Gardenia plants have beautifully scented waxy white flowers and glossy green leaves, but are very temperamental plants and won’t put up with neglect. A gardenia plant requires very specific growing conditions and constant attention. Native to Japan and China, these plants are usually seen as outdoor evergreen bushes on the southern and western coasts of the United States. The key to successfully growing a gardenia plant indoors is to try to mimic the outdoor environment as closely as possible. Although it is quite a challenge and an accomplishment to grow a gardenia plant indoors, it is a flowering plant like none other. The jasmine fragrance of the flowers has inspired hundreds of perfumes
A gardenia plant requires very bright light for at least 6-8 hours a day. Be prepared to move your gardenia to different locations as the seasons change. grow lights may be necessary if there is not enough natural light to help your gardenia plant thrive.
Gardenia plants need to be watered very carefully. Allow the top 2-3 inches of the soil to dry out before watering. Over-watering causes root rot, brown spots on leaves, and buds not to open. Under-watering a gardenia plant results in green leaves falling off.
The correct temperature is extremely important. Ideal temperatures for gardenia plants are between 65°-70°F (18.3°-21.2°C) during the day and 55°-65°F (12.8°-18.3°C) at night. Cool night temperatures are essential for the buds to set. Gardenia buds drop off if temperatures go above 70°F (21.1°C).
High humidity is another gardenia plant requirement. Increase household humidity, especially during dry winter months, by placing a humidifier near the plant, putting a gardenia on a pebble tray filled with water (be sure the plant sits on the pebbles not in the water), or grouping several plants together. Misting doesn’t help increase the humidity for a gardenia plant and causes fungal growth on the leaves.
Gardenia plants will not bloom unless all of their light, water, fertilizer, and soil requirements are met. On top of that, in order for gardenia buds to set, the nighttime temperatures should be around 55°F (12.8°C) and the gardenia plant should be in total darkness for as many hours as possible.
Gardenia plants attract Mealy Bugs, spider mites, white flies, thrips, and Aphids. If using a commercial insecticide avoid spraying the buds or flowers.
The high humidity a garden plant needs encourages fungal and bacterial diseases. Prevent these diseases from ruining your plant by providing good air circulation, keeping the leaves dry, and temperatures cool.
Pruning properly is very important if you want a gardenia plant to bloom. Since buds and flowers appear only on the new growth, old woody stems need to be removed to encourage the new young stems to develop.