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The Gardenia is an evergreen shrub or small tree that is a member of the coffee family, Rubiaceae. Also known as Cape Jasmine, this flowering plant was named after the Scottish physician and naturalist Dr. Alexander Garden. It is native to tropical and subtropical regions of Asia, Africa, Australia and Pacific Islands. Gardenias produce charming white flowers with a sweet and light fragrant blossom every spring and summer. Its leathery dark green leaves grow 2 to 4 inches long. The shrub can reach a height of 3 to 8 feet.
Gardenias should be grown in most but well-drained soil with an acid pH level between 5.0 and 6.0. It needs organic fertilisers every 2 to 4 weeks such as peat moss or manure for the shrub and the flowers to bloom healthy. Moreover, gardenias prefer high humidity and must be placed in areas with a temperature of 55 to 57 degrees.

Pests and other common problems

Pesky insects and bugs such as aphids and whiteflies are the common pests that plague gardenias. Ladybugs are natural killers for aphids because they’ll eat them. But the simplest way to remove the pests is to use soapy water to wet the plant or the non-toxic pesticide Neem oil. Yellowing leaves is another problem caused by keeping the gardenias indoor for a long time. Keep them exposed to partial sunlight and recommended temperatures. Root rot can also happen if the soil is over-watered and poorly drained. This should be treated right away as the harm could spread with the other plants.

Types of Gardenias

Gardenias have cultural symbolism in many regions in the world. In Asia, it is a symbol of peace and clarity. The flowers are popular as wedding bouquets and flower arrangements. There are 142 species of this evergreen shrub. Gardenias that are for sale come in different varieties.
Here are some of its popular dwarf varieties:
Gardenia Augusta Radicans: The gardenia augusta radicans can be planted on the ground because of its crawling growth habit. This variety grows 6 to 12 inches tall and 24 to 36 inches spread.
Gardenia Augusta Florida: Like the gardenia augusta radicans, the gardenia augusta florida is also a low growing shrub with semi-double white flowers. Its maximum height is 0.75 to 1 metre and a width of 1 metre wide.
Gardenia Aimee Yoshiba: The gardenia aimee yoshiba has flowers with double folds that are 4 to 5 inches. This variety grows 5 to 8 feet tall with a width of 3 to 6 feet wide.

Fast Facts about Gardenias

Evergreen shrub, flowering plant
Common names: Cape Jasmine
Native origins: Asia, Africa, Australia, Madagascar and Pacific Islands
Growth Rate: medium
Mature height and spread: ~90cm - ~240 cm
Light: Partial sun
Temperature: 15-20 degrees C (day) / 15-18 degrees C (night)
Soil: Moist but well-drained
Maintenance: High
Uses: Hedges and screens, decorative border, essential oil, herbal medicine