Few scents can outdo that of a dwarf gardenia. Dwarf gardenias, like their regular sized siblings, are evergreen shrubs with ethereal creamy, white flowers. They need full to partial sun for best bloom in rich, well-draining soil. Miniature gardenia plants are a bit fussy about their care, especially when young. Learn how to grow dwarf gardenia and you will soon be enjoying their intoxicating fragrance.
How to Grow Dwarf Gardenia
Miniature gardenia plants have the same care and site requirements of the larger varieties. Gardenias are native to tropical and sub-tropical regions, and as such have little frost tolerance and perform best in hot weather. Following expert tips on growing dwarf gardenias can help avoid common mistakes that can compromise plant health or blooming.
Good gardenia care starts with proper installation and site. These shrubs prefer acidic soil with a pH between 5.0 and 6.0. The soil should be amended with plenty of organic items and checked for drainage. If drainage is minimal, incorporate some gritty matter to the soil. Gardenias like moist soil but it should not be boggy.
When planting, make sure the hole is wide and deep enough to spread the root system out. Fill in around roots carefully and water immediately to settle soil. Gardenias need one inch (2.5 cm.) of water weekly.
Growing Dwarf Gardenias in Pots
Gardenias need temperatures of 65 to 70 degrees F. (18-21 C.) during the day to produce flowers and night temperatures of 60 to 65 degrees F. (15-18 C.). For this reason, many gardeners choose to grow gardenias in pots.
Provided the soil mixture has rich loam and some peat moss mixed, it will be nutrient rich, acidic, and well-draining enough for the plant. Place containers on casters so you can easily move them in and out with the seasons.
Containerized plants will need fertilizing in spring every two weeks but suspend feeding by the end of summer. They will also require more water than in-ground plants but keep them slightly drier in winter.
Place containers where the light is bright but indirect and there are no drafts. Provide humidity by misting daily or placing a dish of water near the plant.
General Dwarf Gardenia Care
A nice organic mulch spread around the root zone will prevent weeds and help keep roots cool and soil moist.
Prune spent blooms as they occur to promote continuous flowering. Take flowers off just below the leaf node. Prune the plant during the dormant season to keep the gardenia in a tidy habit. Remove any crowded or crossed stems at this time to increase air circulation and light to the center of the plant. This will discourage fungal diseases and encourage blooming.
Feed in-ground plants with an acidic fertilizer after bloom or use a granular time release formula at the beginning of the season.
Once established, dwarf gardenia care is minimal and the shrubs will faithfully produce those heavenly scented flowers year after year.