Indoor gardenia – a fragrant shrub with a striking appearance – Beautiful indoor plants

Gardenias are so often confused with camellias that they are mistakenly rejected “in absentia”. The status of “elite flowering shrub is not for everyone” makes these indoor plants similar, but gardenias are thermophilic, bloom in summer and autumn, do not require strict regimes and are amazingly fragrant. Exemplary flowers with uniquely pure pearlescent-creamy shades that change as the flower blooms and very beautiful leathery leaves look regal. Their aroma is inimitable, and their bright appearance fully explains the high cost of gardenias.

Indoor gardenia – a fragrant shrub with a striking appearance
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Description of the plant

Gardenia is not considered to be an unpretentious houseplant. She needs not just careful, but very careful care. Buying this legendary beauty is worth knowingly.

In room culture, one species is grown – gardenia regal, or jasmine (Gardenia jasminoides). The height of evergreen shrubs is limited to formation, in the indoor format gardenias usually remain within 40-50 cm, but they can be allowed to develop freely, form into tree-like silhouettes and even boles up to 1 m in height.

Gardenias have a spreading, wide and amazingly dense crown with densely branching, thin, strong, quickly woody shoots. Leaves sit in close pairs or three in whorls. They are luxuriously dense, leathery, medium-sized, shiny, oval-lanceolate, up to 10 cm in length. Gardenia greens surprise with a dark and cold, saturated shade, any changes in which always give problems with leaving.

Gardenia flowers are tubular, up to 7 cm in diameter, slightly sloppy and luminous. Seemingly waxy or porcelain, they bloom one at a time in the leaf axils. In indoor varieties, flowers are almost always double, with oval-rounded petals overlapping spirally and a unique dense texture. White buds and young flowers quickly transform, going through all the stages of the butter-creamy-creamy palette to a darker creamy yellow color. It is for gardenias that exemplary shades of ivory are characteristic.

Perhaps the most recognizable feature of a gardenia is its scent. Even the extraordinary beauty of the plant does not overshadow its strong, exquisite, heady, complex and bitter perfume reminiscent of the smell that exudes luxurious flowers.

The flowering period for gardenias traditionally lasts from June-July to October, but depends on the care taken, the temperature of the maintenance, and even access to fresh air. Gardenias are often “late”, reacting violently to being exposed to the open air.

Gardenia regal, or jasmine (Gardenia jasminoides)
Gardenia regal, or jasmine (Gardenia jasminoides)

Growing conditions for indoor gardenia

It is easy to find a suitable place for this shrub. Gardenias do not like strong shade or bright sun. But in diffused, soft lighting they develop well. Soft partial shade is ideal. You can find a place for a beauty not only on the windowsill, but also in the interior nearby. In winter, the lighting is increased to the maximum available by placing the bushes on the sunniest of the windowsills in the house.

For the summer, gardenias will gladly move into the fresh air, decorating the gardens and balconies. Choose a place in the garden and on the balcony from the number of shaded and well-protected areas.

For gardenias, stability of conditions throughout the entire budding stage is key. When the kidneys begin to form, you need to immediately abandon any permutations and try to maintain the same temperature (at least, limit its sharp jumps). And the rest of the time, gardenias do not like drafts and big changes.

During the period of active growth, gardenias adore a stable temperature of about 21 degrees. If they are taken out into the open air, they will not notice the heat. But in the rooms it is better not to let the plants (especially the root system) overheat or compensate for the uncomfortable temperatures with careful care.

Gardenias have a pronounced dormant period, which should be cool, but relative. Gardenias do not require such low temperatures and strict regime as camellias. This shrub will be able to fully prepare for winter in any cool, light or semi-shaded place with a temperature of about 16 degrees. The minimum value that gardenias will take out is 10 degrees Celsius. An increase to 20 degrees and above will not jeopardize flowering, but you will have to proportionally raise the air humidity.

You can find a gardenia place not only on the windowsill, but also in the interior nearby
You can find a gardenia place not only on the windowsill, but also in the interior nearby

Home gardenia care

Gardenia maintenance should protect the plant from drastic changes and stabilize conditions as much as possible. If the lighting and temperatures were chosen correctly, then a comfortable high humidity is the key to the normal development and health of this beauty.

Read also our article Indoor camellia – very beautiful, but not for everyone.

Watering and air humidity

Gardenias love constant soil moisture. It is easy to maintain without overflowing the plant and only allowing the top of the substrate to dry slightly between water treatments. The water in the trays should not remain for a long time. Stagnant water and drought are equally dangerous for gardenias and most often lead to dropping of buds, and sometimes leaves. For the dormant period, watering is reduced, the substrate is dried more, but still not completely.

Gardenias can only be watered with water warmer than room temperature (35 to 50 degrees), choosing the softest options available. Rainwater works best for this plant, but you can purposely slightly acidify the settled water for added protection against changing soil response.

Gardenias love humid air, and the higher the numbers, the more beautiful their greenery. For them, it is initially better to choose fairly humid places or a company of moisture-loving neighbors. You can compensate for the dry air in the house by simple methods – using containers filled with pebbles or moss, pallets with wet expanded clay. They love spraying, but only on the leaves. Spraying the flowers of a plant is one of the biggest mistakes in growing these plants.

The minimum humidity indicators are 40%; in winter, at temperatures above 20 degrees, they need to be raised to 70% or more. The maximum moisture content of gardenia is also preferred during budding.

Leaves can be kept clean with polishes or a simple damp wipe. Gardenias love warmth.

Gardenias love spraying, but only on the leaves.
Gardenias love spraying, but only on the leaves.

Top dressing and composition of fertilizers

Top dressing for gardenias is not carried out all year round, but only during the period of active growth, after transplanting, waiting 4 to 8 weeks for these procedures to resume. Fertilizers are applied from March to August, using full doses with a frequency of about 1 time in 2-3 weeks. Gardenias are also very responsive to foliar feeding.

It is easy to find fertilizers for gardenias: they are content only with special fertilizers for rhododendrons or halved dosages of fertilizers for flowering plants. Getting enough iron and magnesium is critical for the plant. Before buying fertilizers, it is better to make sure of the completeness of the composition and always have on hand special monofertilizers that can be used in case of signs of chlorosis (the appearance of light spots on luxurious leaves).

Pruning and shaping gardenias

Gardenias need formative pruning. The branches are shortened, leaving at least 2-3 buds, according to the desired contour and size. You can let the shrubs grow: to get more natural forms, limiting themselves to pinching the tops and lightly trimming the ends of long shoots. Fading flowers should be removed regularly.

Gardenias need formative pruning
Gardenias need formative pruning

Transplant, containers and substrate

Gardenias are transplanted while the substrate is filled with roots, usually every two years. You can start transplanting with the start of shoot growth in February or March.

For gardenias, you do not have to select a substrate for a long time: they grow well in special soil for rhododendrons. Their light, rough texture is ideal. When self-compiling the soil, coarse loosening components must be introduced and weakly acidic soil mixtures are created.

Gardenias are carefully rolled over, keeping the earthy clod intact. A high, coarse drainage should be laid out at the bottom of the container. For gardenias, the depth level is not changed. And after transplantation, they provide the most mild conditions. Overflow and drought are very dangerous.

Diseases, pests and growing problems

Gardenias react to almost any problem in the same way – dropping buds and flowers. And not only improper watering, displacement, draft, lack of light, but also heat can lead to such a reaction. Gardenia suffers from errors in watering more often than from pests, but they are not uncommon.

This is one of the favorite plants of aphids and scale insects, which are not so easy to remove from the leaves. Washing and spraying with systemic insecticides is the best strategy.

Gardenia suffers from errors in watering more often than from pests, but they are not uncommon.
Gardenia suffers from errors in watering more often than from pests, but they are not uncommon.

Read also our article The most fragrant indoor plants.

Reproduction of gardenias

Luxurious gardenias are propagated by simple cuttings. During the entire phase of active growth, from spring to mid-summer, they can cut off the tops of non-flowering shoots, on which no buds have formed – about 10 cm, with two buds. Twigs are rooted in greenhouses with lower heating, after treatment with growth stimulants, in a standard substrate.

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Anna Evans

Author ✓ Farmer

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