Gardenia jasmine (Gardenia jasminoides) belongs to the genus Gardenia (Gardenia) the Marenov family (Rubiaceae). The stunning aroma of jasmine and the waxy white flowers of gardenia will certainly attract attention and give rise to the desire to acquire this plant. Many gardenia varieties bloom for several months and the plant is adorned with very elegant glossy evergreen leaves of a dark green color all year round.
Gardenia jasmine has long been cultivated in China; reliable references to this plant date back to the time of the Song Dynasty (960-1279).
The species is described in 1761 by John Ellis, shortly after the plant was brought to the gardens of England. The specific name appeared thanks to G. Eret, who emphasized the similarity of the aroma of the flower with jasmine. There is also the name of the gardenia Augusta (Gardenia augusta), but it is considered not valid today.
This species occurs naturally in Vietnam, South China, Taiwan, Japan, India, where it can reach two meters in height. Prefers warm, full sun or light partial shade, acidic, well-drained and well-irrigated soils rich in organic matter.
Possessing high decorative qualities, gardenia is widely used for cultivation in countries with warm climates in gardens, and in cooler climates in greenhouse and indoor conditions.
Over a long period of cultivation, many varieties have been bred:
- Beauty - 1.5-2 m tall, large double white flowers appear from early summer to autumn, abundant flowering. One of the most popular varieties.
- Chuck Hayes - height 1.5-2 m, flowers are semi-double, fragrant, ivory. Appears in early summer; single flowers may appear throughout the summer. The variety is characterized by increased cold resistance.
- Belmont - a densely doubled variety with large rounded leaves. The flowers grow up to 10 cm, with an amazing aroma. Possesses good cold snap resistance. The variety is resistant to diseases.
- Amy (Aimee) - the variety with the least dark foliage. Double flowers up to 12 cm are so perfect that they look artificial. Flowering occurs twice a year.
- Mystery - 1.5-2 m high, with large dark green leaves, a very strong and popular variety. The flowers are very large, up to 13 cm, double, flat. It usually blooms twice a year. Tends to grow vertically.
- Radicans - dwarf compact bush 0.5-1 m high and up to 1.2 m wide with small shiny leaves. Terry flowers about 2.5-5 cm appear later than in many varieties, in summer. Ideal for bonsai.
- Variegata - variegated variety with medium-sized fragrant flowers (8 cm). A small shrub with a slow growth rate, well suited for growing in pots. The leaves are round, in color there are color transitions of various shapes from green to light cream.
- Radican Variegata - a dwarf variety with variegated leaves, reaching 1 m in adulthood, very slow-growing. Dark green leaves with a creamy stripe along the edge. Flowers from 2.5 to 5 cm in diameter appear late, only in summer. Ideal for bonsai.
- Golden Magic characterized by long flowering and early transition of corolla color from white to golden yellow.
Growing and care
Jasmine gardenia is considered a difficult crop to grow at home and requires a number of conditions for good growth.
Illumination. Gardenia prefers bright light, but it should be protected from the direct midday summer sun, otherwise the leaves can get burned. South-west or west-facing windows are optimal.In winter, the plant must be given the greatest possible bright light.
Temperature. Daytime summer temperatures are optimally maintained within + 21 + 24оС, nighttime temperatures + 15 + 18оС. In winter, coolness is desirable, about +16, although a decrease in temperature to + 10 ° C is permissible. Cooler conditions will prevent the plant from depleting with a lack of light in winter. Lowering the temperature to the desired limits can be achieved with the help of ventilation, but drafts and sudden changes in temperature must be avoided, which can cause the buds to fall off.
Air humidity. Gardenias grow best in conditions of high and uniform humidity. Place the pot on a pallet of damp expanded clay, insulating the drainage holes. In hot weather, it will be useful to spray the plant often, but not on the flowers, because ugly stains may remain on them. Gardenia loves to be regularly given a warm shower (protecting the soil from getting wet).
Watering and water quality.
Watering and water quality.In the spring and summer, the soil should be kept moist, but not damp. This is achieved by regular and moderate watering as the top layer dries. Watering must be carried out from above, so that the soil is uniformly moistened and the salts move from top to bottom to the feeding roots. In winter, when the plant is not growing, watering should be reduced, not allowing the soil to dry out between waterings. Watering with soft water and always warm, room temperature is recommended. In areas with good ecology, you can irrigate with rain or melt water, in industrial regions, watering with drinking boiled water is preferable. The water is boiled for several minutes, allowed to cool completely and only the upper half is carefully drained, without capturing the sediment that has fallen to the bottom. It will be useful to acidify the water with lemon juice every 3-5 waterings, just add 1-3 drops per 1 liter of water. This measure will facilitate the assimilation of nutrients from the soil, since many nutrients are absorbed by gardenia only in acidic conditions. Excessive watering or drying out of the soil will cause serious root damage.
Priming. Gardenia needs acidic mixtures, only then will it be able to assimilate nutrients and develop fully. Use special mixtures for acid-loving plants - gardenias or azaleas (rhododendrons). Regular acidification will help maintain the desired acidity of the soil with hard irrigation water. For gardenias, soils are suitable that dry out quickly, but have the ability to retain water. This quality is achieved by adding sand, perlite and sphagnum to the ready-made mixtures, which at the same time acidifies the soil.
Transfer. Young plants are transplanted every year in spring, if necessary, if the plant has time to braid the entire lump with roots. Transplanting is carried out only by careful transfer into a slightly larger pot with the addition of special soil for gardenias. Mature plants are transplanted every few years. The soil in which the Dutch plant is sold is suitable for gardenia according to all requirements, so there is no need to replace it, the transplant is also done by careful handling.
Read more in the article Transplanting indoor plants
Top dressing. Top dressing should be started 1-2 months after the next transplant and only during the spring-summer period. But it is better not to feed the newly purchased Dutch plants for the entire first growing season, since the plants are well filled with long-acting fertilizers, so feeding immediately after purchase can lead to an oversupply. For top dressing, it is better to use acidic complex fertilizers for azaleas with trace elements. Gardenia responds well to foliar dressing (by spraying once a week with a weak solution of mineral complex fertilizers with microelements), especially if the acidity of the soil is disturbed.In winter, it is permissible to fertilize with magnesium (magnesium sulfate) and iron (Ferovit, iron chelate) in the form of spraying or watering in case of chlorosis (yellowing) of the leaves. For good assimilation of nutrients from the soil, it is necessary to maintain its desired acidity using soft or acidified irrigation water.
Pruning. Pruning to maintain a compact form should be carried out immediately after flowering, if necessary. Usually, in the first year after the purchase of an imported plant, pruning is not required, the plant perfectly retains its compact shape.
Reproduction. After several years of cultivation in gardenia jasmine, a decrease in the abundance of flowering is observed. But you can always renew the plant by rooting the cuttings after pruning and grow a new one. The best cuttings for rooting will be cut immediately after flowering. They must be ripe, not in a stage of intensive growth. You can also take cuttings in early spring. Cuttings with a "heel", a piece of old wood, take root more easily. It is desirable to use root formation simulators (Kornevin, Heteroauxin). More about the technology of cuttings - in the article Cutting indoor plants at home.
Wintering in an apartment can cause a lot of problems. With a lack of light, the plant is quickly depleted. Therefore, it is necessary to find a cool place for him (+ 10 + 16 ° C) in the brightest possible light, supplement it with fluorescent lamps to create a 12-hour daylight hours. The substrate should be kept slightly damp, avoiding drying out or excessive dampness.
Bloom in different varieties of gardenia can occur at different times, optimal conditions are formed when the night temperature is maintained at about + 16 ° C degrees. During flowering, the flower turns from white to yellow-cream, spreading the sweet scent of jasmine.
Pests. May be affected by aphids, mealybugs, spider mites, scale insects.
About pest control - in the article Houseplant pests and control measures.
Yellowing of leaves can be caused by root damage due to improper watering. Both waterlogging and excessive drying out of the soil cause serious root diseases, which affects the condition of the leaves, they can turn yellow and become covered with brown spots. If the watering regime is observed, then a possible reason for the yellowing of the leaves may be a lack of iron from watering with hard water, in this case, you should feed the gardenia with iron chelate (Ferovit). Such dressings should be carried out until the plant is completely healed according to the instructions.
Falling buds can be observed due to strong temperature fluctuations, improper (excessive or insufficient) watering. It can also be caused by a lack of light, low air humidity, cold drafts or other disturbances in care, even just rearranging the plant to another place. Choose a place where sharp changes in temperature, drafts are excluded and set up watering, avoiding drying out and waterlogging of the substrate. Gardenia is very sensitive to any violation of conditions at the time of budding.
No buds are formed. The reason may be too hot nights, with temperatures above + 18 ° C, or low air humidity. It is necessary to increase the air humidity (by regular spraying, placing on a pallet with wet expanded clay) and to reduce the air temperature.
Read about other collectible gardenias on the page Gardenia.