- Type Flowering shrub
- Lifespan Perennial
- USDA Zones 8-11
- Light Part shade
- Water Moist
- Soil Acidic
- When to Plant Spring or fall
- Design Tip Powerful perfume
- Peak Season Spring and summer
Gardenias: A Field Guide
When we think of gardenias, creamy white Gardenia jasminoides comes to mind with its haunting fragrance, velvety petals, and glossy leaves. But remember: there are nearly one hundred fifty different species of these flowering evergreen shrubs.
Gardenias thrive in warm, humid climates (they are native to Africa and Asia) and in less welcoming weather can be a bit fussy. Yellow leaves, wilted flowers, and dropped buds are a few clues that your gardenia needs more coddling.
A popular corsage flower (think: prom), long-stemmed gardenias also are lovely in a vase. Or a single blossom floating in a low bowl of water is enough to add scent to a room. Read more in Gardenias: Rethinking a Corsage Flower.
In a landscape, gardenias can be planted as specimen plants (some gardeners train them into standards, but we think a pompom gardenia looks no more relaxed than a pompom poodle). Also useful as a hedging plant in a warm region (gardenias are perennials in USDA growing zones 8 to 11), bushy G. jasminoides can reach heights of 8 feet and diameters of 6 feet if they are happy in your garden. See more growing tips in Gardening 101: Gardenias.