Most gardeners are familiar with the traditional gardenia (Gardenia jasminoides). However, there are several types of gardenia for gardeners to add to their home or greenhouse collections. According to Plant Talk Colorado, gardenias demand evening temperatures of 40 to 60 degrees F and require a humidity level of 50 to 60 percent. The plants grow best in acidic soil rich with nitrogen. Dehydrated gardenias seldom recover, and it is vital to keep the plants moist and humid for beautiful blooms.
China Flower or Common Gardenia
China flower, also known as opera gardenia or common gardenia (Gardenia jasminoides), is a small shrub suitable for indoor and greenhouse growing. The flowers are white in color. Plant Care Encyclopedia recommends keeping this gardenia in moist, rich soil without allowing it to stand in water. The plant originated in China and displays large double blooms. Deadheading blooms and pruning encourages new growth and promotes a healthy shrub.
Many gardeners are familiar with the forest gardenia (Gardenia brighamii), a tree version of the bush. This gardenia grows an average of 15 feet and displays white, fragrant tubular flowers on the ends of limbs. The flowers and seeds of this tree are often used to make Hawaiian leis. With only 15 to 19 plants in existence in 1999, the Forest Gardenia is on the verge of extinction, according to the Hawaiian Native Plant Propagation Database (HNPPD). The tree can live up to 15 years if cultivated. One tree lived in its natural Hawaiian habitat for 65 years, according to HNPPD.
The Gardenia thumbergia plant originated in South Africa. It thrives in indirect sun and well-drained soil. White flowers display on this shrub with overlapping, flat petals. A single small tubular stem appears in the center of the flower. Another distinguishing feature of this plant is the silver bark. According to Plant Care Encyclopedia, this gardenia does well for home use and greenhouse collections.