Gardenias are evergreen shrubs that grow long woody stems and deep green, glossy leaves. Their flowers bloom in a creamy white, and last through the summer with the right care. Although they are flowering plants, gardenias require cool temperatures for blooming, and thrive at 60 to 75 degrees F. To grow gardenias to their full potential, keep a couple of tools and supplies on hand at all times.
Shovel and Rake
A shovel and rake are important tools for any gardening endeavor, especially when it comes to soil amendments and planting for large bushes like gardenias. Use a rake to clear any rocks, weeds or litter from the area and give gardenias an open growing area. Use the shovel to loosen the soil for the gardenia's roots and mix any soil amendments into the site.
Good soil amendments and maintenance guarantee better gardenia growth, according to BetterLawns.com. Good soil additions include peat moss, compost, manure and quick-draining soil, to loosen the soil and infuse it with nutrition for gardenias. Mix any of these into the soil in a site that gets full or partial sun, down to a depth of 1 foot, before you plant your gardenias. Good soil helps the plants retain moisture and reduces your watering responsibilities, so maintain good levels of these ingredients in the soil year-round.
BetterLawns.com notes that gardenias are heavy feeders, and should receive consistent fertilization if they're to thrive. Give new gardenias 10-10-10 fertilizer with a watering every six to eight weeks, according the manufacturer directions, then switch to a more specific schedule when plants are a year old. At that time, feed gardenias in March, May, August and October with 6-6-6, 10-10-10 or 16-4-8 fertilizer.