Growing Gardenias in Canberra

Few things say summer like the rich perfume of Gardenias. Although they come from tropical areas, it’s not hard to find a place to grow them in a cold climate like Canberra’s. You can easily enjoy these handsome small evergreens with very fragrant blooms.

What do Gardenias like?

Are Gardenias good in pots?

Pots are perfect for growing Gardenias, especially if you want to move them into more shelter during winter.

Ensure you use a high quality and acidic potting mix: Gardenia, Camellia and Azalea mix is ideal.

What kinds are good for Canberra?

Gardenia florida is perhaps the most popular as it is a compact shrub that repeat flowers right through the warm months. It is also used as a low hedge in protected positions. Gardenia radicans is a handsome and fragrant ground cover variety. Look out for more unusual varieties with golden flowers or with single flowers.

Prune or trim in March to keep them bushy, although this often means sacrificing some flowers!

Pest & disease management

Yellow leaves can be concerning at times. It is natural for the older leaves to go yellow in one go when the plant redirects its energy into producing flowers - feeding can help. Or it could be a sign of scale attack (see below). A major cause of yellowing leaves is simply the cold of winter slowing the plant’s metabolism (sound familiar?) - yellow leaf symptoms will fade as the soil and weather warm up and the plant can better circulate the missing nutrients. Epsom Salts are usually not needed - just use a good complete fertiliser like Healthy Earth. If problems persist, bring in a sample and chat with our helpful staff.

Scale insects are a common pest (they look like small brown lumps on stems and under leaves). Spray with Eco Oil, Pest Oil, Eco Neem or Scale Gun as directed. Then fertilise the plant to build its resistance.

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