Gardenia Care &
Growing Gardenias Organically

With the correct gardenia care these perennial, evergreen shrubs will provide you with months of fragrant, white flowers. They originate from tropical areas of South Asia and Africa and grow best in areas of high humidity with bright light.

Position them along paths or near seating areas so their scent can transport you to exotic places as you enjoy your garden.

Gardenia Care: Plant Snapshot

Gardenia Care
  • Gardenia (Gardenia)
  • Annual or perennial? Perennial
  • Recommended varieties (by color):
    • White: Gardenia Augusta, Kleims Hardy, Prostrata, Veitchii
  • Recommended USDA Hardiness zones: 08a to 11a depending on variety
  • Mature Height: 12 to 96 inches (30 to 244 cm) depending on variety
  • Mature Spread: 36 to 96 inches (90 to 244 cm) depending on variety
  • Sun Requirements: partial shade, partial to full sun
  • Blooming season: early, mid & late spring, early, mid & late summer, early, late & mid fall, early & mid winter
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Gardenia Care: Planting the Seed, Transplanting and/or Root Division

Where to Find Planting Supplies...

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It is possible to propagate gardenias from seed, although plants are difficult to grow and will take 2 to 3 years to flower. The most successful method of propagation is to take root cuttings.

Take cuttings in the spring or fall when the plant is dormant, and water the plant the day before you do. In frost prone areas, grow in containers so plants can be overwintered indoors.

To take and replant cuttings, look for small sprouting sections at the plant’s edge. Lift gently with a trowel or small shovel to see early root development. Cut through root sections that link suckers back to the main plant. Loosen the soil on all sides. Lift the plant and repot in a prepared hole or container.

Snapshot: Planting Gardenia Shrubs

  • Germination soil temperature: 59 to 75 degrees F (15 to 24 C)
  • Distance between plants: about 48 inches (120 cm)
  • Planting depth: as deep as the root ball
  • Days to germination: 25 to 30 days
  • Preferred soil pH (see soil pH tester for more information): 4.5 to 6
  • Root division information (perennials only):
    • Root system type (clumping, spreading, rhizome or tuber): spreading
    • Roots division frequency: Every 3 to 4 years
    • In which season should dividing occur? Winter or early spring when plant is dormant
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Care of Gardenias: Watering, Fertilizing, Overwintering & Pruning Gardenias

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Gardenias need to be kept steadily moist to ensure successful flowering. Roots are easily damaged, so it is import that the surrounding soil doesn’t dry up. Feed throughout the year with an organic garden fertilizer.

Prune lightly after flowering has finished. In addition to clipping new growth to shape the plant, cut out any dead wood. Deadheading flowers will increase the volume of blooms over the season.

Plants will need overwintering indoors in all but the warmest climates. Bring inside to a temperature of no lower than 50 F (10 C). Gardenias will still need an organic high-nitrogen liquid feed over winter at intervals of about every six weeks.

Snapshot: Gardenia Bush Care

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Gardenia Care: Harvesting/Cutting Time

Gardenias provide blooms and greenery for floral arrangements that will only last a couple of days. Cut stems early in the morning or during the evening using sharp shears.

Their exotic appearance also works well as floating specimens in glass or ceramic bowls. For this, cut just the flower blooms with no more than an inch (2.5cm) of stem then drop them straight into water.

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Gardenia Care: Pests & Diseases

Planting in pots that can be moved indoors over winter will help reduce pests and diseases.

The following pests and diseases have been known to affect the success of growing Gardenia Bush (see Organic Garden Pest Control for information about how to prevent and address pests and diseases)...


  • Aphids
  • Caterpillars
  • Glasshouse red spider mite
  • Mealy bug
  • Scale insects
  • Thrips


  • Chlorosis
  • Powdery mildew
  • Root rots
  • Sooty mold
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