Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Tahitian Gardenia, Tiare
Gardenia taitensis

Family: Rubiaceae
Genus: Gardenia (gar-DEEN-ya) (Info)
Species: taitensis (ty-TEN-sis) (Info)

Synonym:Gardenia weissichii

3 vendors have this plant for sale.

15 members have or want this plant for trade.

Tropicals and Tender Perennials

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)
4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)
6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)
8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)
36-48 in. (90-120 cm)
4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun


Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer


Other details:
Flowers are fragrant
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Flowers are good for cutting

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From softwood cuttings
By simple layering

Seed Collecting:
Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed
Remove fleshy coating on seeds before storing
Unblemished fruit must be significantly overripe before harvesting seed; clean and dry seeds
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

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There are a total of 9 photos.
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5 positives
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive Konagirl On Feb 21, 2015, Konagirl from Kailua Kona, HI wrote:

Here in Kona our plant has reached 15 to 18 feet planted in full sun. It was languishing in a mostly shady spot until transplanted several years ago. It gets fertilized occasionally and gets no other special care. We live next to pasture land not too far from where there once was a stream so we are fortunate to have soil that is deeper than many places in Kona.

Positive malika1 On Dec 6, 2012, malika1 from Toa Baja, PR (Zone 11) wrote:

If you love jasmines and gardenias, and you do not own this plant, get it! I mean, get the double! I think it is even more exciting than the Duke of Tuscany Sambac. Really. The flowers are massive and the leaves are leathery, healthy, and darkish green. Large plants can be expensive, but this is a once-in-a-lifetime plant to own. Mine went for 85 bucks, but is is huge...oh, I live in Puerto Rico and has anyone had luck with clippings?

Also, in the market for trades of rare, scented plant rooted clippings and seeds...

Positive ksmithii On Oct 20, 2012, ksmithii from Rancho Mirage, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

I purchased a 6" rooted Tiare' 14 months ago (8/11). I have been told that it would not grow in the SoCal desert. is now 3' tall and 5' wide. At one time, it had 81 buds! Some of my pictures are in the gallery.

Positive Ladiebug1982 On May 14, 2012, Ladiebug1982 from Spring, TX wrote:

Ladiebug1982- Spring, TX
I ordered this plant about a month ago from It came potted and ready to be put it in the ground. Although the flowers have not yet bloomed, they are sprouting very nicely. Soon our garden will have some beautiful color. I am anxiously waiting for the first flower!

Positive tiareman On Jan 11, 2005, tiareman from Melbourne Beach, FL wrote:

Tahitian Gardenia is also known as the Tiare Flower. It is a very highly coveted flower in Tahiti, where it plays many roles..

The Tiare flower is the emblem of Tahiti and is believed to relieve migraines and earaches, cure some forms of eczema and even heal wounds.

When I first flew to Tahiti, the stewardess walked through the plane with a bowl of closed Tiare buds and handed them out to the passengers. They are worn tucked behind the ear, and similar to Hawaiian customs, there are different "meanings" attached to which ear you use and which direction you place it.

Tiare Flowers are also used to make leis, and I'll tell you: a full lei made of Tahitian Gardenia is a heavenly scent like no other.

Tiare Flower is also one of the biggest exports from Tahiti and the Society islands- Monoi de Tahiti produces oils derived from coconut and scented with a real Tahitian gardenia flower in each bottle. This oil smells wonderful and is widely available by mailorder on the internet. It smells much like a real Tiare flower, however the real thing up close has no rival!

The Monoi company handpicks the Tiare flowers to place in the bottles from their vast groves of Gardenia taitensis.

All that being said, Tahitian Gardenia can also be grown in the States, and is not nearly as difficult to grow as I thought it would be, in fact, it has been VERY GOOD to me here in Melbourne Beach, Florida (Zone 9b)

In colder climates, it can be brought indoors for the winter.

First, I gave my Tahitian Gardenia a southern exposure, planted against the south side of the house, to minimize wind stress and maximize sun and heat retention in the winter.

During the warm months, I give it organic fertilizer such as Black Kow along with a balance time-release like 13-10-13 along with Ironite to keep the soil more acidic. (gardenias like acid soil) I also use a nice layer of mulch to keep the soil moist.

Starting in spring it will do most of its growing.. although it is really a slow grower. After two years, my plant is now about 3 feet tall. It can get leggy, so at the beginning of spring, I hand prune it to help it stay bushy. It will take all season to fill in.

I always try to root the cuttings.. although I have had bad luck so far, but I'm still working on it.

As soon as it warms, the flowers will start to pop up. During the warmest months, between my three plants, I wake to find anywhere from 2-10 new flowers a day! I can fill up a small bowl with these flowers, add a little water, and keep them inside to fill the whole house with the scent of Tahiti. Heavenly! (see picture)

Oftentimes, I will pick flowers in the early part of the day, just to find more blooms at sunset. I think the picking off of older and dead blooms stimulates more to be produced, so I always go over the plant cleaning it of older flowers.

When the cold season approaches, the plant will go more or less dormant. This year I sprayed it with WILT-PRUF to help guard it against cold drying winds, and it has worked wonderfully. It is mid January now and I'm still seeing flowers from time to time! The leaves have also maintained a dark green glossy look.. much better than last year, where many leaves turned yellow and fell off. Last year I covered it for jan/feb and that may have had a role.. this year so far we saw 31 degrees one night with no ill effects. Not to mention two Category 3 hurricanes in a row in 2004.. they took a little beating then, but have pulled through just fine.

A couple notes: Young plants may need to be staked as they grow bigger, until they can support themselves.

During the active growth season during the spring/summer, alot of leaves will yellow and fall off. This is normal and they will be replaced with new growth.

All in all, I think Gardenia taitensis is a tougher plant than most people would think. I highly recommend it, and definitely suggest giving it a shot no matter what climate you live in.. just bring it inside if you will be seeing alot of weather in the 30's, and give it a sunny location near a window. No matter what hoops you may have to jump through, a Tiare plant is WORTH IT!


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Rancho Mirage, California
San Diego, California
Brandon, Florida
Melbourne Beach, Florida
Saint Simons Island, Georgia
Hawaiian Paradise Park, Hawaii
Hilo, Hawaii
Honolulu, Hawaii
Kailua Kona, Hawaii
Deridder, Louisiana
San Antonio, Texas
Spring, Texas

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