With its sweet fragrance and pure white flowers, the lure of the gardenia is hard for many gardeners to resist. The flower is as diverse as it is popular, serving well in corsages, cut flower arrangements but largely enjoyed in the landscape or indoors for its pleasing aroma. There are over 200 species of the flower, making it possible to be grown in a range of regions.
Growth Rate and Use
The gardenia is grown and used primarily as an ornamental. The plant can grow up to 6 feet tall. The flowers grow to a width of about 2.75 inches with stems that reach an average of 16 inches.
Care of the Gardenia Flower
Prune gardenias annually after flowering. Fertilize the plant once a month---during its growing season---with a fertilizer appropriate for acid-loving plants. Water gardenias regularly to keep the soil moist.
Growing the Gardenia Flower in the Landscape
Gardeners should carefully choose the best cultivar for their region. Gardenias grow best in acidic, well-drained soil with a pH that ranges from 5.0 to 6.5. Choose an area of your landscape that receives full sun to light shade. And while it may be tempting to plant gardenias along a walkway for their sweet fragrance, walkways and foundations may seep alkaline.
Growing the Gardenia Flower Indoors
Choose a cool spot to grow gardenias indoors. Place a tray of water next to an indoor container to raise the level of humidity, a must for growing the plant inside. Gardenias grown inside the home also benefit from frequent misting. Water gardenias with soft, tepid water. Gardeners should not use tap water since it's usually very alkaline and can cause the leaves to yellow. Place the gardenia in bright, but indirect sunlight.
Common Problems with the Gardenia Flower
Insects that commonly affect the gardenia flower include: thrips, scale insects, spider mites, aphids and mealy bugs. Gardenias are also subject to sooty mold, a fungal growth that affects the leaves.