How To Grow and Care For August Beauty Gardenia

The evergreen, deciduous shrub, August Beauty (Gardenia jasminoides/gar-DEEN-ee-uh jas-min-NOY-deez), is native to Japan and southern China.

You may also hear this member of the Rubiaceae family referred to as Cape Jasmine

Bloom of the popular August Beauty GardeniaPin

Many Gardenia varieties have been cultivated in China for hundreds of years. They were imported to the United States in the mid-1700s by plantation owner John Ellis. He named them in honor of Dr. Alexander Garden of Charleston.

August Beauty Gardenia Care

How to grow August Beauty Gardenia with a detailed description

Size & Growth

August Beauty is a selected cultivar of Gardenia jasminoides growing between 4′ and 6′ feet high with a bushy growth habit, which gives it a spread of 3′ to 4′ feet.

This plant is a midsized evergreen shrub featuring rounded, lustrous, evergreen glossy leaves, which makes an attractive addition to your garden year-round.

Flowering & Fragrance

August Beauty Gardenia is a prolifically blooming variety that produces very sweetly fragrant flowers, velvety white, large flowers from early spring and into the fall. The double flowers are extremely fragrant with a spread of about 3″ inches. 

This plant blooms heavily for the three months of its mid-spring through summer growing season. The long-lasting huge flowers are a good choice for use in arrangements.

The flowers are very attractive to birds, bees, and other pollinators. 

Light & Temperature

The plant is best placed in filtered sunlight. In very hot climates, a setting that provides morning sun and afternoon shade is best. Excessive sun may cause flower buds to drop.

More about Gardenias Dropping Buds

August Beauty Gardenia is winter hardy in USDA hardiness zones 8 through 11.

Related: When Does Gardenia Bloom?

Watering & Feeding

While this plant does need plenty of water on a regular basis, it cannot tolerate standing in water. 

Water at least once a week, and be sure to increase watering as needed when temperatures rise higher than 80°F. 

Mulching is always a good idea, but in very hot climates, it is especially recommended to help keep roots cool and retain moisture in the soil.

Use an acidic Gardenia fertilizer twice a year. Gardenias are susceptible to a variety of nutrient deficiencies like yellow Gardenia leaves.

Fertilize in early spring, before new growth begins and in early fall when the plant is getting ready for winter.

Some recommend applying fertilizer (like Miracle Grow) every 6 weeks during the active growing season. This is incorrect! 

For new gardeners, 6 weeks may sound reasonable. But fertilizing every  6 weeks is too frequent. Fertilizing Gardenia 2 times per year is sufficient.

Learn more about Gardenia Fertilizer

Soil & Transplanting

Grow August Beauty in a slightly acidic, consistently moist, well-draining soil  enriched with organic matter.

To create an informal hedge using August Beauty, plant the young shrubs about 4’ feet apart. If you’re planting them as a foundation hedge, the spacing should be 6’ feet apart.

Grooming & Maintenance

Throughout the growing season, deadhead blooms by trimming them just beneath the first leaf node. This will encourage new blooms. 

Late in the autumn, you may wish to prune your shrub to maintain shape. Do not prune during the growing season. Only prune this Gardenia during its dormant time.

How To Propagate August Beauty Gardenia

You can grow August Beauty from semi-hardwood or greenwood cuttings. Naturally, the plant may also be grown from seed.

August Beauty Gardenia Pest or Disease Problems

As with all gardenias, August Beauty can be subject to fungal diseases such as anthracnose, sooty mold, powdery mildew, leaf spots, and die back. 

Additionally, pests such as spider mites, aphids on Gardenia, scales, mealybugs, and whiteflies may be problematic.

More on Gardenia Leaves Turning Brown and other problems.

Is the plant considered toxic or poisonous to people, kids, pets?

Gardenias pose a low toxicity risk to pets and people because of their Gardenoside and Geioposide content. Ingestion may cause hives, diarrhea, and vomiting. 

Is the plant considered invasive?

These high maintenance plants are not considered invasive. 

Suggested August Beauty Gardenia Uses 

In China, the fruit of the gardenia bush has long been used in herbal medicine and to make dye for cloth. 

In Victorian times, gardenias were very popular and became a symbol of secret love. During this time, the flowers were very popular as cut flowers and corsages.

Today, August Beauty’s showy, fragrant, long-lasting white flowers and deep green, shiny foliage provides year-round interest in a tropical garden, Zen garden, cottage garden, or other ornamental settings.

This versatile shrub is also a good choice in a wide variety of applications, such as:

  • Woodland Gardens
  • Specimen Plants
  • Cutting Gardens
  • Privacy Screens
  • Urban Gardens
  • Mass Plantings
  • Containers
  • Topiaries
  • Borders
  • Espalier
  • Hedges

This is a very compact type of Gardenia, which can be extremely attractive when planted in fairly enclosed areas such as a walled garden, patio, or entryway. This type of positioning will allow the flowers to fill the area with a sweet scent.

Another good setting for August Beauty is a transitional area. For example, plant a shrub on either side of a gate or a doorway or surrounding a shade structure or gazebo.

Place August Beauty in a setting where it can be easily seen in the evening. Because of its large, fragrant white blossoms, it makes an excellent addition to a moonlight garden.

Because this is quite a forgiving plant with only moderate water needs and tolerance for partial to full sunlight, it can be quite happy in a wide variety of settings.

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