One of the most popular flowering plants in the world, the beautiful Gardenia is known for it's dark green well-defined shiny leaves and it's pretty flowers that have a strong fragrant scent mixing of vanilla, jasmine, and nutmeg, that becomes spicier as the flower ages. There are 142 known varieties of this popular plant related to coffee, some with different flowers, different heights and care needs.
Originally from China, these plants are grown all over the world, usually in the warmer climates but they can also grow well indoors in pots. The plant itself is evergreen, and the flowers can range from year-round to seasonal, usually appearing from the mid-spring to the mid-summer, as solitary or in small clusters, with 5 to 12 petals and from 2 to 6 inches across, and the scent appearing almost immediately.
They prefer soils that are acidic, which means they do better away from houses, sidewalks, and other concrete foundations. They thrive in soils of pH between 5.0 and 6.0, but some varieties can grow in more alkaline soils.
They need the equivalent of about an inch of rain a week, and using a layer of mulch is recommended to help keep the soil moist. Insect control is important with these plants as some of the pests can leave behind a residue that can hinder the plant's growth.
The plant got it's name in 1761 when British naturalist John Ellis named the plant after his friend, Dr. Alexander Garden, also a botanist and physician. In Asian countries the flower is used to make a yellow dye used in foods and fabrics, and the Chinese use the plant's fruits for traditional medicinal purposes, noting it's calming and cooling effects. In France there is a tradition of the flowers being worn by men dressed in evening wear, and the Gardenia flower is the national flower of Pakistan.
Full sun to light shade. Indoor plants should have access to light.
Mid-Spring to Mid-Summer. Some bloom year round
Water weekly, use a layer of mulch to keep soil moist.
Indoor potted plants grow to average about 18 inches.
Outdoor can grow as a shrub, up to about 6 feet.
Indoors about 18".
Outdoor plant as solitary, keep away from concrete, they grow great as a stand alone feature including the scent.
USDA Zone 8 (20°F) to USDA Zone 10 (40°F), though some can thrive in Zone 7 (10°F).
Here are some photos of actual Gardenias growing at our facilities, showing a couple of variations...