Growing gardenias indoors is a major challenge for most hobbyists as these ornamental plants require warm temperature, adequate light, and high humidity. This article explains how to grow beautiful and fragrant gardenia plants indoors.
The flowering plant gardenia belongs to the family Rubiaceae of the order Rubiales, sharing the same family with cinchona and coffee. Gardenias are most popular for their sweet, fragrant flowers. Hence, most gardening enthusiasts prefer growing gardenia plants for their strong scent. Also, by growing gardenias indoors, you can fill the room with their sweet and strong fragrance.
Gardenia Plant Information
Even though some gardenia species exhibit features of small trees, reaching a height of about 40 feet, most of them are categorized under evergreen shrubs and bushes. The phyllotaxy (leaf arrangement) is either opposite or whorled (in groups of three or four). The foliage is dark-green in color and has a leathery texture. Depending on the cultivar, the leaf length may range from 5-50 centimeters, while the leaf width is about 2.5-25 centimeters. White or yellow flowers are borne either singly, or in groups of small, tubular blooms. Regarding the types of gardenia plants, more than 250 species have been identified under this genera.
Growing gardenias outside is easy as they adapt well in different types of soil and a wide range of environmental conditions. However, it is challenging to grow gardenias indoors and regulate the required conditions. Nevertheless, with correct tips for plant care and maintenance, you can still enjoy their fragrant blooms and even plant them in your flower garden. The following is a basic guideline for growing gardenia indoors.
Select the cultivar as per the adaptability of the species in your area and your personal preference. Also check for the disease and pest resistance of the cultivar while buying the plantlets. If available, you can consider planting Gardenia jasminoides, which is one of the most popularly cultivated houseplant varieties. If planted indoors, it grows to a height of about 18 inches and blooms in mid-spring.
Though gardenia plants prefer neutral soils, they perform best in loose, well-drained, acidic soil, where the pH ranges from 4.5 to 5.5. As per the directions of a horticulturist, you can add farmyard compost to the potting soil. Also, while preparing the soil for plantation, do not forget to supplement it with peat moss, as it increases the water holding capacity.
For planting gardenias, dig to a depth of about twice the size of the root ball. Cover the root system with soil, leaving the top part of the root ball slightly raised above the soil level. Press the soil around the root ball and ensure that there are no air pockets around it. You can water the gardenia plants immediately after transplantation to remove air pockets.
Watering indoor gardenia plants should be done in such a way that the soil remains moist but not wet. The best way to irrigate gardenia plants indoors is by using a root stimulator. Insufficient watering of the gardenia plants should be strictly avoided as it can lead to bud drop. You can add mulch like peat, bark, etc. once in a few months to reduce water loss.
Since these ornamental houseplants are native to warm climatic areas, it is very important to protect them from extremely cold temperatures. The favorable temperature for indoor gardenias is about 70 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and about 60 degrees Fahrenheit during the night. Warm days and cool nights are perfect for blooming gardenia plants.
Similar to other tropical plants, gardenias require optimum exposure to light. Unlike outdoor gardenia plants that do well in partly-shaded conditions, gardenias grown indoors prefer bright light. If you are residing in cold areas, consider using artificial light for regulating the light requirement for gardenia plants, especially during the winter months.
Regulating the right humidity level is crucial for timely blooming of gardenias. On a general note, all types of gardenias are best grown in high humidity levels. However, extremely-high humidity and/or too dry soil causes browning of the gardenia plants. You can use a room humidifier to maintain high humidity level.
Application of fertilizers, three to four times in a year, is sufficient for the proper growth of gardenia plants. You can apply appropriate acid-based fertilizers during the spring, summer, and autumn months for maintaining healthy gardenias. Besides this, adding fertilizers that contain trace nutrients (manganese, iron, magnesium) is advisable for growing gardenia indoors.
Gardenia Plant Problems
Fungal infestation and sooty mold are common problems in indoor gardenia plants, especially due to the retention of water droplets on the foliage. Aphids, scales, thrips, spider mites, and mealybugs are other insects and pests that infect these plants. Yellowing and eventual falling of leaves indicates waterlogged soil. Presence of holes in the flower buds is a sign of caterpillar infestation, which should be controlled as soon as possible.
These beautiful, fragrant plants add freshness to your entire room. If possible, you can repot the gardenias in the spring. In case you are looking for information on how to plant a gardenia tree, you can apply the above tips.