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Gardenias, which originate in china, have dark green very glossy leaves and highly fragrant waxy white flowers. if you like a challenge and are prepared to give this plant some extra attention, then you will be not disappointed with the results.

The secrets to success with gardenias are even temperatures, with careful watering and bright light without direct strong sun. Ideally the night temperatures needs to be around 14c or 15c for the buds to successfully form. bud-drop is generally down to low temperatures or not enough light although erratic watering can also cause the buds to shed. Aim to keep the compost moist at all times and water during winter that has stood indoors for a while so that it is not freezing cold. Ideally use soft water or you may find the foliage start to turn yellow. Also, mist-spray the foliage regularly to increase air humidity.

After flowering gardenias need to be pruned back about half in order to keep them bushy.

During summer, established plants can be placed outside. Make Sure they are protected from the full force of the sun and from slug attacks. Bring them back indoors in autumn and in a warm bright spot.

Gardenias can be propagated by taking stem cuttings, about 3″ long, in spring from non-flowering shoots. Insert the cuttings into pots containing an equal mix (by volume) of peat and sand. Ideally you will need a propagator to provide the necessary bottom heat for the cuttings to root successfully. the young plants will need their growing tips pinching out regularly to encourage strong bushy plants to develop. Persevere with this scented beauty and you will be richly rewarded.