Gardenia Tree: Care and Growing Guide (Watering, Pruning and More)

The gardenia tree has beautiful lush evergreen leaves, dazzling white fragrant flowers, and an enticing scent. It is a tiny tree with delicate foliage. Gardenia is a shrub, but you may have a braided gardenia or a single stem plant that resembles a miniature tree-like structure. In temperate climates, you may cultivate a topiary gardenia tree indoors, and in subtropical or tropical gardens, you may cultivate it outdoors.

The art of growing a gardenia tree in your yard or in a container is covered in this article. You’ll also learn ways on how to care for this tropical blooming shrub-like tree and deal with any developing problems.

Gardenia Tree (Gardenia jasminoides) Facts

Gardenia tree is a single or braided stem trained to grow like a tree that grows in the tropics. The slender stem, rounded crown of thick, glossy, leathery dark green leaves, and brilliant-white showy flowers bloom from spring through summer in USDA zones 8 to 11.

A gardenia tree typically grows to be 2–7 feet (0.6–2.1 meters) tall and 2–3 feet (0.6–1 meters) broad. In temperate regions, you may cultivate gardenias as flowering annuals. Indoor overwintering is possible with pots. In addition, they can be found in Florida and other southern US states throughout the year.

The tropical and subtropical regions of the world are home to Gardenia trees and shrubs. The gardenia tree is also known as cape jasmine or jasmine rose. The fragrant white blooms with a rose-like look but are similar to jasmine blooms make the evergreen plant renowned.

How to Care For Gardenia Tree Outdoors

Plant a gardenia tree in full sun or moderate afternoon shade in organically rich, fertile soil to take care of it outside. Weekly, give the soil at least 1 inch (2.5 cm) of water to stay moist. To keep the gardenia shape, prune it yearly. During the growing season, fertilize every four weeks.

How to Care For Gardenia Tree Indoors

Plant a gardenia tree in well-drained, acidic peat-based soil to grow it indoors. At least four hours of sunlight per day is required for gardenias. When the top 0.5 inch (1.3 cm) of potting soil is dried, thoroughly water it, allowing excess water to drain. Raising the humidity level by putting the pot on a pebble tray with water.

Gardenia Bush vs. Gardenia Tree

A gardenia plant is a multi-stemmed plant that can be trained as a topiary tree with single-petaled blooms. The gardenia bush’s slender stems may be braided and supported in order for them to develop as a single trunk tree, with the most upright stem being selected to become the tree’s trunk. The gardenia tree produces a lollipop-style appearance with careful nurturing and pruning.

Gardenia Flowers

Depending on the cultivar, Gardenia blossoms might be solitary or double blooms. With slightly ruffled ivory white petals surrounding a yellowish center, the flowers may be single or double blooms. White gardenia blooms may grow up to 4 inches (10 cm) in diameter, depending on the cultivar.

From mid-spring to late summer, the gardenia tree produces flowers. The aromatic white blooms of the summer blooming gardenia tree are lovely, and if you deadhead spent blossoms, the tree might rebloom in late summer. It’s important to recall that gardenia blooms may wither due to the harsh afternoon tropical heat and dryness.

Controlling the temperature is critical to ensuring a potted gardenia tree blossoms indoors. Gardenia flower buds can be damaged by fluctuations in temperature or exposure to direct sunlight for many hours. A temperature of 70°F (20°C) is optimal for blooming.

Growing Gardenia Tree in a Pot Outdoors

In a container garden, on a patio or deck, or next to an entryway, a potted gardenia tree is ideal. A mix of equal parts potting soil and peat moss amended with perlite is the finest potting soil for growing gardenia trees outdoors. Position the potted gardenia tree in a location that is protected from the afternoon heat. When the top layer of soil dries up, it usually happens every week or so. Growing a potted gardenia tree outside can be difficult, so here are some tips:

  • Watered every week outdoors gardenia trees, but only once a month for indoors gardenia.
  • To encourage flowering, fertilize the tree once a month.
  • Clay or terracotta is recommended for the pot for a gardenia tree.
  • The root ball of the plant should be 6 inches (15 cm) larger than the pot.

Growing Gardenia Tree Indoors

The only way to grow a magnificent gardenia tree is indoors for the majority of people. During the summer, you may place the sun and heat-loving plant outside, and in the winter, you may transfer them indoors. Unfortunately, growing gardenia trees indoors is notoriously difficult.

A gardenia requires two parts peat moss, two parts potting soil, and one part perlite in its potting soil. To avoid leaf scorch, place the potted gardenia tree in a sunny spot but shielded from direct heat. When the top 0.5″ to 1″ (1.3 to 2.5 cm) of the tree is dry, water it.

It’s important to keep an eye on temperature and humidity in order to encourage blooming indoors. Around 50% relative indoor humidity is required for a gardenia tree. As a result, you might need to use a humidifier and water in combination. Central heating may dry the air during the winter, so ensure that there is enough moisture for the tree to survive.

When the temperature drops below 50°F (10°C), bring it indoors for gardenia trees, which have a minimum temperature range of 50°F to 59°F (10°C to 15°C). The ideal temperature for growing is, however, 61°F to 65°F (16°C to 18°C) indoors. Indoor potted gardenia tree growing tips:

  • Keep the tree in a cool, shaded area away from direct heat sources.
  • It is helpful to add coffee grounds to the potting mix for increased acidity.
  • To keep the plant growing evenly, rotate the pot every month.

How to Overwinter Gardenia Tree

In zones 7 and below, a gardenia tree cannot survive outdoors during the winter. The plant might perish in the freezing cold if outdoor temperatures fall below 15°F (-9°C). As a result, an indoor gardenia tree must be overwintered. Protecting a gardenia tree from frost is even more important in zone 8.

You may need to use a frost blanket to protect the evergreen tree from damage in the warmer zones of zone 7. Cardboard boxes, bed sheets, or a frost blanket from the garden store are all options for keeping cool. For additional frost protection, surround the root region with a thick layer of mulch.

After the potted gardenia tree has finished blooming, you should consider bringing it indoors. If necessary, the first step is to examine for pests and apply a neem oil solution to the leaves. Next, behind a sheer curtain, place the potted tree near a sunny south-facing window. Lastly, whenever the top 1” (2.5 cm) of soil dries out, water it thoroughly to keep it moist.

Where to Grow Gardenia Tree

Since it has specific needs, a gardenia tree can be difficult to cultivate. The tropical tree, for example, requires at least four hours of sunlight each day. The plant’s development may be harmed by the searing heat and wet, alkaline soil. As a result, it is critical to pick the appropriate location for a tree to thrive indoors or out.

Where to grow gardenia tree indoors

A sunny window, far from chilly drafts or scorching radiators, is the optimum location for a potted gardenia tree. Therefore, an east-facing window is the optimum location, receiving plenty of sunlight in the morning and early afternoon. You can also position it with some protection in the sun near a south-facing window.

Where to grow gardenia tree outdoors

A gardenia tree thrives in the brightest part of your yard, with some afternoon shade. The best location is one with an east-facing exposure, which gets enough morning and midday sunlight. Gardenia trees also dislike being crowded, so make sure there is adequate room between other plants.

Gardenia Tree Soil 

Well-drained, rich soil that is constantly moist is ideal for flowering evergreen gardenia trees. Nonetheless, it’s important to prevent the soil from becoming too wet or drying out. Every spring, add fresh manure to the soil to improve its nutrient concentration in order to ensure optimum growth and blossoming.

When to Plant Gardenia Tree Outdoors

The best time to plant a gardenia tree is in the fall if you live in zones 8 through 11. The roots have plenty of time to establish themselves at this time since the ground is still relatively warm. In zone 7, you may grow a tough gardenia tree. Planting the gardenia tree in the spring, once the risk of frost has passed, is preferred.

How to Plant Gardenia Tree

The process of planting a gardenia tree is straightforward. You are ready to plant the gardenia in the ground after finding the best spot and purchasing a suitable nursery tree. Dig a hole twice as broad and deep as the root ball to establish the gardenia tree. Remove the roots from their burlap and detangle them. Next, put the hole back to its original depth by placing the gardenia tree in it.

Next, fill in the hole with compost-amended native soil. To get rid of any air pockets, press down as you go. After that, help the roots establish themselves by thoroughly watering the ground. Lastly, to lock in moisture, apply a 2″ to 3″ (5 – 7.5 cm) layer of mulch over the root area.

How to Care for Gardenia Tree

Any garden landscape would be lacking without Gardenia trees. Gardenia grows in masses of aromatic white blooms and abundant evergreen leaves, as a braided tree or topiary tree. A gardenia tree thrives when it gets enough sunlight and moisture, which is fortunate. To ensure that a gardenia tree reaches its full potential in your southern garden, follow this guide.

How to Water Gardenia Tree

Without becoming too soggy, water the gardenia tree frequently. When the soil gets damp or dry, gardenia trees struggle. In subtropical landscapes, drip irrigation is an excellent method to keep the soil moist. In hot, dry weather, you may need to water a gardenia tree every other day or twice a week. If the root region becomes completely dry, leaves may turn yellow and fall, therefore you should never allow it to happen.

Outdoor potted gardenia trees need frequent watering. Check the top 1″ (2.5 cm) of the potting soil is dry before filling it in. Tip: Pour enough water to run through the pot’s drainage holes until it drains.

Fertilizing Gardenia Tree

Regular fertilization is beneficial to gardenia trees growing in the ground and pots. For flowering plants that thrive in acidic soil, use a shrub fertilizer. You should also heed the guidelines and not over-fertilize shrub-like trees; otherwise, you may damage their roots.

From spring through the end of summer, apply a water-soluble fertilizer every month. The months of April and September are usually good for this. In the autumn and winter, don’t fertilize the gardenia tree. This might encourage fresh development, which would perish quickly. In the spring, you may also use a slow-release fertilizer, as well as sufficient organic compost for vigorous bloom.

Pruning Gardenia Tree

To encourage a gardenia plant to develop into a tree, it must be pruned. Younger trees should have their side branches removed to create a solid central branch that may grow as a tree. Braiding the three major stems of a topiary gardenia produces a viable outcome. Buying a nursery tree is, nevertheless, the most common option.

After the flowers on a gardenia tree have finished, it benefits from regular pruning. Cut off dried blooms and dead branches in the fall, when they’re no longer useful. To encourage vigorous flowering the next spring, you can also prune back the stems by two-thirds. Improved air circulation and healthy development are also benefits of pruning.

Propagating Gardenia Tree

The finest technique to develop a fresh gardenia tree is by taking stem cuttings. Make a 4″ (10 cm) portion of a good stem, just below a leaf node. Next, save only the topmost leaves from the stem. Next, put rooting hormone on the cut end.

Fill a small pot with a combination of potting soil and perlite to plant the gardenia tree. Seal a clear plastic bag over the cutting to promote humidity and push the cutting 1″ to 2″ (2.5 – 5 cm) into the soil. Finally, in bright indirect light, position the cutting. Misting the soil on a regular basis keeps it wet.

Roots should develop in four to six weeks. The rooted gardenia tree may then be moved to a bigger pot after that. Next, place it in a sunny, indoors spot to continue expanding.

Repotting a Gardenia Tree

A gardenia tree should be repoted every two to three years, on average. By this point, the gardenia tree is usually rootbound, and you’ll notice roots emerging from the drainage holes. Early spring is the best time to repot. Remember to pick a pot that’s one to two sizes bigger than what you have now.

Pests and Diseases Affecting Gardenia Tree Growth

Insect infestations and root diseases are common problems with gardenia trees. Aphids, spider mites, mealybugs, scale, and whiteflies are the most common pests that affect gardenias. Powdery mildew, sooty mold, and anthracnose can also be caused by moisture problems or poor air circulation. Typically, a gardenia tree thrives when grown in ideal conditions.

The finest technique to get rid of common plant bugs on a gardenia tree is to spray it with neem oil. 2 teaspoons of the mix are added to a cup of hot water. 1 tsp. of organic neem oil A quart (1 liter) of water and cold liquid Castile soap Spray the neem oil liberally over all of the foliage, including the underside of leaves, to kill bugs on the gardenia tree’s foliage. For the best results, repeat the process every seven days.

A fungal foliar infection causes Powdery mildew, which is a waxy, white coating. Too much humidity and/or cool air around the leaves is usually the cause of the issue. The best option is to increase air circulation and minimize splashing water on the leaves, which is the only way to fix this unclean problem.

Yellowing leaves, wilting, and leaf drop can all result from root rot caused by soggy or waterlogged soil. When repotting a gardenia tree, you may observe root rot since the roots will be brown and mushy. Proper watering methods and adequate soil drainage are the best ways to avoid root rot.

Growing in a raised bed may help Gardenia trees that have been planted in the ground. The pot must have drainage holes for a potted gardenia tree. Only after the top layer of soil is dry should you water the gardenia trees.

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