Intoxicating fragrance and lustrous evergreen leaves

The Gardenia genus comprises over 200 species of broadleaf evergreen flowering shrubs and small trees, with G. jasminoides, commonly called gardenia or cape jasmine, being the most cultivated species for home garden use. Gargenias typically grow between 4 and 6 feet tall and wide, but under optimal conditions, some varieties can grow quite large. The shrubs add beautiful structure, texture, and color to the landscape, their dense, lustrous leaves maintaining verdant hues, looking gorgeous all year long. However, gardenias are renowned for their showy and highly fragrant flowers that bloom profusely over an extended time, from mid-spring through summer, possibly into fall. They may also bloom through winter in climates where temperatures do not drop below 60°F. Borne singly or in clusters, the flowers vary in size and can be single or double bloomed, depending on cultivar. They are creamy to pure white and have a pungently sweet scent that’s simply intoxicating. The flowers attract bees and make exceptional cuts for indoor display, with short-stemmed flowers often floated in shallow bowls.

Native to tropical and subtropical regions, gardenias grow best in conditions that mimic their native habitats, typically found in Zones 8 to 11; however, some cultivars are bred to be cold hardy to Zone 7 or even Zone 6. Gardenias prefer locations with dappled sunlight or partial shade and humus rich, acidic, moist, well-drained soil. The multistemmed shrubs have vigorous growth and an erect, upright, rounded habit. Gardenias make gorgeous specimens or container plants and are lovely additions to beds and borders. Just be sure to place your gardenias where they will be sheltered from strong winds and the cold and where you will be able to enjoy their perfume.