House Plant Index
|Potting or re-potting time
|Position in garden during summer
Green shining leaves and waxen flowers of glorious fragrance grace this Chinese shrub. Unfortunately it rarely succeeds under average window garden conditions. You purchase a thriving plant at the greenhouse, literally covered with tight green buds and a flower or two' and carry it home in high expectation-only to have the buds drop off one by one before they open. Perhaps you are one of the fortunate gardeners who can make a gardenia happy in your home; there are such gardeners and their skill and care is repaid a thousand fold when the lovely flowers open.
A gardenia plant must never dry out, nor must the soil, which encloses its roots, remain too wet. Between these two conditions lies the happy medium, which spells success. Bottom. watering, then disposal of any water left in the saucer is the safest procedure. Foliage should receive a daily spraying. Mealybugs and red spider will probably make their appearance; promptly exterminate them.
Gardenias like sun, but should be kept out of it while the leaves are wet from spraying. When you plunge the plant in the garden during the summer and give it the light shade it needs, place it where trees and bushes will not drip rain on it, as the foliage spots badly. An occasional bud will form during the summer. Remove it as soon as it is detected. Desultory summer flowers will only lessen the chances of winter bloom. Return the gardenia to the house sometime in August before a light, early frost transforms a thing of beauty into a blackened denuded skeleton.