Cold Hardy Gardenias – Selecting Gardenias For Zone 5 Gardens
Gardenia trees are one of the most popular and sought after plants in the world. They have been used in many cultures for thousands of years. There are two main types: tropical and temperate. Tropical gardenias grow well in hot climates such as India, Africa, Australia, South America and parts of Asia. These plants thrive in temperatures from 90°F (32°C) to 105°F (41°C).
They require moderate humidity and do not like very high winds or heavy rain. Temperate gardenias prefer cooler climates with milder winters than their tropical cousins. These plants thrive at temperatures from 55°F (13°C) to 70°F (21°C). They need less water than their tropical counterparts but they will not survive too much wind.
The first thing to consider when selecting a gardenia is its size. Most gardenias are between 1 foot and 3 feet tall. If you want a plant that will reach your window, then choose a smaller variety. Smaller varieties tend to flower earlier so they may bloom later than larger varieties. Also, some gardenias produce flowers only once in their life span while others continue producing seeds year after year.
Gardenias prefer acidic, well drained soil that is rich in organic matter. They do not grow well in very wet or dry soil. The best soil type is sandy loam. During the winter months gardenias require a minimum of 55°F (13°C). They will not tolerate extreme cold and need to be protected if the temperature falls below 30°F (0°C).
The ideal location for gardenias is on the south side of your house. This is especially important if you live somewhere that gets a lot of winter snow or ice.
When selecting gardenias, choose ones that have glossy, dark green leaves. Avoid plants with wilted or yellowing leaves. The stems and flowers should not be soft or slimy to the touch. The buds should be plump and firm. Check your chosen gardenia for insect infestations such as spider mites or aphids.
If mites or aphids are present on your plant, they will almost certainly be present on nearby plants.
Gardenias are not overly sensitive to fertilizers but should still be used sparingly. A liquid fertilizer that is high in nitrogen should be diluted to half strength and sprayed on the leaves and soil around the roots once a week. Do not apply fertilizers near the time that you water your gardenia because it can cause excessive leafy growth at the expense of flowers.
Sources & references used in this article:
Gardenia plant named ‘BAB1183’ by DI Torn – US Patent App. 12/807,567, 2012 – Google Patents
Cold hardiness estimates of woody taxa from cultivated and wild collections by MA Dirr, OM Lindstrom Jr… – Journal of …, 1993 – meridian.allenpress.com
The molluscicidal activity of Apodytes dimidiata E. Meyer ex Arn (Icacinaceae), Gardenia thunbergia Lf (Rubiaceae) and Warburgia salutaris (Bertol. F.) Chiov … by TE Clark, CC Appleton – Journal of ethnopharmacology, 1997 – Elsevier