Van Chaplin and Joseph De Sciose

Caring For Your Gardenias

The right sun, soil, and seeding will ensure that your gardenias reach their full potential. Ideally, plant gardenias where they will get morning sun and afternoon shade. Good air circulation is a must. Gardenias also prefer moist, acid soil that has good drainage and lots of organic matter, such as peat. When planting, set the root-ball about one inch higher than the surrounding soil for adequate drainage. Then, gently taper the soil up to the top of the exposed root-ball. Mulch plants with pine straw or chopped leaves.

Pests can be a problem if left untreated. Gardenias primarily appeal to whiteflies, scales, and mealybugs. Control outbreaks by applying a light horticultural oil, such as Sunspray Ultra-Fine. If left untreated, severe infestations of these sucking insects can lead to a sooty mold buildup. This black mold does not really harm the plant, but it does slow down photosynthesis.

DID YOU KNOW? Jazz singer Billie Holiday considered gardenias to be her signature flower and wore them in her hair whenever she performed.

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