Gardenias are a fragrant shrub and a favorite landscaping choice for many gardeners. Vibrant green, tight, waxy leaves frame small, white glossy flowers. The flower's most attractive element is its sweet, enchanting fragrance. Named after South Carolina physician Alexander Garden, gardenias have been a fixture of American gardens since the colonial era. Most gardenia varieties bloom in the spring and do best in full sun to partial shade. Join the ranks of gardeners throughout the centuries who've enjoyed the fragrant beauty of gardenias by landscaping your property with them.
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Locate a spot in your yard that receives full sun to partial or even shifting shade throughout the day since gardenias produce the most amount of blooms under these conditions. Purchase established gardenia plants from a local nursery. Select an "own root" as opposed to "grafted" variety if you live in a cooler weather climate capable of reaching temperatures below 28 degrees Fahrenheit.
Design a landscaping theme that includes other plants and shrubs and incorporate gardenias into them. Select shorter varieties like Prostata or Veitchii for placement in front of taller flowers since those strains grow to around 2 feet tall. Place taller varieties growing 4 to 6 feet high like August Beauty or Mystery behind short shrubs and plants like dwarf hostas or even strawberry plants.
Test your soil by taking a small sample from the area you plan to plant gardenias to your local county extension office or a laboratory that tests soil. Read the results to discern what, if any, amendments must be added to improve the drainage in your soil and bring the pH levels below 7.0, as those are the conditions under which gardenias thrive.
Dig holes that are twice as wide and deep as the nursery pots that your gardenias are currently planted in. Pour the soil from the pot into the hole. Mix a few cups of vermiculite into the soil, if needed, to improve drainage. Fill the hole with soil up to 3 inches of the ground surface.
Carefully break apart the soil around the root system of the gardenia over the hole with your hands until the roots are exposed. Push aside the dirt from the center of the hole in your ground. Gently place the gardenia into the center of the hole.
Hold the gardenia with one hand and fill the hole with soil around the plant. Firmly press soil down around the base of the plant to create a moat. Water the plant immediately. Wait a few days and apply a liquid fertilizer to the gardenia. Repeat fertilizer application six months later.
Plant additional gardenias creating rings or rows in between other plants in breezy spots on your property with good air circulation so that the fragrance of the gardenias floats freely on the air. Space gardenias 3 to 6 feet apart.
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