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The Gardenia - a Florida flower beauty and my favorite

Updated on August 10, 2013
Gardenia jasminoides
Gardenia jasminoides | Source

Various types of gardenia

Gardenia divine
Gardenia divine | Source
Gardenia brighamii
Gardenia brighamii | Source
Gardenia tactenies
Gardenia tactenies | Source
Gardenia volkensil
Gardenia volkensil | Source

Florida flower

One of the flowers that has been adopted to and assimilated well in Florida, is the gardenia. The sub-tropical and humid weather in Florida affords perfect growing conditions to the sweet-smelling gardenia flower, plant or tree. It has fast become my favorite flower because of its beauty and fragrance.

The gardenia belongs to a genus of 142 species of flowering plants in the coffee family, Rubiaceae. It is native to tropical and subtropical regions of Africa, southern Asia, Australasia and Oceania. The gardenia flower originated in China and has been cultivated there for nearly one thousand years. The gardenia is quite a popular flower in Japan and the Japanese have popularized the drawing of the gardenia. It is the national flower of Pakistan.

It was named after Dr. Alexander Garden (1730-1791), a Scottish born American naturalist. Another common name for the flower is cape jasmine.


The flower grows on evergreen shrubs and small trees and are very popular in southern Florida. The flower gives off the fragrance of vanilla, jasmine, and nutmeg and the fragrance becomes spicier as the bloom of the flower ages.

The flower, when on the bush, is surrounded by dark green leaves that grow in whorls of three or four around the bloom. The flowers grow solitary or in small clusters. The colors of the flowers are white, creamy white or pale yellow.

The plants and trees flower from mid-spring to mid-summer, but I have found in Florida they bloom year round. Because of the humidity and subtropical climate they seem to thrive in Florida. If water touches the flower, however, the flower begins to turn brown.

The Gardenia jasminoides can be cultivated as a house plant and is wonderful to bring the sweet fragrance of the gardenia inside.

Gardenias, whether plant, tree, or potted inside needs warm humid tropical or sub-tropical climate. They should be in bright light, but do not have to be in direct light. Gardenias need acidic soils and good drainage no matter where they are planted. They should NOT be planted near cement house foundations, walks or driveways as the concrete damages the acidic soil it needs to grow and thrive.

Source
The gardenia bush or plant.
The gardenia bush or plant. | Source
Bring your gardenia inside and make an arrangement to take full advantage of its sweet fragrance.
Bring your gardenia inside and make an arrangement to take full advantage of its sweet fragrance. | Source
Gardenia house plant - another way to bring the lovey gardenia inside the house.
Gardenia house plant - another way to bring the lovey gardenia inside the house. | Source

How to plant, grow and care for your gardenia

Whether planting a gardenia plant or a tree be sure to plant your gardenia near a door, window, or deck because of the sweet fragrance it gives off. You want to be able to enjoy the the sweet vanilla, jasmine and nutmeg fragrance of the flower.

The gardenia plant and tree generally grows from two to eight feet tall and wide but there are exceptions. Some plants have been know to grow as high as fifteen feet. The plants and trees are evergreens and the creamy white flower grows in a round shape with dark green glossy leaves surrounding it.

Plant the gardenia in an area with full sun to light shade and be sure to plant it in moist, rich, well-drained soil. In Florida, mulch is used around the plant to trap in the moisture and help keep the sand away from the plant. It is best to apply two to three inches of organic mulch to also help reduce weeding and maintain a constant soil temperature.

Always plant the gardenia in the spring or the fall and if planting more than one plant, space them three to six feet apart so they have room to grow. The pH of the soil should be between five and six.

When planting, dig a hole only as deep as the root ball, about two feet deep, and two to three times as wide. Set the plant in the hole and fill the hole half full with soil and then water it well to settle the soil and eliminate air pockets. Let the water drain and then fill the rest of the hole with soil and water thoroughly.

Gardenia plants require at least one inch of rain per week or the equivalent of watering the plant. Fertilize the gardenia plant or tree with an acidifying fertilizer once a month.

Once the plant or tree has grown up, prune it in early spring to shape the bush or tree. Be sure the pruning is done no later than October 1 or the blooms will be reduced. Gardenia plants and trees bloom heartily if taken care of properly.

Check for white flies or mealybugs regularly and spray with a horticultural oil of insecticidal soap if they should appear on the plant or tree.


Uses of the gardenia flower

There are several different uses of the gardenia flower. It can be used medicinally for clearing, calming and cooling properties it brings to the human body. Just smelling a gardenia relaxes me.

The gardenia flower has deep floral meanings. To present gardenia to someone says "You are lovely" and it has been known as the symbol of a secret love over many centuries. Therefore, always give the gardenia flower to someone you really care about.

The gardenia is used in bouquets, especially bridal bouquets because of the sweet fragrance it gives off and because of its symbolic meaning. It France it is used as a boutonniere in the lapels of men's suit jackets when they attend special occasions.



Copyright (c) 2013 Suzannah Wolf Walker all rights reserved



Gardenia is used many times in bridal bouquets as it was in mine.
Gardenia is used many times in bridal bouquets as it was in mine. | Source

© 2013 Suzette Walker

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    • suzettenaples profile image
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      Suzette Walker 3 years ago from Taos, NM

      sweetpikez: Thanks for reading this and for your interest. I love gardenias and especially the fragrance they emit. They are just lovely and I am so glad you enjoyed reading this.

    • sweetpikez profile image

      Pinky de Garcia 3 years ago

      This is another awesome article. The way you discuss things about gardenia makes me smell or remember its fragrance.

    • suzettenaples profile image
      Author

      Suzette Walker 3 years ago from Taos, NM

      Hi frogyfish: I am so pleased you enjoyed reading this. I love the gardenia and it is one of my favorite flowers. I am missing it right now as I am in Ohio - I can just smell the wonderful scent of the Gardenia. It is just so lovely. Thanks so much for your visit and comments. Most appreciated.

    • frogyfish profile image

      frogyfish 3 years ago from Central United States of America

      Concentrated loveliness, and a fragrance to remember! Your hub was an enjoyable reminder of the gardenia's beauty. Thank you for sharing this beautiful flower in such powerful words and pictures!

    • suzettenaples profile image
      Author

      Suzette Walker 3 years ago from Taos, NM

      The gardenia is one of my favorite flowers. It is beautiful to look at and I love the scent. No wonder it is used in so many perfumes. Thanks so much for reading and I am glad you enjoyed this.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      This is a beautiful flower that I enjoy seeing when it blooms. Very lovely photos share of it and great background.

    • suzettenaples profile image
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      Suzette Walker 3 years ago from Taos, NM

      Hi Linda: I had gallbladder surgery at the end of February. I am much better know. I had to get rid of a nasty gallstone! It was upsetting my stomach. I can just smell your gardenia bush - they are so lovely in Florida and you have the right climate for them. They are my favorite flower and I love the smell and scent they give off. Thanks so much for the visit Linda.

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 3 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Surgery? I hope you are all better now! My gardenia bush is now blooming...smells so pretty :)

    • suzettenaples profile image
      Author

      Suzette Walker 3 years ago from Taos, NM

      Hi Sunshine: I have been recuperating from surgery and not on hub pages much in the last two weeks. Thanks so much for reading this. I love gardenias! They are incredibly beautiful in Florida and so many people have the gardenia bushes around the house. I love the aroma of the gardenia and they are perfect as bushes near the front door. Such an inviting smell!

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 3 years ago from Orlando, FL

      One of my favorite flowers. I have a gardenia bush and it's so exciting when it blooms, I know spring is in the air. It was also my mom's favorite flower :)

    • suzettenaples profile image
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      Suzette Walker 4 years ago from Taos, NM

      RTalloni: Thanks so much for reading this and I'm glad you have planted some gardenias. Their fragrance is delightful to have around. Thanks for your visit and for your comments - most appreciated.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey

      Thanks for this look at gardenia! I've recently purchased some dwarf varieties, including one with variegated foliage!, to plant in front of some large old-fashioned ones I propagated a while back. I'm looking forward to propagating the small ones in the future and continuing to fill areas with them. I want to mix them with Lenten roses so we will have blooms in different seasons. House plants are not my thing, but I might eventually have to try one from my new gardenia. :)

    • suzettenaples profile image
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      Suzette Walker 4 years ago from Taos, NM

      Deborah: Thanks so much for your visit. I'm so glad you enjoyed this and that it brought back pleasant memories for you. Your comments are most appreciated.

    • suzettenaples profile image
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      Suzette Walker 4 years ago from Taos, NM

      Epi: sorry to take so long to respond. I have been having pc problems. Thanks so much for your comments - they are lovely. I didn't know Billie Holiday wore white gardenias. That is so cool. Thanks so much for the share. You are a gem!

    • Deborah Brooks profile image

      Deborah Brooks Langford 4 years ago from Brownsville,TX

      Hello.. I love the Gardenia.. My grandmother planted these all the time in her flower beds.. wonderful hub..

      blessings

      Debbie

    • epigramman profile image

      epigramman 4 years ago

      It is a lovely flower although not as lovely as Suzette's Naples - now that one is a real stunner and did you know that the legendary singer Billie Holiday often wore a white gardenia in her hair?

      As always my lovely Miss S , no matter what subject you choose to write about , you always deliver a world class presentation all of the way and I will see you on FB with a post of this one .

    • suzettenaples profile image
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      Suzette Walker 4 years ago from Taos, NM

      Hi carol, how are you? NIce to see you. Did you live in Bonita Springs in the last several years. I have friends who live there. Yes, the desert is no place for gardenias. They would never survive. How about a cactus flower? LOL Thanks so much for reading this and nice to hear from you again.

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 4 years ago from Arizona

      We lived in BOnita Springs for 4 years and I didn't know this. I love gardenias and the sent is magnificent. Thanks fo a great hub...Living in the dry desert..these lovely flowers would not survive.

    • suzettenaples profile image
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      Suzette Walker 4 years ago from Taos, NM

      wildove5: Thank you and I'm glad you enjoyed reading this. Try growing one sometime - you never know, you might discover you have a 'green thumb' for growing gardenia. Thanks so much for your visit and your comments - most appreciated.

    • suzettenaples profile image
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      Suzette Walker 4 years ago from Taos, NM

      bac2basics: Hi there! Nice to hear from you. Sorry to hear of the difficulty you have had growing them. The gardenia is quite delicate and you do have to take care when when watering them that you don't get water on the flower itself. I know Spain is a drier heat. I forget exactly where you are - if your are near the ocean or sea it might be more humid and conducive to growing gardenias. Hope you do well in trying to grow more. Thanks so much for your visit and your comments - most appreciated.

    • suzettenaples profile image
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      Suzette Walker 4 years ago from Taos, NM

      rose-the planner: So glad you enjoyed this hub. I love the fragrance of a gardenia and was delighted to see so much of it in Florida. Florida has the right climate and humidity for this flower and the plants are beautiful. I am glad you will try to grow some. Thanks for your visit - most appreciated.

    • wildove5 profile image

      wildove5 4 years ago from Cumberland, R.I.

      I would love to grow one! It was my mothers favorite flower! Lots of great information! Thanks!

    • bac2basics profile image

      Anne 4 years ago from Spain

      Hi Suzett.

      I love gardenias and have tried them here in Spain but had no luck. However I don´t think I planted them in the correct compost, think I just used general purpose stuff and also I could never get the flowers to open. I presumed they had bud blast but after reading this hub maybe I splashed water on the flowers. I kept mine in pots at the front of the house and they both died rather quickly. I may try to grow them again now I have more info on their special needs and next time will stand the pots in deeper saucers to maintain the humidity levels as except for this year it´s normally very dry heat where I live.

    • rose-the planner profile image

      rose-the planner 4 years ago from Toronto, Ontario-Canada

      This is a great article on the gardenia. We have a home in Florida and we are in the 10a hardiness zone but I have never tried planting gardenias, (which I love). I am going to try next time I go down. Thank you for sharing. (Voted Up) -Rose

    • suzettenaples profile image
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      Suzette Walker 4 years ago from Taos, NM

      howcurecancer: Thanks for the votes and I'm glad you enjoyed reading this hub. I appreciate your visit!

    • suzettenaples profile image
      Author

      Suzette Walker 4 years ago from Taos, NM

      Mhatter: So romantic that you wore the gardenia as a boutonniere. You must be French! LOL Glad you enjoyed this and that it brought back good memories. Thanks for the visit.

    • suzettenaples profile image
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      Suzette Walker 4 years ago from Taos, NM

      thumbi7: How cool 'king of smells'. It certainly is in my book. Thank you so much for your visit and for your comments. Most appreciated.

    • suzettenaples profile image
      Author

      Suzette Walker 4 years ago from Taos, NM

      donnah: You are right - we need a scratch and sniff patch. LOL I love the sweet fragrance of the gardenia. I was surprised too, that it is in the coffee plant genus. Thanks so much for your visit and for reading this. Most appreciated,.

    • howcurecancer profile image

      Elena@LessIsHealthy 4 years ago

      Voted up! I loved this hub.

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Struck a chord of sentiment with this one. I use to wear gardenias as boutineers. thank you (really)

    • thumbi7 profile image

      JR Krishna 4 years ago from India

      The smell of gardenia cannot be compared to any other flower. In Malayalam, the flower is known as "Gandha rajan" meaning king of smells

      Beautiful hub with beautiful pictures

      Voted up and shared

    • donnah75 profile image

      Donna Hilbrandt 4 years ago from Upstate New York

      Oh, I wish there was a scratch and sniff feature for hubs. I love this flower and its fragrance. I didn't know it was related to coffee plants. I love coffee! Beautiful hub. :)

    • suzettenaples profile image
      Author

      Suzette Walker 4 years ago from Taos, NM

      Oh, thank you Faith. I am so glad you enjoyed this. Yes, the gardenia needs TLC to live in the house, especially. There are loads of trees and plants in Florida and they do well, but keeping them in the house it is difficult. Glad you stopped by for a visit - most appreciated.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 4 years ago from southern USA

      Oh, suzette,

      What a glorious hub here! I love the gardenia with its oh so sweet fragrance. It is one of my favorites too. For some reason, I cannot get them to live very long, so thanks for this helpful and beautifully visual write here.

      The different uses of the gardenia are so very interesting too.

      Voted up ++++ and sharing

      Blessings, Faith Reaper