Favorite Plants / Plant of the Month / Plant Thoughts

Gardenia jasminoides ‘Kleim’s Hardy’ – Plant of the Month

Gardenia jasminoides Kleims Hardy_JPEG_325hThe Gardenia jasminoides is one of my favorite small shrubs in my garden. It has glossy, dark green evergreen leaves that help maintain structure in the garden all year. Single white, six petal flowers with yellow stamens bloom from late spring through early fall. It grows slowly in a rounded mounding habit to 2-3 feet tall and wide.

I have had my Gardenia for 3 years and it is about 12” tall and 18” wide. It is under the eaves of my front porch which indicates to me that it does well
in a slightly drier location. The picture above shows it by a late blooming azalea.

The Portland Nursery website says it is best to plant Hardy Gardenia in full sun in the Portland area.
“In climates with very hot summers, light shade is preferred.” * My Hardy Gardenia in Washougal is planted at our front entrance on the West side of the house. It seems to like it there and blesses the entrance with its lovely gardenia scent. It is under the porch eaves which keeps it from becoming drenched during the spring and winter rains. I have planted it in a microclimate of other small evergreen shrubs that seem to keep it happy with minimal watering during the summer months.

It is best to plant Gardenias in spring so they have plenty of time to produce roots before winter. “Gardenias prefer to grow in acidic soils. Use fertilizers and soil amendments that do not contain  lime that will ‘sweeten’ soil, or raise the pH.” *

Gardenias are susceptible to whitefly, aphids and scale . When any of them are present they may be accompanied by black sooty mildew along stems and leaves. So far, I have been lucky enough to have a beautiful healthy plant. During the summer when it is blooming, the scent takes me back to memories of the Gardenia corsages that we wore to high school dances. Nothing is sweeter than to come home and pick one of the fragrant, beautiful flowers before entering the house.

– J.A.

[Photo:  J.A.]
* For more  information, please visit http://www.portlandnursery.com

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