|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.