 to 18 degrees Celsius.
Gardenia plants are *prone to root disease*
. Growing them in *clay pots*
can reduce the risk as the potting medium dries out faster in clay pots.
Gardenia plants prefer an acidic potting medium, soil, meaning the soil
ph is less than 7. If the potting medium is not acid enough, many
nutrients, including iron, cannot be absorbed by the roots and the
plants develop a condition, called *Chlorosis*
which expresses itself in
yellowing of the leaves. Some gardeners pour a small amount of vinegar
at the top of the soil to prevent or treat mild cases of Chlorosis.
It is best to *water*
the plants when the surface of the potting medium
looks and feels dry. It is recommended to avoid using “hard” tap water.
If the tap water is very “hard”, adding some vinegar to the watering can
lowers the ph level of the water. When watering it is important to
water the plants thoroughly until water drips through the drainage holes
at the bottom of the pot. The gardener needs to make sure that no water
remains in the saucer after the drainage process is complete.
gardenia plants any balanced fertilizer at one
quarter strength of the recommended dosage can be used. Using a
fertilizer designed for acid loving plants reduces the risk of
should be kept at 50% or higher. If humidity is low, misting
the plants frequently or using a humidifier greatly benefits gardenia
When proven and tested guidelines are followed, gardenia plants with
their highly fragrant flowers bring years of enjoyment to the outdoor
and indoor gardener.
Copyright © Bob Walsh