Gardenia Shrubs

Lustrous foliage, large flowers, and exquisite fragrance

The Gardenia genus contains evergreen shrubs and small trees, native to tropical climates. Gardenias typically bloom in late spring to early summer but bloom throughout the year in warm climates where temperatures stay above 60°F. Set against thick, lustrous dark green leaves, the waxy white or ivory flowers are most often 2- to 4-inch doubles, but single forms do exist, and the blooms may get even bigger on a few varieties. However, the most compelling thing about gardenia flowers is, of course, their exquisite fragrance. Although redolent any time of day, they are particularly perfumy at dusk and during the night.

Gardenia is a genus of about 60 species, ranging in size from groundcovers and dwarfs that grow about 1 to 3 feet tall with spreads of 2 to 4 feet to shrubs reaching 8 feet tall and just as wide. G. jasminoides (common gardenia, cape jasmine [syn G. augusta and G. grandiflora]) is the species most often grown in home gardens. Gardenia is a versatile shrub that can be a lovely specimen or can be massed to create a stunning hedge. Dwarf varieties are good for patio pots, especially in cooler growing zones where they will need to overwinter inside.

Gardenia prefers full to dappled sunlight or partial shade. In the hottest climates, morning sun and afternoon shade may be best. They thrive in humus-rich, acidic soil with a pH of 5 to 6.5. Soil should be kept consistently damp but not soggy.