Perfume Your Garden and Home with Gardenias

One of my favorite plants is the large white-flowered Mystery Gardenia (gardenia jasminoides) that grows to about 5' tall and wide. The perfume-like scent adds an exotic feeling to gardens. Plus, the large white flowers show up well in moonlight when many people more likely get a chance to take pleasure in their garden.

If you want to enjoy gardenias, plant them where they get sun. Most people plant gardenias in the shade because these plants love the same soil as shade-loving camellias and azaleas. However, gardenias can take full sun and prefer at least half a day of sunlight. Gardenias will not bloom well in the shade.

Don't over water your gardenias. Keep the soil surface moist, but not soggy. Don't let them dry out too much during flowering or they will drop their buds. To keep your plants from drying out, mulch well.

Gardenias also like rich organic soil, azalea/camellia fertilizer, and iron. If your gardenias get yellow leaves, they most likely need more iron. During the growing season, feed your gardenias every three weeks.

Don't get harsh when pruning gardenias. They need some leaves left on the stock so they can get nutrition. Prune after blooming but before fall so the plant gets a chance to grow and form new flowers for the next spring bloom.

Gardenias bloom from late spring well into summer. Besides the glorious creamy-white blooms, they give your garden a gorgeous deep green backdrop all year long.

Plant gardenias near your entry door to welcome guests and yourself with the invigorating perfume-like scent. Just one or two flowers floating in a bowl of water fills your home with natural fragrance. With over 200 species of gardenias, you're sure to find just the perfect variety at your local nursery for your garden.

Copyright 2005 Jeanette J. Fisher. All rights reserved.

Jeanette Fisher, author of Joy to the Home and other books, teaches interior Design Psychology. Free "What Is Design Psychology" Report

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