Gardenia is a beautiful evergreen shrub with dark green leaves and white scented flowers. Around 250 species of this shrub are found worldwide. They belong to Rubiaceae family. This shrub was first cultivated in China and later in Europe and North America. Gardenia angusta and Gardenia thunbergia are two most widely cultivated species in Florida.
Instructions for Growing This Shrub Indoors
Since these are shade tolerant plants, you can grow them indoors. The most commonly cultivated houseplant is Gardenia jasminoides. Spring is the right time for planting. Choose a site where the plant will get shade and will not bear sudden drafts of wind. Place the plant in such a way that top of the root ball is a little above the ground level. Add sufficient amount of water to your plant so that the soil remains wet. Check the wetness of the soil by dipping your finger two inches deep into the soil. Build a protective covering of soil three inches around the plant that will help the plant to retain soil moisture. They are prone to diseases like chlorosis of leaves, bud drop, root galls and wilting of leaves. These diseases are caused by aphids, nematodes, white flies and sooty mold. Always use proper pest control tools and insecticides to keep diseases at bay.
Instructions for Growing This Shrub from Seeds
Seeds are usually sown during early summer or mid winter. One way of growing this plant from seeds is to keep the seeds in peat moss and maintain a temperature at 70-90°F. Seeds take four to six weeks for germination. You can also sow the seeds in trays or pots with a good mixture devoid of lime and maintain a temperature of 70-75 degrees F. Seeds start germinating within forty-five days. Make sure that the soil is fertile. Average watering and partial shade will work well.
These shrubs can grow up to a maximum height of 18 inches and need sufficient amounts of bright sunlight to grow. Other requirements include warm summer or mild winter conditions. Flowers of these evergreen plants, bloom from mid-spring to mid-summer. They can be grown both indoors and outdoors.
An optimum temperature of 16-27°C is required for the growth of these plants. Flower buds require a day temperature of above 70°C and a night temperature below 60°C. Freezing temperature is harmful for their growth as it cannot tolerate extremely cold conditions. These sensitive plants need protection from strong winds.
Light and Humidity Requirements
Humidity requirement is around 50-60%. The plant must be kept in a humid and cool place. Do not expose the plant to direct sunlight but keep it in such a place that it gets enough light.
Soil and Water Requirements
It is essential that these plants are watered on a regular basis. See to it that their leaves are not left wet as wetness can lead to fungal disease of foliage. These grows well in those soils which contain manure, pet moss or organic matter. Soil should be kept acidic and moist. This plant requires a pH of 4.5-5.5. It is better to check the soil pH occasionally using a litmus paper in order to optimize the growth. For alkaline soil, use amalgamate with sulfur to make it acidic. If the plant get insufficient amount of water, the buds will fall off before maturation.
This evergreen shrub requires to be pruned. It can be done after the flowering season. Otherwise, while trimming the leaves, there might be a chance of cutting the flower buds. Pruning after the flowering season ensures more blooms in the next season.
Do follow the aforementioned tips to care for this plant. The sweet fragrance of the flowers and the beautiful foliage will certainly beautify your garden or patio.