While shopping at my local Garden Center today, I saw that there are now new hybrids of the gardenia that may make it through a Washington, DC winter. Good news for backyard gardeners. You do have to live in area with mild winters to keep one of these glorious beauties as part of your outdoor garden. You can keep one indoors as a houseplant almost anywhere in the world, if you are able to meet the requirements for its care.
They aren't the easiest of houseplants to keep but it can be done if you are willing to devote yourself to their regular upkeep. If you have a sunny location, can provide some humidity and keep them watered as they like, that will put you in a position to be quite successful with them. Without the specific care required, they tend to be susceptible to insect and disease.
With their calming deep green glossy foliage, and out-of-this-world fragrance emanating from soft-white flowers, a Gardenia can be a wondrous addition to the ambiance of a home.
These evergreen shrubs are native to Asia and Africa in areas with mild winters. They've been popular as a houseplant for a long time and the newer hybrids tend to be hardier indoors.
- At least 4 hours of direct sun daily. Full afternoon sun suits them well.
- Water a gardenia thoroughly when the soil surface is dry.
- Plants in a 6" (15 cm) diameter pot need about a pint (almost 1/2 liter) of water
- In an 8" (20 cm) diameter pot use about a quart (1 liter) of water
- In a 10" (25 cm) diameter pot, use about 2 quarts (2 liters) of water
- Humidity can be provided by daily misting.
- Or add humidity by setting the plant on a deep-dish saucer filled with pebbles and keeping water in the saucer up to the pebble line so as the water evaporates, it will provide some humidity to the plant.
- Fertilize regularly. They prefer a more acidic fertilizer such as Miracid by Miracle Gro.
- Gardenias should be kept cleaned up, removing any yellowing or dead leaves as soon as possible. Occasional dusting and a gentle showering from time to time is very helpful.
- If possible, setting them outdoors in a semi-shady spot for the summer will give them a good boost.
- They can be pruned to shape
The Indoor Garden TV