photo of Gardenias

Can Gardenias Grow In Florida?

The reason why Gardenias make such a wonderful addition to a garden is simple – they’re beautiful. You can never have too many beautiful flowers in your garden, especially when they come in such a delicate white color!

There’s no shortage of colors to choose from when picking flowers to grow and care for. You’ve likely already have a variety of reds, purples, and yellows in your garden now.

Bringing in Gardenia flowers helps create a fuller, more complete color spectrum for your indoor or outdoor space.

But before you run out to your local Florida nursery, let’s first make sure that these plants are suitable for our hot and humid weather.

Do Gardenias Do Well In Florida?

The answer to this question is going to depend on how close you are to the ocean. Gardenias won’t grow particularly well along the coast because they aren’t salt-tolerant.

If you plan on keeping the plant indoors, then you might be able to help it survive near the beach.

But if you plan on growing Gardenias outdoors, then you’ll want to make sure the air isn’t salty. This plant is an evergreen shrub that can grow as little as 2 feet tall, all the way up to 15 feet tall.

Which makes them great for privacy hedges.

It also means they have a lot of surface area that can be exposed to salt.

The good news is that Gardeniaslove Florida’s warmth and humidity! As long as they’re not right next door to the ocean, they’ll feel right at home.

In addition to being used as privacy hedges, they are great accent plantings and container specimens for the patio.


Are Gardenias Annuals or Perennials?

Gardenias are considered woody perennial shrubs. More specifically,  the species Gardenia jasminoides grows best in plant hardiness zones 8 through 11.

In simple terms, it means that these plants not only prefer warm weather but should actually not ever be exposed to freezing temperatures.

Luckily, Florida doesn’t get very cold!

Like many perennial shrubs, a gardenia plant can live to be decades old with proper care. It’s one of the reasons that we use them so often in our landscape designs as privacy hedges.


Best Time To Plant Gardenias In Florida

If you’ve ever moved homes before, you know how stressful it can be. It can be just as stressful for plants!

To give your plants a smooth moving experience you’ll want to make sure that:

  • The target location has humus-rich soil with a slightly acidic pH level of 5.0-6.5.
  • You put the Gardenia in a wide hole with compost for reliable drainage.
  • It’s planted somewhere with room for large roots to grow.
  • The weather outside is humid with daytime temperatures from 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

Making sure these requirements are met when replanting a Gardenia will give it the best start possible.


Do Gardenias Need Full Sun?

Prefers Bright, Indirect Light

In hot climates, gardenia will grow best with morning sun and afternoon shade. Ideally, they get a routine source of light-filtered shade.

Light-filtered shade is just a fancy way of saying “under some tall trees.”

During the fall and winter months, Gardenias can handle full direct sun because of the cooler weather. Just make sure the roots are covered well.

If you want to grow Gardenias indoors, they should receive at least six hours of direct or strong indirect sunlight through a window.


Light Affects Growth

You can tell a lot about a Gardenia by looking at its stems. If the plant hasn’t received enough sunlight, it will grow long, gangly stems with brittle, thin leaves.

Without enough sunlight the plant won’t produce as many flower buds and the ones it does produce will likely fall off before blooming.

They do not form as many flower buds, and the buds may drop off before they open.

On the flip side, too much sun will wilt the flowers and turn them from a beautiful white shade to a sad brown color.


When To Prune Gardenias

Oh no! Your milky white flowers are turning a nasty shade of brown! Does that mean your plant is dying?


It doesn’t mean your shrub is dying – it just means that its blooms are starting to fade. This is totally natural!

The best time to prune Gardenias is right after the last flower has bloomed. ‘Gardenias, like azaleas, would need to be pruned after they have finished flowering, which will be sometime late spring or early summer,’  say the experts at UF/IFAS Extension Nassau County.

Pruning a gardenia at this time of year avoids the risk of cutting away new buds, which could happen if you prune in the fall.

The timing is driven by the fact that new buds develop on older wood.  Gardenias bloom in early summer, but they produced their flower buds from last year’s growth.

How To Prune Gardenias

Pruning Gardenias is actually pretty simple!

Follow this quick guide to make sure you get it right the first time.

And remember that when pruning, cut away the wood that is dead and wood that rubs against other branches.

  1. Gear up with freshly disinfected pruning shears and gardening gloves
  2. Grab old stems and cut at their base
  3. Trim stems that you want shorter at a 45-degree angle
  4. Continue until the shrub is the shape and size you want
  5. (OPTIONAL) You can also use your hands to pull off or pinch the flower off its pedicel — called deadheading


Where to buy Gardenias?

Take advantage of these Crossandra plant care tips by raising some plants of your own!

Visit our nursery at Troy Tropics and turn your backyard into an outdoor paradise.

Our team of greenery experts can help you decide on the best plants for your home.

Contact us through our online form or call us directly at (941) 212-1671.


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