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Do Gardenias Like Sun or Shade?

By Jennifer Bioche
Gardenias can require full or partial sun.
Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Kevin Walsh

Some variations of gardenias like both. Depending on the region where you live and the type of gardenia you intend to grow, shade and sun can work well for this beautiful and welcome house or garden plant.

Light and Shade

Sunlight is favored by most gardenia varieties.
Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Luz A. Villa

Gardenias need both shade and light to grow properly. Gardenias originated in humid climates and can be mostly grown indoors. When doing so, they prefer high humidity, indirect and bright light as opposed to constant shade. The ideal place for them to grow is in a south-facing location with a curtain available for shade.

A Good House Plant

The African gardenia is a popular house plant.
Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Jeff Turner

The mitriostigma variety of gardenia, otherwise known as the African gardenia, is smaller and not as fragrant as the more full-bodied type. It does make a good house plant, as it can be grown in either a sunny or shady window.

The Jasmine Gardenia

The jasmine gardenia is sometimes mistaken for jasmine because of its fragrance.
Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Gordana Adamovic-Mladenovic

The jasmine gardenia, an evergreen shrub variety of the gardenia flower, is grown outdoors in full sun, but in hotter areas needs protection from the heat. If you live in such a region, make sure there is a shade source to protect the plant.

Hearty in Cold Weather

Cold weather doesn't phase the Frost Proof gardenia
Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Doug Wheller

The Frost Proof variety won the "2007 Garden Writers Best Plants Award." It tolerates the cold, does not need a lot of up keep contrary to other varieties and does well in full sun or partial shade. They can be used as a privacy hedge, or just to enjoy as they grow large into a beautiful and fragrant plant.

The Crown Jewel

The Crown Jewel is also known to work well in cold zones.
Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of John Holm

A runner-up to the Frost Proof is the Crown Jewel gardenia which also works well in colder zones and makes a lovely accent plant or flowering shrub. It prefers full or partial sun.


About the Author


Jennifer Bioche has been a professional writer since 1997. Her work has appeared in numerous magazines and newspapers. She is the former host of "The Parent Rap" radio show and is currently a contributor to the "Cedar Rapids Gazette." She lives in the Midwest with her husband and four children.