I sure do love them, but boy do they hate me!
Which have you had success with and what is your secret?
How is that for a packed question.
Are there any easy Gardenias?
I sure do love them, but boy do they hate me!
Hi, one of the easiest to grow outside in my conditions in London is Gardenia jasminoides 'Kleims Hardy' It is very cold hardy plant and capable of withstanding a moderate frost here with no noticeable damage. As you can see from the photo it has a single rather than a double flower each about 1.5" across. The scent is slightly different to the double flower, to me having more coconut in it, but still as heavy.
Are you trying to grow your plants in the garden or in containers? All gardenias require an acid ( ericacious) soil, one that is ok for rhododendrons is fine. If you are trying to grow the plants in your garden soil and it is alkaline or chalky, that will not make the plants happy!
Hope this helps
Edited: to correct bad hyperlink
This message was edited Jan 6, 2006 12:56 AM
I have nothing to contribute to this thread as I am a Gardenia murderer. I even kill the one's reported to be winter-hardy.
Since you're in a warm clime I'm assuming its the something else they don't like?
How much of moderate frost are you talking about tho? Are you talking about having to be above or at freezing level tho.
Can it get below freezing for a few days or what?
Hi Carol, yes it can take temperatures below freezing. Here the temperature changes quite a lot though according to the wind direction: cold from the east and north in winter, mild from the south and west, so it is unusual for us to have really long freezes. In the London suburbs it can get down to 25F at night during the cold spells and be at freezing or just above during the day.
Maybe it was the soil. I have never had it checked but I use oak leaves as mulch so I figured they would be getting acid there. I also used MG but I guess not the right kind. My rhodos are happy so I just assumed it was that they just didnt like me!
That is the same experience I had: I put my gardenias in my azalea bed b/c I thought they both liked the same growing conditions. Azaleas are doing great but gardenias die- Go figure!!
Well I glad to hear its not just me. Why do the good ones have to be so darn fussy?
I don't know. If I dis-liked gardenias or they didn't have such a fab fragrance, then I'd have them running out my ears!
I said I'd never try growing them again b/c they die and are so $$. BUT.....
I got a very small catalog yesterday from Vernon Barnes. They have them for 1.98 each or 10 for 18.50. I looked them up in the GWD and they have an excellent rating. The plants are tiny- 4 to 8 in.- but I'm willing to try to grow a few for that price. Unfortunatley the variety name isn't listed.
I have no clue as they aren't named. I am going to contact the Co and ask what they are before I order.
This message was edited Jan 6, 2006 12:41 AM
Oh my! Do you want to hear that I never fertilize or even water mine unless there's an exteme drought? I even have that cute little Daisy blooming one.
Ignorance is bliss? I have extemely red clay with a lot of oak leaf mulch, it works for me. I have a big old Gardenia on the other end of my property that was an old homestead, it still blooms like a champ with no help from anyone but God!
Do rub it in will ya? I can see your big ole green thumb all the way up here! LOL!!
Do you know the name of your big old gardenia? More and more I am leaning towards having all [fragrant]heirlooms in my yard b/c they are so much stronger and hardier than the newer wimpy plants.
I think I will take your advice and just ignore the next gardenias I get.
My big ole green thumb is adept at neglect!
I have too much to take care of, especially fussy brugs!
Caren, use some coffee grounds on your plants. Maybe that will help with getting some acid soil. I use it around my rhodies and aza. and they love it.
Thanks, Matt for the information. I may look into getting a gardenia but don't want to pay big bucks for it either.
Viola, I do the same thing! I have a huge double one and it gets watered when I remember it, lol. I also have the trailing one growing in the edge of a large container(with Black Magic elephant ears and freesia). I had another trailing one in the ground and it was doing great till Bleu trampled it chasing a possum that was in the palm tree beside it. It never did well after that and finally died. It was about 3ft across at the time.
A while back I went to a house for an appraisal. The whole front yard was filled with fragrance. I finally tracked down the source of the scent. It was a giant gardenia bush, probably 6ft tall and 10 ft wide. I know it had to be surviving on what rain fell because the house had been empty for six months or more!
I have mine planted in peat based potting soil with rabbit manure and composted pine bark chips mixed in. I use azalea food from time to time(when I remember to use it, lol).
I have killed more gardenias than I care to think about, but you guys have convinced me to try again. Berrygirl, have you found out about the type of gardenias in the VB catalog yet?
Wonderful to see you here Cala!
Does 'Bert' still live?
Funny you mention coffee grounds Carol, I was a Starbucks getting my daily fix and I asked the young man at the counter about what they do with all their grounds. He said at the end of the day they out them in a bag and anyone who wants them can take them. Free. He called it grounds for the gardener. It seems its pretty popular Im yet to get any.
I have a dwarf gardenia and some cutting transplant I got at a round up -- sorry, I can't remember which one that is. (It's only about 5" high anyway.)
The dwarf does well on mostly neglect. I think I've simply found a great spot for it. It's in bright, full blazing sun. After it blooms, I cut it back a little so it'll bush out more. I occassionally side dress with coffee grounds, or whatever leftover coffee I have on hand. I never fertilize or use any other chemicals, pesticides, herbicides or fungicides (on anything, ever). (I also treat my hydrangeas exactly the same way, except I don't make them live in the full-bore blazing Florida sun. They get some shade in the afternoon.) I water once in a while, if I happen to be watering something else in that area of the yard, or if we haven't had rain in a week or more.
If it gets too much of the black sooty stuff on it, then I mix up 1 part liquid dish soap with 10 parts water in a spray bottle and douse the entire plant in soapy water. This usually takes care of any white flies or mites (or whatever causes the black stuff) and before I know it, my gardenia is putting out new leaves and thinking about making buds again. It's less than 3' tall but in full bloom, perfumes the block.
I do nothing as far as frost/freezing temps. Example: tonight it's supposed to be in the 20's here. I will throw a blankie on my pineapple (a bromeliad) and a couple palms in the yard, but the gardenia is on its own. It'll be fine. I've had it for years.
Violabird, I didn't even know about this forum till I found it by accident! I love fragrant plants.
Bert hung on till about a month-6 weeks ago when the last little sprig of him bit the dust. He was doing good till last Christmas(2004) when we had the freak snow.
Sorry to hear about Bert, he was on my wish list since I first heard of him. At least I have some 'kin' of his, hopefully I'll see Wild n Crazy bloom this summer.
Ok you all have got my curiosity really peaked: who or what is Bert?
that is exactly what I do for my gardenia. I have 2 so far and have never had any problems with them. My DH talked to a friend who does yard maintenance for the county here and that's what he said to do. I have no idea what type plants I have, though. Before DG, I thought they were all just gardenias. *smile*
Edited for typo
This message was edited Oct 27, 2008 1:30 AM
Have any of you tried growing the South Afican gardenia species such as G. thunbergia and G. cornuta? These are much less fussy about pH of the soil etc., and still have fabulous and fragrant blooms. The leaves on G. thunbergia when dried have a delicious scent of sweet hay too. I have a young plant of G. thunbergia that has yet to flower for me. I grow this in a container to protect it from the frost in winter but other than that it is completely trouble free.
Here is a link
Matt, I dont know about everyone else but you are making me jealous with all these hard to find plants. Most of the plants you have mentioned here and in the other posts I can only find in seed if at all. So if you want to keep bringing up these wonderful plant varietys you have to tell us where we can find them too! Really Im just kidding thank you for bringing in some new choices. At least they are new to me.
I can only imagine what your garden looks and smells like! Do you have any pics?
Here are links to 2 US nurseries: Kartuz has G thunbergia for sale, and TopTropicals has G cornuta.
I can't advise on the quality of the plants or service offered though. Maybe someone else on the forum has had experience of them?
Alternatively G thunbergia grows easily from seed, planted in consistently moist compost in a heated propagator and kept at 80F. Seedlings start appearing after about 4 weeks and grow quite rapidly.
We are sooo glad you came here to the fragrant forum- PLEASE don't leave! You are such a great source of knowledge on fragrant plants. I sure would love to sniff around your garden!
Thanks for your welcome berrygirl, you are very kind. Growing fragrant plants is an all consuming passion of mine and has been since I was a kid. I know a fair amount already, but there's still so much I don't know, and I'm always on the lookout for something new and exciting. I grow many that are subtropical and so have to keep them in containers as the winter weather here can't support them growing outside. So around October they all move into a heated greenhouse where they overwinter and then around mid-May after the last frosts, they go back outside again. I have around 500 different containerised plants, so it is quite a time consuming hobby as you can imagine. Plants I particularly enjoy are Hoyas. There are so many different species and the size of the flowers can vary from a tiny 1/4 of an inch across to a whopping 3 1/2 inches across. Imagine 7 to 9 of these in a cluster smelling like expensive french perfume and I think you get the picture.The scent of their flowers is also very different according to the species and nearly always intense and heady at night irrespective of flower size. As a result with so many to choose from, collecting them can be quite addictive!! LOL To date I have about 135 different species of these. I post quite regularly on the Hoya forum here too. For those interested in seeing some of the different types here's a link to Christina Karlsson's Swedish site. (Christina is also on Daves Hoya forum.)
So, when I saw this new forum on fragrant plants I thought wonderful!! And, here I am!!
Matt I love that site I have visited several times. Do you have H. Bella and H.australis? I got these along with H. cembra who died shortly after arriving. They have not bloomed yet so Im hoping they are fragrant!
Caren, both are fragrant - H. australis especially so. If you have several umbels in flower at once they will scent an entire room. This particular Hoya flowers in the autumn here, but I believe in the spring in the southern hemisphere, so it seems it is permanently jet-lagged!! H australis does take a while to start blooming but it is worth the wait and once it starts it gets better every year.
Hoya bella always looks to me like it has amethysts studded in the centre of its flowers. The scent is very different to H australis a bit like a lighter version of easter lily. You have to get up close to the flowers to appreciate them too which is certainly not the case with H. australis. This flowers on much smaller plants though, so you shouldn't have to wait for this one to begin blooming. The key to success with H. bella is to never let it dry out completely. The roots are unforgiving if it does and they will most likely rot off when next watered; but at least it is, like most hoyas, very easy from cuttings should this happen.
Do you have many Hoyas?
I particularly like Hoya macgillivrayi, which has deep red flowers each up to 3 1/2" across. It is easy to grow but needs a winter minimum temperature of about 60F. It also likes a lot of light. The link shows a clone which is probably 'Pandanus Creek'. This is one of the darkest forms with flowers that are nearly black around their edges. You can see how big each flower is in relation to the guy's hand.
H archboldiana is another favourite which has bell shaped flowers 2-3" across. The flowers of this species and of H. macgillivrayi are highly and wonderfully perfumed. This too is easy to grow, but also needs a winter minimum temperature of about 60F. It also likes a lot of light. Both these plants climb high into the canopies of the trees in their native countries in order to reach the sunlight.The image is of a clone called 'Ym Excellent' This has bright red flowers with a white throat, and there are also pink forms and a white form.
One other I especially like is H magnifica with ivory white flowers up to 2" across and smelling of sweet nutmeg.This can tolerate cooler temperatures about 50-55F and has fuzzy hairs on the leaves making them feel like suede...... there are so many others I could mention.... but I think I'll stop there!!
Matt, I have the three mentioned before and two H. Carnosa Im new to hoyas these I just ordered in fall. They are all very small. Bella is very happy with me she is sending out new growth every where, australisis not as happy it forms new leaves but they are tiny and tend to fall off very easy. Cembra was having no part of me at all she died after I found mites and sprayed her with neem oil.
I love the hoyas you have above H. macgillivrayi is wonderful! Purple is my fav!! I would love to have more but $$ you know. Collecting fragrant plants is not a cheap hobby.
Yes, you are right about expense. But I look at it this way, what else can you buy at that price that will give you so much enjoyment for years on end? I guess my philosophy will never make me rich, but I sure am having a good time!! LOL
Monrovia and other growers have started grafting showy varieties (Aimee, August Beauty, Mystery etc.) on G. thunbergii rootstock, which makes them more tolerant of poor soil. They are more expensive, but the grafted ones I have seem to be less finicky than others on their own roots.
on gardenias... love the smell. I have one (I think it was miniature--small flowers) that my mom gave me. I still have to prune it. We have heavy clay, but I had improved soil with cow m. It gets some shade... Temp.--has been down in the 20's with no problem. I have taken cuttings and just stuck them in ground and they have rooted. Heavinscent will send you a rooted cutting if you want..send me d-mail.. Elaine in Lizella
To reply to your message about gardenia (my very favorite plant!) I do grow both G. thunbergia and G. cornuta, which I purchased from Kartuz nursery and TopTropicals. I have only purchased 4 plants from Kartuz and have been pleased. I have purchased well over 20 different gardenia from Top Tropicals and have been extremely pleased with their plants. Nice big healthy plants that really are quite reasonably priced. They also have an incredible website - www.toptropicals.com.
Comment on G. Kleim's Hardy - my current plant is around three years old and is easy to take care of it. Last year it had well over 50 blooms at one time and is very fragrant and a happy plant, although I don't think it is that hardy, for me anyway. The 1st year I bought three plants in the spring and planted them all in the ground and they were so happy but did not make it through the winter. The next year I bought three again, planted two and put one in a container that I moved in my plant room for the winter. The two in the ground did not make it but the one in the container has done so well it is definitely worthy having one. Mine is so big now that I have started some cuttings. Started them about 3 weeks ago, so far so good.
I just found the fragrant forum - happy I did!
Wow...love all the info - great job everyone!!! Couldn't remember if someone had mentioned the famous Suicidal Gardenia thread or not - for your entertainment: http://faq.gardenweb.com/faq/lists/calif/2004035908004767.html I've got to try those coffee grounds. Someone had mentined Epson Salts once too, I think. Everytime mine beginis to look "healthy" again - it starts it's spiral down hill again. Bless it's heart - it keeps all it's leaves just begin to look pruney (is that a word?). There is no plant I struggle with like this one. I'm so jealous, Vi!! And Matt yes you are certainly a wealth of information!! Personally I bought my Gardenia-Cape Veitchii at my local Walmart back in November - 6 or 8 in pot...clearanced for.... $3.50. So - check your Walmarts....never know what treasures you can find there. I look for the most root bound and generally move it up a pot size when I get home. I love a good deal!!! And this forum....
Sorry to hear of your problems in attempting to grow Gardenia Kleim's Hardy in the ground. I have to confess I don't grow mine in the soil, but stand the pots in a cold frame which has its cover off for most of the winter. I think the combination of cold and excessive winter wet doesn't agree with these plants. I do put the cover on if we have any prolonged periods of rain, and so far it has worked; the plants all remaining very green and healthy, although there have often been several degrees of frost here this winter. I should guess your winter lows are much greater than here in London though.
Good idea to take cuttings. I do this all the time for back-up plants, just in case anything unpleasant happens to the original. I try to keep a couple of backups of each of the rare or hard to come-by plants, the rest I give away. It saves a lot of money AND disappointment, as well as keeping your friends happy!