Gardenia Plant: Classification, Distribution, Characteristics, Locations, and Uses

Gardenia Plant: Classification, Distribution, Characteristics, Locations, and Uses


There are more than 200 species in the Gardenia genus, but the two most significant are Gardenia thunbergia  (white gardenia, native to South Africa), which is commonly planted as a rootstock, and Gardenia jasminoides Ellis (native to China), with its various cultivars. Gardenia mannii, G. remyi, and G. brighamii are native to Hawaiian and cannot be found anywhere else. They were once common in dry upland areas on all of the main Hawaiian islands, except for Kaua’i, but are now rare or endangered.

Gardenia Flower


Kingdom: Plantae

Order: Gentianales

Family: Rubiaceae

Genus: Gardenia


The Gardenia is one of roughly 250 species of flowering plants in the Rubiaceae family that are indigenous to tropical and subtropical parts of Africa, southern Asia, Australia, and Oceania. The Gardenia flower is a symbol of feminine skill, Refinement, and Grace in China and Japan.


1. Gardenia is an evergreen (perennial) shrub that grows 2–8 feet tall and about the same wide. It grows at a moderate rate.

2. The opposite, oval or narrow, thick, glossy, dark green leaves are 3-5 inches in length and 1-12 inches in width. The shape of the leaves is a whorl.

3. The 2 to 5-inch wide waxy, intensely scented white flowers are typically carried solitary in the leaf axes.

4. The type of flower depends on the cultivar, it may be solitary or double.

5. The fleshy, ovoid fruit is an orange capsule that is between 1 and 12 inches long and has a lot of seeds within.

6. Gardenias can be solitary or double, waxy, white, and very fragrant. Their diameter can reach 4 inches.

7. The Gardenia features lustrous, dark-green leaves and fragrant creamy-white flowers.


Flavonols, flavones, and triterpenes were found in phytochemical investigations to be present on vegetative and floral buds as yellow to brown droplets of produced resin.


Gardenia should be planted in full sun for optimal bloom production in cooler climates or moderate, filtered shade in hot climates, especially with little to no competition from tree roots. The output of flowers is decreased and the leaves become weak and flimsy in dense shadow. Elevations between 10 and 2500 feet are ideal for gardenia growth. Gardenia needs soil that is rich, wet, acidic (pH 5.0-5.5), well-drained, high in organic matter, and nematode-free. With soil additions like peat moss, ground bark, and compost, organic matter levels can be raised. The availability of mineral elements is impacted by proper soil pH, which is crucial. Micronutrient deficiencies, notably iron deficiency, are more likely in soils with pH levels exceeding 6.0. Gardenia can tolerate moderate to poor levels of wind and salt. The gardenia blooms in the majority of Hawai’i’s low-lying locations in late spring and early summer. The plant’s environment’s nighttime temperature has an impact on bloom production. Gardenia is challenging to transplant and does not respond well to root disruption. During transplanting, mechanical damage to roots frequently happens, so caution is required. Transplants should be placed slightly higher than usual, with the root ball remaining partially exposed to the soil and about an inch above soil level. To avoid root competition, don’t overcrowd your plants. Because the roots are sensitive to disturbance, avoid cultivating close to them. Instead, mulch the area surrounding the plants to prevent weed growth, and hand-pull weeds when the soil is still moist.


It works well in informal plantings and landscape plantings with a tropical theme as either a focal or a background plant. To take advantage of its exceptionally fragrant white blossoms, Gardenia can also be used as an accent plant near windows or around dining areas. To use plants as an informal shrub planting, place them 5–6 feet apart. They grow nicely in pots (2–5 gallon tubs) and, depending on the cultivar, can be used as groundcover, hedges, low screens, and mass plantings. Numerous named cultivars exist, each with a different height and growth pattern. Gardenia should be planted with caution in the landscape even though it is advisable to do so where people can smell the aroma. It shouldn’t be put underneath bedroom windows because some individuals find its aroma to be overpowering. Plant it close to a deck, pathway, or patio so that the entire garden or landscape may enjoy the smell. Added uses The florist frequently uses gardenias as cut flowers to make leis and corsages in Hawaii. In glass or ceramic vases for the tabletop, the flowers float beautifully. In China, certain types of fruit are consumed.

How Gardenia should be planted?

Gardenias should be planted in specially prepared soil that contains compost and peat moss. The plant should be mulched with 2 to 3 inches of wood chips, sawdust, or ground bark to keep the soil moist, cool, and weed-free because cultivating around the plants could harm their weak roots. During the growing season, treat the plants every three weeks with an acidifying fertilizer or rhododendron-azalea food. A Gardenia needs the right temperature to blossom. The most important factor is this.

If the daytime temperature is over 70 degrees or the nighttime temperature is over 65 degrees or below 60 degrees, flower buds will not form. 65 to 70 degrees during the day and 60 to 62 degrees at night would be the perfect temperature ranges. Gardenias can be pruned as far back as you like, but there are several crucial considerations to make. Plants should first be pruned back when dormant. When the plants aren’t actively developing, this will let the stems “heal their wounds.” You can still enjoy flowers the following year if you do this. Don’t remove all the leaves when pruning. So that the plant can continue to create food for the root system, some leaves must remain. Use an acidic fertilizer with cheap iron and high nitrogen the next spring to help the plant grow strong leaves and buds. Simply pluck out the tips of the plant when it is dormant to make it bushier. Usually, pruning encourages a more robust bloom the next year. Keep the Gardenia out of the hot sun and give it only bright light if we are growing it in a pot inside.

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