I thought of titling this post as “How I finally managed to get my Gardenias to flower”, but this post is actually about so much more than just getting them to flower. I think for inexperienced gardeners (like myself) Gardenias are tricky. Its a labour of love to successfully grow Gardenias – personally I have found them far more complicated than roses. Roses are a dream if you pick the right rose for your location, follow the guidelines, use a bit of common-garden-sense and they will reward you pretty quickly. Not so Gardenias … or at least that is my experience.

The eight Gardenia shrubs were planted in my garden 3 years ago, small fledgling plants, planted in what I now call my “Gardenia Bed” (yes I know, very unoriginal!). One shrub flowered that first year if I remember correctly, because I did manage to take one good photograph of a Gardenia bloom. But I also recall the bloom lasted only a day and then fell off, and the rest of the buds on that shrub all fell off without flowering. None of the others flowered. And so its been an ongoing battle with these shrubs. Never mind the flowers, the shrubs always look(ed) poorly and a few weeks ago I made the decision to give the remaining plants one last go or … into the compost pile.

I removed the very worst looking specimen and then took to my books and the Internet, compiled notes and set to work. Here is what I learnt:

Gardenias apparantly like:
Well-drained, slightly acidic soil with a pH of 5.5 to 6.
Water regularly – Gardenias like to be well watered but roots will rot if they ‘stand’ in water and buds will drop.
Do not over fertilise (they are sensitive to salt build up)
Compost and MULCH!
If the plant’s leaves begin to yellow, spray with chelated iron. Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) can also help to solve this problem.
Fertilise with Seagro (they seem to like that)

I did all this six weeks ago, have watered them regularly, have fertislised regularly (using less than recommended by the manufacturers every two weeks), composted, mulched and …

Leaves looked poorly 6 weeks agoGardenia leaves looked poorly

The very worst of itThe very worst of it

Looking much better six weeks onLooking much better six weeks on

Looking better after treatmentLooking better after treatment

The Gardenias shrubs look a whole lot better and today, (imagine my excitement) I found to my delight that the first bud has opened! It was pouring with rain but I had to run outside and take a photograph as proof!

My Gardenia actually flowered!

My Gardenia Bloom!
I am thrilled!

Happy Gardening

Gardenias Jasminoides – (Mine are Gardenia Jasminoides) – Gardenia jasminoides, (common gardenia, cape jasmine or cape jessamine) is a fragrant flowering evergreen tropical plant. With its shiny green leaves and fragrant white summer flowers, it is widely used in gardens in warm temperate and subtropical climates. It has been in cultivation in China for at least a thousand years, and was introduced to English gardens in the mid 18th century. Many varieties have been bred for horticulture, with low growing, and large- and long flowering forms.