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Gardenia Shrubs for Sale - Buying & Growing Guide

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How to Plant Gardenia Shrubs

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by Mary Van Keuren | Gardener (30+ Years Experience) – last update on January 10, 2023

Choosing the right spot for your gardenia will help it grow and flower profusely. They do best in a site that gets about 6 hours or more of direct light, although they can manage with some afternoon shade. They like well-drained, acidic soil and prefer humid conditions to dry.

When grown outdoors, gardenia shrubs can reach 8 feet tall, but smaller varieties that are suited to container growing are also available. Growing a gardenia indoors is not difficult. The first step is to choose a container that leaves about 2 inches all around the plant’s root ball.

Whether planted outdoors or in, gardenias need adequate water to thrive. Mulching around the plant’s root zone with an organic mulch like bark chips will help conserve water and keep the soil moist.

How to Grow Gardenia Shrubs

  • When. Plant your gardenia shrub in spring or fall; container-grown shrubs can be planted any time.
  • Where. Gardenias grow best in an acidic soil that has a pH of between  5.0 and 6.5 and has had a high level of organic material added in.
  • How. If you’re planting outdoors, unpot your shrub and tease out any encircling roots. Dig a hole that’s twice as wide as the root ball and just as deep. Mix some well-rotted compost or manure into the bottom of the hole. Place the shrub in the hole and fill in around it with topsoil mixed with compost or manure. Tamp down as you go to eliminate air pockets. Water thoroughly.

How to Care for Gardenia Shrubs

  • Watering and nutrients. Your gardenia shrub needs about 1 inch of water a week, either from rain or supplemental watering. In drought conditions, water several times a week. In spring and mid-summer, fertilize with a product intended for acid-loving plants.
  • Pruning. Gardenias need little pruning. Clip spent flowers, and prune out any dead, diseased, or damaged branches. You may shape the tree lightly as needed, but this may lead to decreased flowering the following year.

Pollination. Many insects are attracted to the gardenia’s fragrant flowers, but moths are the primary pollinators.