How to Grow and Care for Gardenias in Pots
Growing Gardenias in pots requires some care and attention but they are worth it, as gardenias are famous for their heady fragrance and beautiful appearance.
Requirements for Growing Gardenias in Pots
Choose a location that is warm, bright and sunny. One thing you need to care for when picking a spot for your gardenia shrub is that it needs good air circulation around it.
Maintain the air flow around it, also, be careful that you don’t place it in a location from where water will spill over its foliage every now and then as water droplets can lead a fungal growth on leaves
For growing gardenias in pots, choose quality potting soil that is light, well-drained and rich in organic matter. You can also use gritty mix soil for it. Clay-rich, water retaining soil must be avoided.
Soil must be acidic and pH level around 4.8 – 6 is ideal.
Water the plant deeply but only when the top one inch surface of the soil dries out. To check this, poke your index finger into the soil. In any case, avoid overwatering to prevent root rot.
Ideal humidity level is around 70%. When watering avoid misting or wetting the foliage to increase the humidity as this may cause fungal infection. Instead, place your potted gardenia on a pebble filled tray that is filled with water to increase the humidity level and moisture.
Temperature around 70 F (20 C) is optimum for gardenias, at this temperature flower buds are formed. Fluctuation in temperature damages the flower buds or they may take more time to bloom.
Temperature around 60 F – 85 F (15 C – 30 C) is ideal for its growth. Below 20 F (- 7 C) the plant faces substantial damage. Also, exposure to harsh afternoon sun in tropics can burn the leaves.
Gardenia Plant Care
Repot your gardenia plant in every 2-3 years. While repotting, you don’t need to prune the roots as they are fine and shallow and pruning them can cause root damage.
Generally, for gardenia, acidic fertilizers are used. You can find special fertilizer for gardenia in any garden store or online. You can also fertilize it with azalea fertilizer.
Application of Epsom salt once in a month during the growing season is also essential for the proper growth of gardenia.
Acidic soil is the key to growing gardenias successfully. If your soil is not acidic, add sulfur to change the pH level.
When the flowering period is over, prune your shrub slightly to maintain its beautiful compact design. Remove all the dead, damaged or entangled branches that are crossing each other and thwarting the penetration of sun rays and air flow.
Remove spent flowers as soon as they wilt and fade. This will promote the emergence of new blooms.
Pests and Diseases
To prevent diseases avoid overhead watering and excessive watering. The main pests that attack it are aphids, mealybugs, and spider mites.