The Gardenia jasminoides, or Cape Jasmine, is renowned for its strongly-scented flowers and was named in honour of the American naturalist Dr. Alexander Garden by Carl Linnaeus.
This is an evergreen flowering shrub with thick dark green, glossy and rubbery leaves. Its delicate flowers are creamy-white and they have a very distinctive fragrance.
The Gardenia originated in the warm humid tropical areas of Japan, China and Taiwan. It is now also found in the tropical and subtropical areas in Africa, Australasia and Oceania. It is very susceptible to cold and should be protected against it for successful growth.
Gardenias bloom from the middle of spring into summer and are propagated by making cuttings from the tip shoot and keeping them in a warm humid place. Because of the environment they originate from, gardenia require warm and moist conditions in order to grow fully.
The Gardenia is a genus of 142 species of flowering plants of the coffee family, Rubiaceae. Some of the best-known ones are the Gardenia Jaminoides (the Common Gardenia) and the Thunbergia (Forest Gardenia).
The Gardenia is susceptible to aphids, mealy bugs, spider mites, thrips and scales. The flowers should be handled with great care as they bruise easily and get discoloured. The Gardenia should be watered constantly and dead heads removed to encourage constant flowering. Do not disturb the shallow root system when weeding. Prune during the dormant period to allow the plant to recover before it flowers the next season.
Did You Know?
The jazz singer Billie Holiday wore gardenias in her hair as her trade mark.
In Japan, the bloom of the Jasminoides is used for its yellow dye for clothes and food.