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Plant of the Month


A favorite of the perfume makers and florists, Gardenia is an attractive evergreen shrub or small tree.  Of the family Rubiaceae it has several cultivated forms.  It requires some special care but rewards the gardener with its rich, seductive scent and beautifully formed flowers and glossy green foliage.  Gardenia is a sub-tropical plant the family of which is native to tropical Africa and Asia

Plant Facts:

Common Name:  Gardenia

Botanical Name:  Gardenia

Family:  Rubiaceae

Plant Type:  Evergreen Shrub or Small Tree

Origin: Tropical Africa and Asia

Zones: 8 - 12, Sub-tropical -- withstands light frost

Height:  To 10'

Rate of Growth: Slow

Salt Tolerance: Not salt tolerant

Soil Requirements:  Neutral to acidic, fertile, humus-rich, moist but well-drained soil

Water Requirements: Water freely when in full growth, barely moist in winter

Nutritional Requirements: Balanced liquid fertilizer every 4 weeks

Light Requirements: Partial light or dappled shade

Form:  Bush or small tree

Leaves:  4" to 6" -- deep green and glossy

Flowers:  White, showy and fragrant -- blooms during Spring

Fruits: None

Pests:  Powdery mildew, bacterial leaf spot, anthracnose, dieback, fungal leaf spots, stem cankers, root knot nematodes, whiteflies, mealybugs, scale insects, aphids and thrips

Uses:  Accent bush -- show piece

Bad Habits: None

Cost:  $$ to $$$ -- reasonable to expensive

Propagation:   Greenwood cuttings in late spring or early summer, or semi-ripe cuttings in late summer

Sources:   A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants, The Subtropical Garden, Gardening in the Tropics

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Last updated 06/03/08