Gardenia jasminoides

Gardenia , native to China, was named after the 18th-century naturalist Alexander Garden. It is a shrub reaching a height of more than 1.5 m (59 in) with opposite, leathery leaves and large stipules. The striking, pure white, sweetly scented blooms grow at the ends of the branches and are sessile. There is a wide range of cultivars: ‘Plena’ with double flowers, ‘Veitchiana’ with double flowers timed to bloom at Christmas and ‘Fortuniana’ with extraordinarily large flowers resembling camellia blossoms, for example.

It requires a sunny position. Water liberally and mist regularly, but not during the flowering period. Always use soft water and a lime-free compost. Gardenia is sensitive to temperature fluctuations. Propagate by tip cuttings that will make roots within three weeks in sandy compost at a soil temperature of about 20°-25°C (68°-77°F). After they are rooted, the plants should be pruned to promote bushy growth. Gardenia is also used for cut flowers.

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