Gardenia bushes are popular evergreen shrubs from the Rubiaceae family. They’re loved for their glistening green leaves and aromatic white flowers. These flowers typically prefer USDA plant hardiness zones of 8 through 11.
But what’s the bloom time for Gardenia? They’re notorious for their stubborn nature, but they can bloom all year with the right conditions.
Use Gardenias as screens, hedges, borders, or ground covers. To make the best use of their fragrance inside and outside, plant them near patios, doors, or windows.
What’s the Blossom Time for Gardenia?
The Gardenia plant produces flower buds in late spring to early summer, even early fall depending on the type of Gardenia variety. They take 2-3 years to bloom from seeds and about a year when grown from cuttings.
What Factors affect the Gardenia Bloom Time?
Slight changes in the following factors can affect bloom time significantly and may even lead to your buds staying closed.
Early fall is the perfect time for planting Gardenias, about 6 weeks before the local frost date. If you live in an area with a hardiness zone of less than 7, make sure you plant your Gardenias during the spring to give your flowers plenty of time to settle in before the first hit of winter.
Gardenias are acid-loving plants. They do best in moist, well-drained soils with an acidic pH of 5.0 to 6.0. Ensure your soil is also loose and organic.
Gardenia flowers need high humidity with full sunlight, but make sure you give them shade during the hotter days as high temperatures can hinder blooming.
More on: Gardenia Lighting Requirements
Buds won’t be produced if day temperatures are higher than 70° degrees Fahrenheit and if night temperatures are higher than 65° degrees. Ideally, day temperature should be 65°-70° degrees Fahrenheit, while night temperatures should be 60°-62° degrees. So make sure you shade your flowers enough during the summer.
Feeding Your Flowers
Most Gardenias will require 2-3 applications of fertilizer per year. Apply Gardenia fertilizer during February-March and another one during September-October. A third application can be made during the summer.
You shouldn’t fertilize your buds during the fall because all the new delicate growth won’t stand the upcoming frost.
It would be best if you made sure that 35-50% of the Nitrogen is in your fertilizer. An “Acid-forming” product is recommended since Gardenias love acidic soil.
Your soil needs to be constantly moist. You should water your flowers weekly, and more often if it’s too hot outside. Add about 1″ inch of water and more if the roots dry out but make sure you don’t over-flood your soil.
Use organic mulch to ensure soil moisture is even. Mulch your Gardenia plants with 2 to 3 inches of ground bark, wood chips, sawdust, or compost. This will ensure your soil is kept moist, cool, and weed-free.
Maintaining Your Blossoms
Your Gardenias may bloom in time, but there will still be challenges that you need to pay attention to so you don’t lose your hard-earned blossoms.
The best way to maintain full blooms all year is by setting your flowers’ preferred conditions during the tough winter season. Since Gardenias like humid, warm environments, you may want to keep them in containers and bring them inside during the frost.
However, you still have to make sure the plant is sufficiently exposed to sunlight and kept at the ideal temperatures mentioned above during the day and night.
Many Insects attack Gardenias and cause them injury. These include Gardenia aphids, spider mites, flower thrips, and Gardenia whitefly. These insects can, fortunately, be combated by Insecticidal soap or horticultural oil sprays.
These pests cause wilting of the leaves and loss of vigor by attacking the roots. There isn’t a direct chemical treatment for nematode infestations. To increase your chances of avoiding them, plant gardenias that are grafted on resistant rootstock. Also, make sure you apply 3″ inches of organic mulch.
Black Sooty Mold
This is a dark, smut-like mold that grows to the sugary secretions of sucking insects. The best way to manage it is by combating the insects as recommended above.
Keep an eye out for the mold to get rid of the affected flowers as soon as possible, and make sure your insecticides are around.
You only need to prune your gardenias lightly. Cut back uneven branches and less productive stems, but wait till blooming is finished to start pruning. This will give your flowers the chance to heal their wounds during a time they aren’t actively growing.
Many challenges can cause green, closed buds to drop before blooming. If your Gardenias experience bud drop, check on the following conditions:
- Dry, hot, or unusually cool weather
- Pests such as nematodes or flower thrips
- Too much or too little fertilizer
- Poor drainage
Learn more about Gardenia Bud Drop
Gardenias will bloom within 2-3 years from seeds and a single year from cuttings. They do require extra care, but the result is worth the effort.