How to care for your Gardenia
Use these instructions to care for a Gardenia. This guide will tell you how to water a Gardenia; its light, temperature, humidity preferences and any additional care it might need to help it grow.
Your Gardenia prefers partial shade, with 4-6 hours of direct sun per day. The soft morning sun is best, so an east-facing exposure is best. Avoid exposure to the harsh afternoon sunlight, which can scorch the delicate blooms. Your Gardenia can also thrive in areas with light shade throughout the day.
Water your Gardenia with 50% of the soil volume is dry. Water slowly, allowing it to absorb into the soil until it begins to drip out of the drainage hole. Do not use a saucer outdoors or allow the pot to sit in standing water.
For most areas of the US, your Gardenia will not require added humidity in an outdoor environment. For desert regions, mist your Gardenia frequently or use a pebble tray to boost humidity.
Gardenias grow best in temperatures above 60°F. The foliage can be damaged at temperatures below 45°F. We recommend keeping your Gardenia indoors in a bright spot until night temperatures are consistently above 55°F. In very hot weather, the plant may pause its flowering.
Feed your Gardenia once per month in the spring and summer with a balanced fertilizer. We recommend an acidifying fertilizer, like one formulated for Azalea or Camellia.
The Gardenia is considered mildly toxic to pets and humans if ingested.
For the most prolific blooming year after year, provide a cold period for your Gardenia. Also known as vernalization, a cold period signals the plant to begin winter dormancy. Prolonged exposure to outdoor autumn temperatures below 55°F will do the trick. Bring your plant indoors once night temperatures dip below 45°F. Keep the plant in a bright spot, water sparingly, and do not fertilize. Your Gardenia will not grow quickly, if at all, over the winter. Begin fertilizing it again in the early spring and move it outdoors once temperatures stay above 55°F.