The augusta plant (Gardenia augusta or jasminoides) is an evergreen shrub desirable for its large, creamy white, fragrant flowers. Native to Japan, Taiwan and parts of China, this tropical beauty is popularly grown as both a houseplant and outdoors by home gardeners who live in warm climates. Although the culture of the augusta plant is pretty basic, if its needs are not met consistently, the gardenia will drop its buds before they open, according to information published by the University of Florida.
Gardenias are warm-weather plants. They cannot tolerate freezing temperatures for very long. For that reason, they are often grown in containers, so that they can be brought indoors when cold weather threatens. G. augusta plants are also commonly grown as houseplants. These fragrant shrubs should only be planted outdoors by home gardeners who live in United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) growing zones 7b through 10, according to information published by North Carolina State University.
The augusta plant enjoys full sun or partial shade. Home gardeners who live in the cooler parts of the recommended growing zone (7 and 8) can plant these shrubs where they will receive a full day's worth of sunlight. People who live in the warmer USDA zones (9 and 10) should plant or place G. augusta where it will be exposed to morning sun followed by afternoon filtered or dappled shade.
Soil and Water
G. augusta thrives in soil that is acidic, rich in organic matter and very well-draining. Too much water in the soil can lead to root rot, a fungal disease that attacks the roots of the shrub. On the other hand, the plant will not do well if it is allowed to dry out. Keep the soil consistently moist, but not soggy. The pH level (acidity) of the soil should be kept at between 5.0 and 6.5, or the augusta plant will develop yellow foliage, according to the University of Florida.
Fertilize your augusta plant in early spring, mid-summer and mid-fall. Use a slow-release, water-soluble fertilizer formulated for acid-loving plants, and follow the directions on the package label according to the age and size of your plant, as well as your USDA growing zone.
Indoor plants can suffer from insect pests such as mites, scale and whiteflies. Gardenias often require control of these insects, according to the University of Florida. Use an insecticidal soap for heavy infestations, or spray small amounts of these insect pests off the plant with a strong stream of water. Augusta plants are also susceptible to leaf spot, which is caused by fungi that travel on water. For that reason, avoid getting the leaves of the plant wet when you water, or water in the morning so that the sun can quickly evaporate any liquid left on the leaves.