Gardenia has over 250 species of evergreen and flowering shrubs. While selecting one, make sure you buy the variety which has nematode-resistant rootstock. The most beautiful among its varieties are gardenia jasminoides, gardenia psidioides, and gardenia brighamii. Being otherwise low-maintenance plants, one needs to give them special attention during winter.
Gardenia looks beautiful in summers, with its glossy leaves and pure white flowers. However, when the temperature drops during winter, many problems arise, particularly while keeping the plant indoors. It might start drooping, and the flower buds may start falling off. The leaves may start wilting. Hence, taking care of it becomes a challenge. This article will provide the guidelines on caring for it in such cases.
Gardenia Winter Care Instructions
The dwarf gardenia varieties are less winder hardy, compared to standard gardenias. Yet, all the varieties need special care during winter season.
Light Requirements during Winter
Keep the plant in a humid place where it can also get sunlight, like south side facing windows. Otherwise, set up artificial light for houseplants. In case of natural light, make sure the plant gets sunlight for at least half a day, and keep it away from any heating vents. During normal seasons, you can maintain it in part shade and part sun.
Humidity and Temperature Needs
Gardenias prefer warm and humid environment. To maintain proper conditions in winter, you can use humidifiers. Also, keep the plants on a tray of wet pebbles. When the humidity decreases, you can spray them with water regularly. Keep them in cooler rooms, near windows where they will receive sunlight. Maintain a temperature of 55º F, during night, and 65-75º F, during the day time.
Gardenias can tolerate moderate drought conditions pretty easily. In case of container gardening, provide less amount of water in winter, as compared to the summer season. For potted plants, pour water, and wait till the top layer of 1-2 inches of soil dries up. Then again, water the plant.
Soil and Fertilizers Requirements
Acidic soil, having pH higher than 6, is required for these plants. Maintain the soil moisture level properly. You can check for moisture of the soil with your fingers after every few days. Do not give any fertilizer to the gardenia plant during winter. After the flowers appear, you can move it to part shade.
During winter, the plant will be dormant, and will be storing the food for the next blooming season. If you prune during winter time, there is a huge possibility of killing the branch, and in severe cases, the whole plant. So, never prune the gardenia in winter. It should be done only after its flowering season gets over. When pruning during the flowering season, there is a huge possibility of trimming the flower buds. This needs to be avoided.
The most challenging part of gardenia care is growing and maintaining the plants during winter season. Using the above guidelines, you can maintain its health and beauty.