Even though it is more commonly thought of as a plant that thrives in the Deep South and other consistently warmer regions of the country, gardeners in cooler zones can still look forward to the heady vanilla aroma of the gardenia flower (Gardenia jasminoides, USDA zones 7 to 11) in early summer. Gardenia jasminoides can be grown in the United States Department of Agriculture zones 7 to 11. The absence of blossoms and an overall sickly look are the two primary reasons why gardeners dislike growing gardenias. Gardenias are considered to be one of the most finicky little shrubs for the home landscaping. However, gardenias that have just been planted tend to perform rather well in the first year following planting, and even stem cuttings that have recently been rooted tend to produce flowers in the first full season after being propagated.
If the gardenia is given the appropriate amount of care, the plants will produce blooms the very first spring after they have been planted. Gardenia flowers bloom in the spring.
About the Gardenia Flower
Gardenia is not a real jasmine, despite the fact that it is often referred to as cape jasmine. Depending on the cultivar, this shrub may grow anywhere from two to six feet tall and has glossy leaves. It is an evergreen perennial plant. It is prized for the creamy, waxy white blossoms that it bears. When does gardenia bloom? Late in the month of March, flowers start to bloom in warm places, and throughout the summer, they captivate visitors with their strong vanilla smell.
Some cultivars, such as ‘Frostproof,’ ‘Jubilation,’ and ‘Crown Jewel,’ have additional cold hardiness to zone 7, which is advised by Clemson Cooperative Extension. The majority of cultivars are cold hardy in USDA zones 8 through 11, but Clemson Cooperative Extension notes that some cultivars have cold hardiness to zone 7. Gardenias, much like roses, blueberries, and azaleas, like acidic soils, with a pH ranging anywhere from 5.0 to 6.5. If the pH of the soil is higher than 7.0, they will have a difficult time surviving there.
Flowering After Planting
A gardenia that has been recently planted in the ground should begin producing flowers in the same year that it is established, unless the plant has been subjected to extreme neglect and cruelty. It is best to avoid planting gardenias next to concrete house foundations or near concrete sidewalks since the lime that leaches from the concrete will cause the pH of the soil around the plant to rise and remain elevated. A newly planted gardenia requires constant watering at a rate of at least one inch per week, and maybe even more during very hot or dry times. This need is shared by all plants that have been recently disturbed.
Make sure that the area where the plants will go has been modified with peat moss and compost, as this will help to acidify the soil and protect the area from becoming waterlogged. In climates with higher average temperatures, gardenias will produce a greater number of flowers if they are given with some kind of shade during the warmest portion of the day.
Flowering in Subsequent Years
The primary reasons a gardenia does not bloom in the years following its planting are excessively alkaline soils and wet feet. This can be remedied by acidifying the soil to better meet the requirements of the gardenia or by adjusting the amount of water that is applied to the plant on a regular basis. The phenomenon known as “bud drop,” in which a plant suddenly loses nearly mature flower buds just as they are about to bloom, can be caused not only by over- or under-watering, but also by conditions that are beyond the control of the gardener, such as low humidity and consistently high overnight temperatures.
Iron-rich fertiliser should be applied to the gardenia plant if it continues to produce few blooms or if it does not bloom at all, despite the fact that it receives an acceptable amount of water and has proper drainage. Removing the plant and amending the soil with peat moss, an abundance of organic matter, and an acid-based fertiliser is another option for a solution that will last for a longer period of time.
Blooming after Propagation
According to North Carolina State University, propagating gardenias is not too difficult, whether you start with seeds or take cuttings from existing plants. However, it may take plants grown from seeds up to three years to produce flowers, while softwood stem cuttings often produce flowers within a year of being planted. It is possible to take cuttings from any newly grown green wood, but they will root more successfully if they are at least 5 inches long and have three pairs of leaves.
Following the application of a rooting hormone to the cutting, it should be planted in a medium consisting of peat moss and sand or perlite in a ratio of 50:50. To keep a high level of humidity around the cuttings, keep them covered with a piece of loose plastic or an inverted box made of plastic. Cuttings should be sprayed with water and given bottom water every other day for the first 10 to 14 days, or until new roots have formed and the cutting has begun to produce new leaves. After that, the cuttings are prepared to be planted in a growth medium that is based on dirt.