How to Grow Gardenias Indoors or Outdoors

Updated on June 19, 2020
OldRoses profile image

Caren White is a Master Gardener and instructor at Home Gardeners School. She has been associated with Rutgers Gardens for over a decade.

Source

A friend emailed me asking for help with a gardenia houseplant that she had been gifted. It wasn’t doing well. She had researched the plants but couldn’t find any answers. Did I have any idea what might be wrong with her plant? This was a no-brainer. Gardenias need acidic soil and her plant was most likely growing in regular potting soil with a neutral pH. I told her to buy some Miracid to lower the pH of the soil. Miracid has been around for years and is the most popular product on the market for acid loving plants. It’s my go-to recommendation for lowering the pH of soil both indoors and outdoors.

What are Gardenias?

Gardenia (Gardenia spp.) is a genus of small flowering trees that are native to Africa, Madagascar, Asia and the Pacific Islands. They are related to coffee trees. They are popular because of their fragrant flowers. The different species of gardenia range in size from 3 to 50 feet tall. The flowers, usually white or cream color, also differ depending on the species. They can be single or double and as small as 2 inches across or as large as 4 inches across.

The most popular gardenia species is G. jasminoides. These are smaller trees that usually only grow to 6 feet. Because they are only hardy in zones 8 – 11 most gardeners grow them indoors as houseplants. When grown as houseplants, they usually only attain a height of 18 inches.

Their glossy dark green leaves are evergreen meaning they don’t die and fall from the trees in the fall. They stay green and healthy year-round. The flowers are white. They are among the larger gardenia flowers, being double and about 4 inches across. Bloom time is summer through early fall.

Gardenias can be grown outdoors in zones 8 - 11.
Gardenias can be grown outdoors in zones 8 - 11. | Source

How to Grow Gardenias Outdoors

If you live in growing zones 8 – 11, you are in luck. You can grow gardenias outdoors. As previously mentioned, these trees need acidic soil with a pH between 5.0 and 6.5. You should have a soil test done on the soil where you plan to plant your trees. A soil test will determine not only the pH of your soil, but also the nutrient content of the soil. If done in a professional soil lab, your results will also have suggested amendments to add to your soil to enhance its fertility. Ideally you should have your soil test done 6 months before you plant your trees to give the amendments, including the acidifying one, a chance to work their way through your soil.

Gardenias love the sun, but need protection in warmer areas from too much sun. Try to plant your tree where it will get morning sun and partial shade in the afternoon.

These trees need 1 inch of water each week. If your area is going through a drought period, water your tree weekly to make sure that it is getting that critical 1 inch of water.

Gardenias should be fertilized twice a year with a slow-release fertilizer that is formulated especially for acid loving plants. Apply the first time in mid-spring and then again approximately 6 weeks later in mid-summer. No matter how tempting, do not fertilize your tree in the fall. When you fertilize, it encourages the tree to produce new growth. New growth in the fall will not have enough time to harden off before winter, so it will die.

In colder regions, gardenias can be grown indoors in containers.
In colder regions, gardenias can be grown indoors in containers. | Source

How to Grow Gardenias Indoors

Those of us in colder climates have to grow our gardenias indoors as houseplants, only moving them outdoors temporarily during warm weather. They are notoriously difficult to grow indoors but with a little care, you can be successful.

There are potting soils that are specifically formulated for acid-loving plants like gardenias. Make sure you use one when potting or repotting your tree.

Light and humidity are the biggest stumbling blocks to successfully growing gardenias indoors. Our homes are not light enough for sun loving plants. If you have a sunroom or greenhouse, grow your tree there. That way they get sunlight on all sides instead of just one side as they would in front of an ordinary window.

Our homes are not just too dark, they are also very dry from a plant’s point of view. We have dehumidifiers on our HVAC units to prevent mold from growing. You will need to provide extra humidity for your tree. Purchase a humidifier and place it nearby. Misting alone will not provide enough humidity.

And don’t forget to water! The soil will need to be kept moist. Don’t allow it to dry out. Consistent watering is key.

Fertilizer is especially important for plants grown in pots because every time you water, the water leaches nutrients for the soil. You need to replace those nutrients. Either use a slow release fertilizer or fertilize your tree every two weeks with a soluble fertilizer. Use a fertilizer that is formulated specifically for acid-loving plants.

You can move your gardenia outdoors in the spring when the night time temperatures are consistently above 60⁰F. Move it back indoors in the fall when the night time temperatures fall to 60⁰F. Gardenias are very sensitive to cold temperatures so when it is indoors make sure that it is out of the way of any cold drafts.

Another spring chore: repotting your tree. They usually need to be repotted every two years.

These gradenias were planted and pruned to be a hedge.
These gradenias were planted and pruned to be a hedge. | Source

How to Prune Gardenias

Whether grown indoors or outdoors, gardenias benefit from regular pruning. Prune your tree after it finishes blooming. This is because the buds for next year’s flowers form this year. If you prune your tree in the spring before it blooms, you risk cutting off buds so you will have few or no flowers.

Make sure you first prune away any dead or diseased branches. Then you can prune to shape your tree or manage its size.

© 2020 Caren White

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • OldRoses profile imageAUTHOR

      Caren White 

      2 weeks ago

      You're welcome! Thank you for taking the time to read this. Glad you found it helpful.

    • Theblogchick profile image

      Theblogchick 

      2 weeks ago from United States

      Hi Caren,

      I think gardenias flowery plants are very awesome. I didnt know you can also grow them indoors. Thanks for sharing this interesting and informative hub.

    • OldRoses profile imageAUTHOR

      Caren White 

      2 weeks ago

      Agreed. It's difficult to grow them indoors but the scent is the payoff.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      2 weeks ago from Ontario, Canada

      I love the smell of gardenias in the garden, and I always envy family and friends with gardenias in their Florida garden. It is harder to grow them outside in Canada, but I did try indoors. It is not as healthy and robust as I would want it to be.

    • OldRoses profile imageAUTHOR

      Caren White 

      2 weeks ago

      Glad to be helpful. Thanks for stopping by.

    • Marisa Writes profile image

      Marisa Wright 

      2 weeks ago from Melbourne, Australia

      Living in Australia, it never occurred to me that gardenias could grow indoors! I adore gardenias but I have a very exposed, windy balcony, so I'd resigned myself to not having one. I may rethink!

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, dengarden.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)