Cultivating gardenias in apartments
These beautiful flowers are sold in bloom almost throughout the year, but in nature the gardenias bloom only during the summer, with a warm climate. Plants purchased in nurseries in bloom, even during the month of February to March, are generally forced to flower, or are kept in greenhouses with temperature and daylight similar to those of a beautiful day in June.
For this reason it often happens that our gardenia jasminoides, in the space of a few weeks, loses flowers and buds, tends to get ruined and seems to completely stop its development.
When we buy a gardenia we try to remember that almost certainly we will make it suffer a strong change, from the hot, bright and humid nursery, to the apartment: warm, dry and quite dark. For this reason, let’s not worry if some flowers or buds fall, it is more important to try to adapt the plant to the house, within a few weeks will resume flowering without problems.
So as soon as we bring home our own gardenia jasminoides Let’s place it in a fairly bright place, not directly exposed to the sun’s rays, but not too far from a well-lit window. In addition to light, the element that most differentiates a house from a nursery or garden is definitely the ambient humidity, or at least, is the feature that most affects the development of our plants.
Gardenias love climates that are not too hot and humid, and a good exchange of air. Therefore, let’s remember to place the plant where it has a good exchange of air, possibly in a room that we ventilate daily, also avoid placing it near sources of direct heat and every day vaporize the leaves with demineralized water, to increase the humidity environment. During the vaporization we avoid to wet flowers, which otherwise darken quickly and wither.
LA GARDENIA IN BREVE
Famiglia, genere, specie
Rubiaceae, Gardenia, circa 60 specie
Tipo di pianta
Arbusto about piccolo albero
1 metro in vaso; 2-3 metri in piena terra
Da fragile a mediamente rustica (alcune sopportano -12°C, altre non tollerano il gelo)
Mezz’ombra, ombra luminosa; molten luminosa in appartamento
Terriccio di bosco + sabbia+ poca terra di campo, ben drenato
Da neutro ad acido
Frequente, senza ristagni; acqua demineralizzata o piovana
Temperature ideale per fioritura
Afidi, cocciniglie, marciumi radicali, muffa grigia
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Cultivating a gardenia in the garden
Some species and varieties of gardenia can easily withstand frost, especially those of Asian origin. We can therefore decide to plant our gardenia in the garden, in a semi-shady place, protected from the too intense frost and the winter wind.
Also in this case we try to get a gardenia that has been grown specifically for the garden, especially if we do not buy it during a hot period of the year, in fact a gardenia in bloom in February has certainly been grown in the heat, and can hardly be immediately placed outdoors, with a harsh climate.
So if we want to plant our gardenia in the garden, let’s do it preferably at a time of the year with a mild climate, or gradually adapt it to life in the open air, to place it permanently in place only when all danger of frost has passed. Once planted and rooted the plant can resist up to -7/-8 ° C, in any case we provide to cover it during the winter if the temperatures are very low.
Origins and characteristics of Gardenia
The genus Gardenia takes its name from a Scottish naturalist, Alexander Garden, to whom it was dedicated. It belongs to the Rubiaceae family and includes about 60 species spread, in the wild, in the tropical and equatorial areas of the planet. The most widespread on our continent, the Gardenia Jasminoides, is native to China, Japan and Oceania and was introduced by us in the mid 1700s.
In Italy, however, are also very widespread the grandiflora and the fortuniana (the latter more suitable for outdoor cultivation).
Usually, they are slow-growing shrubs, tall from 1,5 m up to more than 3. The leaves, evergreen, are lanceolate-elliptic, thinned at the apex and at the base, of a nice glossy dark green, quite consistent. The flowers are mostly solitary, simple or double, white or pink, with a very intense perfume. Their production is in the right conditions, almost continuous, but much depends on the species.
On the market, we can find flowering specimens even in the middle of winter, seen that it tolerates well the forcing.
Soil and watering
Gardenias develop a root system that is not excessively broad, which generally tends not to sink excessively into the ground, but rather widens near the surface, which is why the roots of gardenias suffer greatly from moisture. To have a shrub that is always healthy and luxuriant, it is advisable to keep the soil moist for most of the year, from March to October; however, avoiding excessively soaking the substratum.
Good soil for acidophilic plants is used, mixed with a small quantity of sand or pumice stone, to better aerate the substratum and increase its drainage.
Watering is practised every time the soil appears dry; in the garden usually the gardenias water every 3-4 days, but only during the summer and far from the rainy periods; avoiding winter watering. To avoid that the soil dries too much, let’s remember to practice a good mulch at the feet of the shrub, using bark or lapillus, so as to keep the surface layer of the soil cool and moist, and also avoiding the development of weeds.
During the cold months the watering in the apartment will be only sporadic.
From April to September let’s mix a good fertilizer for flowering plants with the water of the watering plants, and periodically carry out a greening treatment, especially if the foliage tends to yellow.
IL CALENDARIO DELLA GARDENIA
From May to October
Spring (with temperatures from 18 to 20°C)
Spring-summer (with temperatures from 19 to 24°C)
Exposure for Gardenia
Gardenias grow best in a mid-shade position or in bright shade. If they are to receive a few hours of direct light, it is preferable that it be in the morning: a too hot sun could cause dehydration and foliar sunburn as well as drying up the soil quickly.
If we cultivate gardenias as indoor plants we should, instead, place them in an extremely bright location, but avoiding that the sun’s rays reach them directly: in particular in summer it will be good to screen the windows with thin curtains of a light color. We can also move our pot outside. It is therefore ideal to shade it slightly, to place it under a pergola or a deciduous tree.
Gardenias are quite demanding in this respect. They want a soil that is neutral to sub-acidic, but rich in organic matter and able to keep slightly fresh at all times; in any case, even soils that are only slightly calcareous should be avoided: they could cause leaf chlorosis, poor growth and flowering and, finally, deterioration.
As a general rule, it is advisable to cultivate them only where the soil is already suitable in itself; alternatively, if our soil is clayey, asphyxiated and rich in calcium, we can use it by digging and changing it in depth.
An excellent expedient consists in burying large concrete vases (such as those used in construction) or vases deprived of the bottom: in this way we will be able to isolate the area from the surrounding environment.
The ideal mixture, both for outdoor use and for pot cultivation, is composed of peat, leaf soil and a little sand, with the addition of a little manure or field soil.
Planting in full earth
We operate towards March-April: we dig a deep hole at least three times the width of the bread of earth of our plant.
In addition to the possible replacement of the substrate, it is extremely important to create a thick drainage layer on the bottom based on expanded clay, pumice or pozzolana. Let’s insert the plant and the soil, compact and water abundantly.
We use vessels that are wider than deeper (bowls are ideal). On the bottom we place a draining layer at least 3 cm thick. We insert the plant and fill it with the soil. We can use an acidophilic compound, but we will get better results by adding some perlite and manure. Even a small amount of garden soil can be useful to keep the roots cool for longer.
Repotting must be done at the end of the winter and, usually, it is sufficient to operate in alternate years.
There are more or less rustic gardenias. The species Jasminoides is in general the most tolerant towards the cold, succeeding, in the right conditions of soil, to withstand even -5/-10 ° C: let’s choose therefore if we live in the Centre-North. Let’s place it where it receives light during the first hours of the day, prepare a thick mulch and cover the canopy with suitable fabric.
Grandiflora, Thunbergia and Lucida, on the other hand, are more delicate: they cannot stand frost and should therefore only be grown outdoors in the far south. Elsewhere they are indoor plants or greenhouse plants, temperate or in any case to be withdrawn at the end of the summer.
Irrigation and ambient humidity
The right degree of hydration is really what can turn a stunted gardenia into a splendid specimen in every season.
These shrubs love an always slightly fresh soil but, on the other hand, they are particularly afraid of waterlogging. Watering should therefore be frequent, intervening whenever the surface is completely dry. However, the use of under pots should be absolutely avoided and the excess water should flow off easily.
We can proceed from above but, for the specimens in pot, it can be also a good choice the irrigation by immersion, inserting it in a basin of full water. After about 15 minutes we will extract it and let it drain very well.
In any case, in addition to the fresh substrate, it is absolutely essential to always keep the ambient humidity high.
In the garden, especially in summer, it is very useful to vaporize the leaves often in the hottest hours: but let’s avoid, if possible, to wet the flowers because they crumple easily. It is also very useful to prepare a mulch layer based on leaves, straw or cut grass: it will help us to keep the roots fresh without having to use a watering can continuously.
At home, in addition to frequent vaporization, we can make use of electric humidifiers or ceramic ones to be placed, in winter, on the heaters. It is useful to prepare tubs full of water and expanded clay near the gardenia.
Let us remember that it eschews limestone: as far as possible, we use rainwater or demineralised water for all purposes.
Fertilization of Gardenia
In pots, gardenias in pots, especially during the vegetative period, benefit from the support of a fertilizer for acidophilic plants: let’s choose a liquid formulation and mix it with the irrigation water, every about two weeks.
In the garden we choose a slow-release product specific for this type of shrub with a low calcium and chlorine content. Generally they are administered after three months, starting in March and suspending the arrival of the bad season.
Pruning is not strictly necessary: the gardenia has a very slow growth. It may be necessary to intervene only on badly set, old or damaged specimens.
It is done immediately after flowering by shortening the branches to a maximum of 1/3 of their total length. We totally eliminate those that are severely compromised.
Let’s avoid cutting at the end of the winter: we would compromise the flowering of the vintage.
On the contrary, dried corollas should be eliminated as soon as possible: we will stimulate a new growth and, possibly, the production of other buds.
Pests and diseases
The insects that most frequently attack the gardenia are aphids and cochineals. We use specific insecticides, but only in case their number is consistent and compromises, with the production of honeydew, the beauty of the leaves.
Radical rottenness should be prevented as much as possible: if it should arise, however, we try to change the substrate as much as possible and we administer one or more times propamocarb or fosetes-aluminium.
Gardenia – Gardenia jasminoides: Varieties of gardenia
It is the most cultivated and widespread species: it grows up to 2 meters. Flowering is gradual and extends from May to September. Quite rustic: can withstand even -7 ° C, but for short periods, especially in well-drained soil. The ‘Kleim’s Hardy’ cultivar is, however, even more resistant (down to -12°C). The “Veitchiana”, on the contrary, stands out for the beauty of its foliage, variegated of white, but is, however, very delicate.
In a suitable climate it can grow up to 3 metres and is suitable as an isolated specimen but also for the creation of beautiful hedges. You should never go below 10°C to see it bloom well the following year.
Shrub or sapling up to 5 metres high with very fragrant flowers. Suitable for growing where you never go below zero thermal.
Gardenia amoena up to 150 cm high, native to India, is equipped with numerous thorns. The flowers are white, but the edge of the petal is pinkish. Suitable for warm climates, where it never freezes.
- The Gardenia plant is native to China, it is highly esteemed by growers, and for this reason it turns out to be
Visit : gardenia flower
- The gardenia includes many species of which the most common is the Gardenia jasminoides. The family to which it belongs
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