Growing and caring for gardenias-
Gardenias are a favorite, but sensitive flower, smell oh so sweet, and their scent will remind you of years gone by, sweet memories.
Sometimes gardenias and jasmine can be fidgety to grow. Gardenias and Jasmine are in the same biological family. We have a gardenia that my husband says I love more than him...it's huge and lovely, blooms all summer long. Not a pro gardener, just got lucky. This is how to grow and care for a gardenia.
This gardenia shrub was purchased at the grocery store: three small average run of the mill gardenia plants. That winter they continued to grow, thought they would eventually die, but not. In the spring they were transplanted into one pot, much smaller than the one they are in now. Without much attention, this now a shrub as grown to be about three feet tall and as wide or more. Have discovered that gardenias must like to be root-bound.
This giant pot is moved outside to a sunny spot in the summer with a handy little pot mover found on the Internet. Because it is so heavy now, it's a chore to move it around. As we reside in New England, in the winter, it lives by a window in enclosed sun porch that rarely reaches over 50 degrees. It gets watered about once a week.
Gardenias can survive in North Carolina outside. Cover with sack cloth in the harshest winter months, but usually it will bloom quite well with leftover tea leaves and no fertilizer, just the red clay soil as nutrient in North Carolina.
Once in a while, water with a little leftover coffee mixed in. Have discovered that gardenias must like acid. Tea leaves are a great source of acid as well. Gardenias are grown like Jasmine, and have a similar sweet smell as Jasmine. In the spring, give regular granulated fertilizer added to the water about once a month. In the summer, keep fertilizing regularly.
Your gardenia might get spider mite if you don't take care to mist it regularly. If you do see the little creatures, remove them and bathe the gardenia with a mixture of water and dish washing detergent. This one almost never gets misted and is beginning to grow buds for another season. In the fall some of the leaves might begin to yellow, not to worry, just remove them and take care not to let them fall inside the pot.
If your gardenia gets too big, you might want to trim it a little in the fall after it is finished blooming. Just do so all around evenly, just like cutting someone's hair. In the spring, move it outside and give it a good bath with the hose. You'll have sweet gardenia blooms all summer long.