Planting a Gardenia Tree in your Home GardenPlanting a Gardenia Tree in your Home Garden
If you long for the beautifully scented fragrance of gardenias but want a more formal look than what simple gardenia bushes can provide, then planting a gardenia tree (Gardenia jasminoides) is your answer. The only difference in planting a bush from that of planting a tree is that you will need to continue to train it in its growth pattern to maintain the tree-like form.
Test for Ph
Planting a gardenia tree can be done in pots or straight into the ground. You must know in advance, however, that gardenias of all varieties prefer rather highly acidic soil. It is much easier to adjust and maintain the pH level of soil in pots than it is in the ground, however.
So if you are planning on planting this type of tree in your yard or flowerbed, make sure you have the proper acidic pH level; otherwise, keeping the plant at optimum health will be a continuing challenge. You can check the level of your soil’s pH with a simple soil test kit, available at many nurseries and home improvement stores that have nursery sections within them. These kits are not expensive, usually costing about $15 or less.
If planting a gardenia tree in a pot, it is rather easy to control the pH level of the soil. Simply add fertilizer, preferably slow-releasing, that indicates on the label that it is for acid-loving plants. Keep the potted tree in semi-shade and water regularly, but do not overwater to prevent root rot.
A good rule of thumb is to stick your finger into the soil surrounding the plant. If the soil is dry two inches down, it is time to water. Always supply good drainage in potted gardenia plants by placing a layer of gravel or small rocks at the bottom of the pot before adding potting soil. Mixing potting soil with vermiculite or perlite also helps greatly toward proper drainage.
Worth the Effort
Planting a gardenia tree is best suited for those with some gardening experience due to the rather temperamental nature of this plant. It is susceptible to a number of insects and diseases including leaf spot, powdery mildew, whiteflies, red spider mites, aphids, and mealybugs. Although the gardenia grows best in moderate-to-high humidity, this environment also causes it to be more highly prone to these pests and disease problems, which thrive in high-humidity situations.
Sweet-Smelling Focal Point
Their dark green, glossy foliage and powerfully fragrant blooms make gardenias a challenging endeavor that many people find incredibly addictive, however. With some, planting a gardenia tree is merely the beginning to a lifelong fascination with a plant that has origins in Southeastern China and Japan, and yet adapts, with help, to many areas of the United States.
For those willing to take on a challenge, planting a gardenia tree can be rewarding. Nothing greets the senses more welcomingly than the inimitable, intoxicatingly sweet fragrance these rather nondescript flowers generously emit. These plants, considered old fashioned by some, remain a classic in the horticultural world, their popularity never seeming to fade as younger generations of flower lovers discover them.