Gardenias grow to up to 6 feet high and have fragrant blooms that adorn the garden from spring until summer. They can be difficult to grow because they require a significant amount of attention, including lots of water and regular pruning. Getting your gardenia off to a good start at planting time will help you succeed in growing a successful blooming gardenia for years to come.
Plant a gardenia in a spot that is in full sun or light shade. Choose a location near an open window or your patio to enjoy its fragrance.
Test the pH of the soil. Take a sample to a county extension office or test it yourself with a pH testing kit from a garden center. Gardenias prefer soil that has a pH between 5.0 and 6.5. Adjust your soil with limestone or sulfur at the recommended rates as written on the label.
Incorporate approximately 4 inches of peat moss, compost or well-rotted manure into the top 12 inches of the soil bed. This will create a fertile, well-draining planting bed for the gardenia. Do this to at least an area that is two to three times as wide as your gardenia’s root ball and twice as deep.
Dig a hole that is just as deep and two times as wide as the gardenia’s container. Take the it out of its current container, but do not remove the soil or disturb the root ball.
Set the gardenia straight in the middle of the hole and backfill the soil until it is halfway full. Then fill the hole with water and wait for it to drain and backfill the rest of the soil into the hole.
Form a mound of soil around the gardenia with extra soil. A 2- to 3-inch high mound under the widest point of the canopy will help water the gardenia.
Mulch around the plant with 2 to 3 inches of organic mulch, such as pine bark. Keep the mulch a couple inches from the base of the plant so mold and fungus do not grow.