Thursday, May 17, 2012

Gardenias!

It's always so exciting when the gardenias bloom.  First, because they have such a luscious scent.  Oh, my, they are alluring!  Gorgeous white blooms.  Dark green leaves.  And the scent!  Pure deliciousness.  It's better than any perfume.  In fact, I used to have a perfume called Jungle Gardenia.  But it didn't come close to the seducing power of the scent of a real gardenia.

Gardenia jasminoides 'Radicans'

The second reason it's so exciting to see the gardenias bloom is because gardenias have a terrible reputation for being hard to grow.  So, seeing them bloom gives me some smug satisfaction.  Even though, really, I know it's not me at all.  It's the water.

Gardenias love water, and as long as they are in a location with bright shade, and get plenty of water (something that's not always easy to achieve in Texas), they seem to be quite happy.


Gardenias are like an addiction.  Even if you've tried them before, and not succeeded, you will most likely try them again.  Because they can't be resisted.

Once I stopped by a local garden center and immediately when I got out of the car, even before I saw the plants, I could smell something sweet.  Something wonderful.  Something so enticing, I crossed the street without looking!  And when I got to the gardenias, I smiled.  I sniffed.  I just enjoyed.  And of course, I bought.


They're irresistible.  The temptation of having one is just too strong.

This gardenia is 'Radicans', a dwarf gardenia that only gets to be around 1 ft. tall and 3 ft. wide, and grows in zones 8 through 11.  It's probably my favorite gardenia, although I also have 'Frostproof', which grows to around 5 ft tall and can additionally grow in zone 7.  However, I personally don't like Frostproof's leaves as much, as they are less glossy in texture.  My grandmother grew 'August Beauty' for years, which grows in zone 8 through 11 and gets to 5 ft. tall.  It has beautiful glossy leaves.  Unless you're growing them as an annual, pay attention to the leaves, since gardenias are evergreen.


Want to grow gardenias?  Remember water.  And if you fail, it's not your fault.  Just try, try again.  You won't be able to help but try again.  It's the alluring power of that sensual fragrance.

46 comments:

  1. I vividly remember Jungle Gardenia, but it doesn't hold a candle to the real thing! So very pretty!

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    1. It really doesn't smell like a real gardenia, but I guess it's the best "man" can do!

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  2. I have gardenias (one plant) by our front door. It's wonderful. I also remember Jungle Gardenia - long ago and far way (circa 1972) my girlfriends and I got into a fight and started spraying that on each other with their mom's perfume - I seem to remember getting sick from the smell (yeah, too much of any fragrance becomes a smell). The simple plant is all I want these days.

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    1. How wonderful to have a gardenia by the front door to greet everyone with that wonderful scent! Your story was hilarious! Oh, I can imagine never wanting to smell that perfume again! :P

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  3. Ah, that's why mine is yellowing..or was...we have had plenty of rain as of late, I should check the state of my gardenias now....they do have a southern fragrance don't they?

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    1. The fragrance of the south. Along with magnolias. I like that.

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  4. Love it. It's always nice to go through and see these lovelies on people's blogs. The blooms are gorgeous.

    Cher Sunray Gardens

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    1. They are worth all the trouble of growing!

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  5. Beautiful, Holley... There is just nothing that smells better than Gardenias... LOVE them. One of my fav's!!!
    Hugs,
    Betsy

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    1. They are one of the best scents around. My sister lives north and always wants to smell the gardenias when she comes to visit.

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  6. My brother gave a bonsai gardenia to my mom several Mother's Days ago. Despite the instructions on how to water it didn't like the inside conditions in her house. I should have suggested she transplant it outside, but didn't. If I'd read this post before it died I would have taken it off her hands and planted it here. No chance I will buy one because I'm trying to stick to my no new plant purchases pledge to myself. I've got too many plants that need dividing and too many volunteers that need transplanting.

    How do the gardenias' fragrance intermingle with your rose scents?

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    1. A bonsai gardenia! How interesting. I don't know how easy it would be to grow one inside. Tempting, but extremely hard, I would imagine. No new plant purchases? Not easy, although I did that last year with our drought going on! The roses are not really close to the gardenias, as the gardenias like more shade. I should bring some of each inside. I bet it would be heavenly!

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  7. You've just reminded me how amazing the scent of gardenia is! Such a delicious plant. I used to have one but it didn't like the Northern Ireland weather.

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    1. It really is sad there isn't a gardenia that can take the cold.

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  8. OOh, I'm so jealous. If only we could grow gardenias where I live. I have one pitiful half-dead creature in a pot - he blooms a bit every year, and I can't bear to put him out of his misery because of the scent.

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    1. I know what you mean - even if a gardenia just puts out one bloom, it's worth growing! haha

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  9. WOW! What a perfect white flower...just a teensy bit jealous (maybe a lot!) xx

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    1. They are a pretty white. No wonder women love to have these in bouquets and at weddings.

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  10. You're right, they smell absolutely amazingly delicious! I have two in pots on my shady patio and they are all bloomed out ;/ They were delightful while they lasted. The whole patio was filled with their perfume. In fact, they bloomed simultaneously with the star jasmine. It was magical! Your foliage looks a lot greener than mine. I think mine could use a little fertilizer. Your garden is irresistible right now, I bet!

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    1. Oh, how wonderful that they bloomed with the jasmine! I can just imagine sitting there. No drink necessary - just drinking in the scent would be enough!

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  11. I have august beauties and I love them, though I just found a frost proof on sale so now I have one of those too :) They are having a bumper crop year I think. Some of the larger bushes around here are coated head to toe in perfect blooms. Ah, this must be what is like only to be in MINOR drought instead of full blown!

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    1. Yes, there's a big difference in a little drought and a big one! It does seem that everything really wants to bloom well this year. Not sure if that's because of the drought, or in spite of it!

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  12. I couldn't agree more about the scent of the gardenia. I think it's hard to get as close as the real plant with perfume.

    I once had a plant of gardenia. Fail. Not enough light I guess. Then I've started one from seed. But the leaves on top are having a problem.

    Well. I guess I will have to do like you did. Cross the street without looking, get to gardenias and smile. Sniff. Enjoy. And of course, buy! 8)

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    1. haha - Maybe you should look before crossing the street, though! :)

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  13. I love gardenias but it's too cold for them here. They just end up being an expensive annual. You're right about the smell! Fabulous!

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    1. They really aren't very cold tolerant. The only thing wrong with them!

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  14. I remember visiting an aunt in Florida when I was 11 and having gardenias pointed out to me and being dazzled. But then, ALL of the southern flowers were dazzling!

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    1. I think anyone at any age would be dazzled by gardenias! And yes, they are a true southern plant! They almost drawl! :)

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  15. We have several Gardenia jasminoides 'Mystery'. That variety has always done well for us. It makes a great landscape plant. I didn't know about the dwarf variety. I'll have to look for that one! I wonder how it would do in a pot?

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    1. And I don't know 'Mystery'. Will have to look for that one. I think the dwarf, Radicans, would be perfect in a pot. Give it a try!

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  16. lol - i have a gardinia that is inside and trying desperately to keep it alive! i would love to have you come over and share this post at the garden party on my blog today! oxox, tracie

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    1. Oh, Tracie - so glad to know your garden parties have started back up. You know I'll be participating in them this summer!

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  17. Like you and rhodohypoxis, I don't 'know' gardenias at all. Heard of them of course but not sure I've ever tried that scent. Very pretty. Dave

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    1. Since you don't know gardenias, I assume it's too cold for them there? Too bad - they are lovely.

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  18. Holley gardenias are rare around here. I have seen them a bit in AZ. They are indeed beautiful.

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    1. Yes, I was up north once and saw some garden centers selling gardenias. I asked them about it - "Gardenias won't grow here, will they?" No, was the answer - but some people don't know that and we always sell out of them! was the reply given. Kind of like false advertising. But goes to show you how enticing these beauties are.

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  19. I didn't know that they were so sensitive to water. Will try watering mine a bit more next season and see if it helps - not that mine were too bad, just thought they could have done a wee bit better. Yours look lovely!!

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    1. And they don't like root competition. I have one next to a tree that is obviously not doing as well as the one next to it that is away from the tree. Oh, well - we can't have everything perfect, I suppose!

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  20. Holly, I've always loved gardenias, but here, they can be grown only in the house. Excellent photo!

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    1. If you can grow them in the house, you really do have a green thumb! :)

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  21. Gardenias were my mom's favorite flower. Do you think they would grow in Colorado? Probably too cold here. Yours are so pretty. I can almost smell them.

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    1. I think it would be much too cold in Colorado to grow them outside BUT - you might could keep them in a pot outside in the summer, and bring them indoors in the winter if you have a bright sunny area in your home. Worth a try! :) There's no other scent quite like them, is there?

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  22. Love this post :-D Makes me want to see if I can find some for my mom's garden since she has milder micro climates and more water areas than I do. I have a mission now :-D

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    1. Oh, I hope you can find some for your mom's garden! She will love it, and every time it blooms, that luscious scent will remind her of you. :)

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  23. One of my favorite plants! I grow one near a large window in my living room and it scents the whole font of the house in the evening when we open the windows!

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    1. It is amazing how far the scent will carry. I was quite some way away from mine the other day and wondered what I was smelling - it was that fabulous gardenia!

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