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Gardenia Care To Get A Gardenia Bush To Bloom

Gardenia Care To Get A Gardenia Bush To Bloom


By: Heather Rhoades

A gardenia flower is truly a beauty to behold and the scent is just as wonderful to experience. Unfortunately for many gardenia bush owners, gardenias are notoriously tricky to coax into bloom, but it can be done. Care and feeding gardenia is key to getting a gardenia bush to bloom.

Care of a Gardenia Bush

In order to get a gardenia to bloom, there are four things to remember about proper gardenia care. These are:

  • Humidity
  • Sunlight
  • Temperature
  • Fertilizer

Humidity – Care of a gardenia bush means providing lots of humidity. If your gardenia is in a container, setting the container on a dish filled with pebbles and water will help to increase the surrounding humidity. Whether your gardenia bush is planted in the ground or in a container, daily misting with a spray bottle will increase the humidity around the plant.

Sunlight – Taking care of a gardenia bush also involves making sure that the plant gets proper sunlight. An outdoor gardenia should be planted in a sunny location that is shaded somewhat during the hottest part of the day. For indoor gardenia bushes, place the gardenia in a bright light location but not in direct light.

Temperature – Gardenias bloom best when the daytime temperatures are warm but not hot and the nighttime temperatures are cool. Ideally, for the day, you want the temperatures to be between 65 F. to 75 F. (18-24 C.) during the day and between 55 F. and 60 F. (13-16 C.) at night. For proper gardenia care, make sure that your plant is in an area where the temperatures will match this pattern.

Fertilizer – A gardenia bush is a heavy feeder. Proper care and feeding gardenia means that you should be fertilizing your gardenia every two weeks with a regular water soluble fertilizer solution. Once every three to four months, fertilize your gardenia with an acid based fertilizer.

Gardenia care can be time consuming, but the gardenia blooms are certainly worth the effort. Taking care of a gardenia properly will reward you with the lovely and heavenly scented flowers that make gardenias so special. Proper care and feeding gardenia bushes is all it takes.

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Although the gardenia (Gardenia jasminoides) can grow outdoors in the temperatures of U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 8 through 11, its other requirements must be met if you hope to have gardenia flowers. A tropical plant, the gardenia is picky when it comes to evening temperatures and humidity levels and is best grown indoors if you don't live in the right tropical or subtropical climate. Gardenias may produce luscious, glossy green leaves and then fail to bloom for several reasons.


The main problem with gardenias is that they have a tendency to drop their buds. This is caused by too much moisture, low-acid soil or humidity that is too low.

Fertilize gardenias twice a month with acidifying fertilizer such as azalea or rhododendron fertilizer to maintain a soil pH between 5.0 and 6.0. Maintain a temperature between 65 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit during the daytime and between 60 and 62 degrees Fahrenheit at night. Mist frequently or provide pebble trays to raise the humidity level near the gardenia. Low humidity also causes buds to drop and failure to bloom. Grow florist gardenias in bright indirect light if grown inside or partial shade if planted outside. Use caution to maintain other factors such as temperature and humidity as gardenias are sensitive to environmental changes.


Gardenias are a very popular flowering plant for many gardeners. Their popularity is due to the beautiful blooms and scent that these blooms produce. Unfortunately, these plants can be very difficult to care for. So many things can go wrong, and after one plant fails, a gardener may give up on raising them all together. However, there are simple ways to deal with the problems that crop up in caring for these plants. So if you are a gardener that wants to try raising these plants, or you want to give these plants another try, here are some tips for treating the most common gardenia problems.

Gardenia Bloom. Photo by Jill Lang/Dreamstime.

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Green Aphid. Photo by Jscalev/Dreamstime.

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Mealy Bugs. Photo by Jeridu/Dreamstime.

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Red ant and scale insects. Photo by Jeridu/Dreamstime.


The gardenia is a semitropical, evergreen shrub that grows in U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 8 through 10. This plant thrives in high humidity and prefers mild daytime temperatures between 68 to 74 degrees F. For buds to form properly, the gardenia requires cool evening temperatures between 40 to 60 degrees.

The gardenia prefers full sun to partial shade and requires at least 4 hours of sunlight daily in order to bloom. It thrives in moist, well-drained, acidic soil. Fertilize your gardenia from March through August with an acidic fertilizer. The Clemson University Cooperation Extension warns that fertilizing in the fall produces early growth that can be damaged by cold winter temperatures.

  • The gardenia is beloved by Southern gardeners for its waxy white blossoms and exotic fragrance.
  • The Clemson University Cooperation Extension warns that fertilizing in the fall produces early growth that can be damaged by cold winter temperatures.

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