How to take care of your... Gardenia Jasminoides (Cape Jasmine)

by Lea charpier on August 15, 2020

Where to place your Gardenia?

When growing a Gardenia indoors, you must keep in mind that it requires bright light and high humidity. Indoor gardenias should not be placed in direct sun, but in a room that gets plenty of bright, indirect light.

How important is Humidity to Gardenias?

Gardenias do enjoy humidity.  Unfortunately, most homes simply contain dry air.  You could buy a fancy pebble tray, but you can make your own, more economical version that will work just as well.  Simply get a large plastic plant saucer.  Fill it about 3/4" deep with gravel.  Add water almost to the tops of the pebbles.  (You don't want your plant sitting in water at any time.)  The evaporation from this saucer will keep at least the immediate area around your plant comfortably moist.  Misting the Gardenia plant is not recommended, as this may cause problems with fungal leaf spot.

How often should you water Gardenia?

Gardenias don't like to dry out, so keep their soil moist but not soggy.  (Never let them stand in water!) During the winter, the plant may use less water due to decreased evaporation from heat and sunlight, so you can cut back some on watering, letting the top half inch of soil dry out before you give your plant a drink.

Getting the right temperature

Pay attention here!  If the temperatures aren't right, your Gardenias will drop their buds in protest.  Daytime temperatures that suit humans are just fine for Gardenias. At night, though, they much prefer a temperature ranging from 50-55°F. Above 70 degrees during the day and 65 degrees at night, they may drop buds that have already formed. Avoid drafty locations near windows or doors, which can cause swings in humidity and temperature.

How often should you fertilize Gardenias?

Gardenias are acid-loving plants, so use an acid-based fertilizer.  These are clearly labeled as being for acid-loving plants.  You can certainly cut back on fertilizer in the winter, but generally a monthly regimen is fine for your plant.

To repot or not to repot?

One thing to keep in mind if you have just purchased your gardenia is that is is probably in the correct soil already. It isn't a good idea to repot a new gardenia because it will probably go into shock and drop all its buds. Gardenias do best if they are slightly root-bound so there is really no need to repot it unless you see roots coming out of the top of the plant. If you don't like the pot it is in, just place it inside a slightly larger, decorative pot.

Do you need to prune Gardenias?

Deadhead or remove spent blossoms. Don't be afraid to prune your gardenia as necessary. Pruning encourages healthy new growth and blossoms. For most gardenia varieties, pruning should be done right after the plant is done blooming. If you wait too long to prune, it will not bloom the next year.

 

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