Gardenias are temperamental and very picky. Did you know that?

Yes, I am back here on the blog! And today we are talking G A R D E N I A S.

I remember gardenias from many, many MANY years ago: way back when I would be given one to wear as a corsage at a dance. I am betting many of you have no idea what I am taking about….but take it from me, it was a very romantic almost other-worldly experience to have that intoxicating scent pinned to your dress, or wrapped on to your wrist, while you danced and flirted and sort of played at being grown up. I’m talking eighteen years old.

Fast forward to my garden in North Carolina forty years later. I was given a full grown plant by our very favorite neighbor who was moving. She is the one who taught me about Southern gardening in all its glory. The plants, the seasons, the people I should watch, the many books, the local growers and more. That was in 2013 or 2014.

 Here, in 2015, is a video I made and posted on YouTube.

This method really does work! The video has had, would you believe, over 50K views and I hope there are people out there who have had similar success. From my one gifted plant I now have two mature plants both in pots.

Then again…they have their problems:

They have had their ups and downs.  The two above are from 2018 and 2019.  Looking kind of ragged and forlorn…

But then again, when they bloom and are really in season, they are gorgeous.

I mean, who could possibly not like and want this??


Pruning. I’m always hesitant to do this. But this year I went ahead and, as you can see below, trimmed some main branches just above the new leaf module. So far (two weeks out) they seem fine and healthy.


And then…we have a gardenia seed pod!

gardenia seed pod


These orange or red pods appear in early spring: some years they do, and some they never appear. So if you open it there will be 3-4 seeds which can be planted in early spring. I’ve never done this so would love to hear if anyone out there has had success.


I’ve gathered some important information for you if you have or want to grow gardenias:

  1. I have mine in pots (large). Here in Zone 7b they can stay out all winter. I used to bring them in but have found that in a slightly sheltered area i.e. my terrace protected on two sides, they are just fine when left out all winter.
  2. I have had them in both very sunny locations (afternoon sun!) as well as partly shaded. Either one seems ok for these plants.
  3. They need mulch! This I have never done and will definitely be applying triple shred mulch next week.
  4. Water. Keep that water coming. Again, I have been remiss in this.
  5. They need food!  I haven’t paid much attention to this. So this season they have already been the lucky recipients of two feedings of Miracid. Note: you can also use coffee grounds or even white vinegar mixed with water but just make sure they get some acidity in that soil.
  6. Pruning. I’ve always been much too afraid to attempt this. But this month I did actually prune them back a bit. Clip just above a leaf nodule. Hopefully my plants will fill out after this pruning!

I hope you have learned something here and just might want to go and look for a gardenia plant for yourself. Let me know any questions or comments!






P.S.       Do you know I have a YouTube channel?  Take a look: