How to Plant Gardenias in Virginia


The gardenia, also called cape jasmine, is an evergreen shrub that grows to a height of 2 to 8 feet and produces large fragrant flowers. The plant is hardy to plant in USDA growing zones 9 and 10, but can be grown outdoors in Virginia in a container as long as it is wintered indoors. The plant grows best with a daytime temperature of 68 to 74 degrees F and nighttime temperature of 60 degrees F.

Step 1

Plant the gardenia in a container with bottom drainage holes that is 1 to 2 inches wider in diameter than the rootball. Place a layer of potting soil at the bottom of the container and sprinkle a handful of blood meal on top.

Step 2

Set the gardenia plant into the container and gently pack potting soil around the rootball, making sure there are no air pockets. Water the plant well to pack the soil and provide moisture for root establishment.

Step 3

Water the gardenia several times a week to keep the soil moist during the growing season. Do not allow the plant to dry out, which will cause stress. Do not overwater, which will increase the risk of disease.

Step 4

Fertilize the gardenia plants each month from April through November with an acidic fertilizer. Water the plant well after applying fertilizer.

Step 5

Monitor the plants for the presence of aphids, mealy bugs and spider mites. Wash the bugs off the plants with a sharp stream of water. Spray insecticidal soap on the underside of the leaves to prevent additional problems with the pests.

Step 6

Winter the plants indoors by placing them in a well-lit area. Set them on a tray filled with stones and water to keep the humidity level high around them. Do not set the plants directly in water.

Things You'll Need

  • Growing container
  • High-quality, well-draining potting soil
  • Blood meal
  • Acid fertilizer
  • Insecticidal soap spray
  • Tray
  • Stones


  • University of Rhode Island: Gardenia Care
  • National Gardening Association: Gardenia
  • Gardening Central: Growing Gardenias
Keywords: plant gardenia Virginia, grow gardenia Virginia, grow gardenia shrub

About this Author

Jennifer Loucks has over 10 years of experience as a former technical writer for a software development company in Wisconsin. Her writing experience includes creating software documentation and help documents for clients and staff along with training curriculum. Loucks holds a Bachelor of Science major from the University of Wisconsin - River Falls specializing in animal science and business.