Gardenias are beautiful plants that produce dark green leaves and creamy flowers. The main benefit of having this plant is, it is a flowering plant as well as a foliage plant.
These plants are hard to grow and care for especially outside their native land.
But if you give them little extra attention, the gardenia plants will thrive for years. In today’s article, we will learn how to grow a beautiful gardenia and maintain its health and bloom.
About the plant
This plant comes from the coffee family, Rubiaceae. It is naturally found in the tropical and subtropical regions of Asia and Africa.
In the natural growing environment, this shrub-type plant grows 2 to 20 feet long. The leaf size varies between 2 to 12 inches long depending on the gardenia variety. The gardenia plant that we are talking about is container-growing gardenia.
These plants grow 2 feet to 6 feet tall with the same spread.
The combination of 5 to 8 petals forms gardenia flowers. White creamy and pale- yellow is the common flower color.
Spring and summer are the active growing season of these plants. For best results fertilize your plant in these seasons of the year.
Step-by-step Gardenia growing guide
Follow the below techniques and grow this plant indoors.
Gardenia plants love to thrive in full sunshine. But if you live in warm or hot zones then you need to protect it. Because the hot sun rays can fade the leaves and discourage the bloom.
6 to 8 hours of bright light is enough for an indoor growing gardenia plant.
Put the pot on the sunny window sill to full fill its light needs. Or you can also use grow light if you have one. It should be not less than 200 watts power rating. LED grow lights are best for indoor gardening.
In your outdoor garden find a place that is partially sunny rather than fully sunny. Also, use a mulch to lock the moisture in the soil around the plant.
Because the direct falling sun rays heat up the soil and the water content in the top layer gets evaporated.
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This is the little tricky part and you need to choose the soil carefully. Obviously, well-draining soil is required for plant safety. Such soil protects our indoor plants from accidental overwater and root rot problems.
Along with fast-draining quality gardenia also needs slightly acidic soil. The pH of the soil has to be between 5 to 6 pH.
To check the pH of your potting soil you can use the soil pH testing kit. These kits are easily available on Amazon at affordable prices.
To increase its fertility, add some organic matter like organic home-made compost or manure. This way you will have slightly acidic but highly fertile potting soil.
Always use fresh clean water for watering your lovely plants. Such water is easy for plants to absorb in the required quantity.
Water your gardenia 1-inch water per week. This is the general recommended guideline.
Remember that overwatering can result in root rot. This root disease is deadly for indoor plants, especially for container-growing plants.
The best method of watering the gardenia plants is first to check the potting soil. To check the soil, you can use the soil testing meter. These meters give a digital reading of the available moisture in the soil.
Do not use tap water because in some parts of the country tap water contains heavy minerals. These minerals are not required for growing plants. The plant cannot absorb them and they get collected in the root zone.
This build-up blocks the plant uptake system and your plant become nutrient deficient and dehydrated. This leads to plant death.
Use those fertilizers that are made for acidic soil-loving plants. General-purpose houseplant fertilizer is not recommended. Make sure to dilute it properly before giving it to the plants.
Always remember that for gardenia plants march to October is the right fertilizing time.
Dilute the fertilize well before use and give once in 20 days.
Stop fertilizing when the plant enters the rest period. The Winter season is the complete resting time. Plants do not grow in this season so they do not need any amount of nutrients. Nutrients existing in the soil are enough for them.
Temperature & Humidity
In USDA zones 10 to 11 you can grow gardenia plants in an outdoor garden without worries. Because the environment of these zones is perfect for this plant.
Outside these zones, you can also put the plant pot outside but for a limited time. You need to move the plant inside before the first frost.
For the best healthy plant maintain the room temperature between 60 to 75 degrees F. Below or above this temperature will cause serious harm to the growing leaf tissues.
To maintain the high humidity, you should use a pebble tray or a room humidifier. Do not put the plant in the bathroom in any condition.
Do not mist water on the plant leaves. Because this plant is prone to leaf fungal diseases. Brown leaf edges and weak growth are the first signs of low humidity.
Repot your plant when the existing pot becomes small for it. To check this, lift the pot and check the bottom hole. If the small roots are coming out of the hole, then it’s time to repot the plants.
This is the first sign of repotting.
The new plant pot must be 1 to 2 inches wide and deeper than the current pot. Use the same soil formula but use new potting soil. The potting soil becomes depleted over time.
After transferring the plant to its new home give some water to keep the soil moist. Your plant may drop some leaves and this is normal. Within a few days, it will show healthy growth.
For better success, you should choose a healthy disease-free stem. Cut the stem just below the leaf node. It must be 4 to 5 inches long.
Then dip the cut in the rooting hormone. Use any brand of liquid rooting hormone. This step is necessary to increase your success rate.
Simply plant the cutting in moist soil and put the plant pot in a warm and humid location. If humidity is the issue, then cover the pot with a plastic bag. Lift the bag once in 2 days for 2 minutes to avoid fungal issues.
Once the stem develops some roots you can transfer your plant to the final pot. Also, place it on its final location and care it as I mentioned in this article.
Gardenia plant needs little extra care and attention. If you learn the watering technique and choose the right potting soil. You Will not face a hard time growing gardenia plants.
Fertilize it only in its active stage to encourage the bloom.
This plant has very beautiful shining leaves and brilliant flowers. It looks Fabolous in all indoor places.
While changing its place keep in mind that it needs a full sun minimum of 4 to 5 hours per day.