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How to: grow gorgeous gardenias

Photo - Linda Ross

The glossy green leaves and fragrant, creamy-white flowers make gardenias a standout feature, whether used in the garden, as a hedge, grown as a standard, or adorning a pot.


Gardenias like a warm spot with dappled light, or morning sun. They prefer an acidic soil enriched with composted organic matter. In pots use a potting mix formulated for azaleas and camellias.



Anything will do, but our preference is for Sandra’s Magic Mulch – a home brew of half cow manure, half compost, with a handful of Organic Life pellets and a handful of wetting agent added to each bucket.


Photo - Linda Ross



Feed with a specialised fertiliser for acid-loving plants every 2-3 months from late winter to late-autumn. Add a regular watering with seaweed solution to the regime. 


The best way to maintain bushy growth is to prune the flowers with a 10-15cm stem – perfect for a vase. If the shrub has been neglected and become straggly now is the time for a renovation prune. Remove up to 60 per cent of the shrub, leaving a few leaves on the lower third of the bush to aid recovery. Remove any weeds or grass from around the base of the plant and fertilise as above, then drench the plant in seaweed solution. 


Yellow leaves will be avoided if you follow the feeding program outlined here. To deal will aphids, brown and white wax scale, hibiscus beetles and caterpillars, keep a close eye out and spray every month with EcoOil. This will also prevent the black sooty mould that follows an infestation of aphids or scale. 


Photo - Linda Ross


G. augusta 'Florida' is a glossy-leaved evergreen shrub to 1.5m high, with heavily perfumed flowers in flushes from spring to autumn. Good as a hedge.

G. augusta 'Magnifica' has larger flowers than ‘Florida’ but flowers just the once.

G. augusta 'Radicans' is a low-ish ground cover with smaller leaves and flowers.

G. augusta 'Aimee Yoshiba' has a similar growth habit to 'Florida', with larger flowers, and larger, more open foliage. 



Text: Linda Ross     

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Author: Linda Ross