Want to learn how to plant, grow and care for gardenias? I can't say I blame you... growing gardenia plants is a rewarding experience. The fragrant pure white blooms is the reason these plants are regarded so highly.
If you are lucky enough to live in the southern areas of North America (or other areas of the world closer to the equator and offering a temperate climate)you can grow these beautiful plants in your outdoor garden. To grow a gardenia, it is best to start with a young plant purchased from your local garden center.
Plant the gardenia in a full sun to partial shade location in your garden. The soil that you plant your gardenia in should retain moisture but never be saturated. If your soil is too moist the plant will get "root rot". The gardenia will literally rot from the root system up the plant stems and then die.
The gardenia enjoys high humidity conditions. If you live in an arid (i.e.,a "non-humid") environment, you can simulate humidity by misting the plant daily. The other condition that the gardenia enjoys is cool night temperatures (again, you may or may not "have" this in your environment).
You will want to take the extra steps of fertilizing your gardenia. To keep your gardenia growing and blooming though the garden season use a rhododendron food fertilizer.This will encourage new leafy shoots and encourage your plant to show its beautiful pure white blooms. It is best to treat your plants every three weeks with the fertilizer. Before you do though, make sure the ground around the plant is not too dry. The reason for this?
If you fertilize when the ground is dry you risk the chance of burning the plant with the fertilizer.
A word of caution... digging up the earth around a gardenia can damage the root system (which is very shallow). So to reduce the risk of disturbing the earth around the gardenia surround the plant with 2-3 inches of wood chips or saw dust to help retain moisture and to keep weeds at bay.
If you are living in parts of the world that are not conducive to growing gardenia plants outside there is an alternative. Growing gardenias inside can be just as rewarding -- just follow the instructions I outlined earlier in this article. To sum up, here are the main points for growing gardenias successfully...
1) The plant needs to be in a well lit position in your home or in your garden.
2) Mist your gardenias regularly to "create humidity."
3) Keep the plant's earth moist (but never saturated with water).
4) Fertilize every three weeks to encourage growth.
Follow these simple steps and you'll be well on your way to enjoying the gardenia's beautiful, fragrant blooms!
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