I Love This Plant: Gardenia

I am going to warn you ahead of time, this post does not do this plant justice.  I was introduced to this plant by a gardener who brought the flowers to work and the scent was amazing!  It is one of the reasons I wanted to start gardening.  Gardenias are not the easiest plant to grow.  They don’t like freezing winters and they need lots of supplemental water during the summer.  They require acidic soil and if your soil is alkaline like mine, that means adding peat moss before planting and supplemental fertilizer with acid. And they bloom only in May and August.  So, since I have been touting the +2 system requiring plants to earn their place in my garden, why do I baby these divas?  The scent is worth it.  If you want to know what a gardenia smells like, go to the perfume counter and try Ralph Lauren’s Pure Turquoise.  That will give you a distant clue to what these flowers smell like.  I have two cultivars: Cape Jasmine “Radicans” a dwarf version and a new introduction “Jubilation” by Southern Living.  both have pure white multiple blossoms and waxy green leaves.  The Radicans is doing wonderful the Jubilation is struggling a little bit.  I think it needs more acid.  I have saved the pics til the end because even though they are beautiful, I grow them for the scent.  The flowers tend to be short stemmed so pick 2-3 and float them in water, leave one in your car, or do what I am always tempted to do, just stuff one up each nostril and the world is suddenly a better place! Here are my babies:

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2 thoughts on “I Love This Plant: Gardenia

  1. Beautiful! Nothing says tropical like gardenias. And few flowers can come close to that scent – but a gorgeous peony can!

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