Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Gardenias are not only about the visual beauty of bloom and leaf; gardenias are about fragrance. Gardenias also known as Cape Jessimine have been cultivated for hundreds of years for its scent.

According to Wikipedia, the gardenia originated in Asia and was named by John Ellis ,a British naturalist, for Dr. Alexander Garden of Charleston who practiced medicine there in the 1750's. Dr. Garden was also a noted botanist.

Depending on the cultivar, Gardenias vary in height from dwarfs(Gardenia Radicans) which grow to about 18 inches to other cultivars which can grow to up to six feet.Plant gardenias in a location with good are circulation and near patios, walks and windows to enjoy the fragrance and lovely foliage and flowers. Gardenias can be used in the landscape as screens, borders or groundcover, in mass plantings or as free standing specimens.

Gardenias grow best in partial shade in well drained,acidic soil (pH 4.5-5.5) improved with organic matter such as compost, peat moss or manure to improve nutrient and moisture-holding capacity. Take soil samples for analysis by the County Extension Office to determine soil deficiencies. Generally, use of a fertilizer designed for azaleas should meet plants nutrient requirements,but check to make sure that the fertilizer contains the nutrients recommended in the soil analysis. Established plants do well with two to three applications of fertilizer per year beginning in March, with the second application in September and a third during the summer.

Gardenias can be susceptible to aphids, mealy bugs, thrips, scale, whitefly and sooty mold. If you are unsure about the type of pest is infesting your plants,your should bring a specimen to the County Extension Office for identification. Mold can best be managed by controlling pests.

Pruning should be done after plants have finished blooming. New plants can be started from cuttings . The cuttings can be planted at any time, but are most successfully started if planted between June and September.

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