Types of gardenia plants

Different Gardenia Types: Varieties Of Gardenia Commonly Grown

They’re the aroma of romance and soft summer nights. They’re the traditional corsages at proms and the boutonnieres of weddings and funerals. They’re the scent of springtime in the South. They’re the gardenia. Varieties abound, over 250 of them, but all gardenia types have two things in common: their luscious scent and lovely, waxy white flowers.

Popular Gardenia Types

All gardenia varieties are members of the genus Gardenia and the coffee family, Rubiaceae. Most types of gardenias in the United States stem from the early Gardenia augusta. Because of their fragrant blossoms and thick, attractive foliage, certain types of gardenia are prized as shrubs for their use as hedges and borders and specimen plantings, particularly near walkways and garden seating areas where their fragrance lingers in the evening.

Farther north, where the winters are too harsh for the shrub’s survival, varieties of gardenia are grown as container plants, spending their summers outdoors and winters inside. The following are some of the most popularly grown varieties of gardenias in the South:

  • August Beauty – With large double flowers up to three inches across, this is one of the most frequently found varieties of gardenia. It flowers in early summer and sporadically into fall. It is a large shrub, growing to 6 feet tall and when not in bloom, its perfect large glossy foliage makes an attractive specimen. It is one of the most cold hardy, growing freely up to USDA plant hardiness zone 7.
  • Kleim’s Hardy – Another hardy type of gardenia, this one has six single petals to each flower with bright yellow stamens. Its large, shining leaves enhance its rounded growth, which can reach 2 to 3 feet tall and wide.
  • Aimee Yashioka – Commonly called Cape Jasmine or Cape Jessamine, these are old-time gardenias. Varieties are known for their intense fragrance and their gorgeous ivory-white, double blooms that can reach four to five inches across. These are the specimens that gave the species its reputation. This is a fast growing cultivar that can reach 12 feet or more and as a bonus, blooms twice during the growing season.
  • Radicans – Another garden favorite among the smaller gardenia types. It is slow growing and only reaches 24 to 36 inches in height. The foliage is smaller than many other gardenia varieties and sports two to three inch, single petaled flowers that are creamy white. Like its larger cousins, Radicans is deliciously fragrant and blooms later in the season, which makes it a great partner for some of the earlier blooming cultivars.
  • Mystery – This medium-sized shrub is also known to be hardy to Zone 8. As with most types of gardenia, this one has dark glossy foliage and a heady fragrance. What makes Mystery different among gardenia varieties is that it produces its double white blossoms from spring until fall. Fully grown, it reaches about five feet tall and three feet wide, making it suitable for areas where larger varieties would overwhelm. This is a lovely addition to add privacy and fragrance to a small patio.
  • First Love – Who could resist such a name? And it may very well be your first love among the many varieties of gardenia. It’s a compact grower that reaches 5 feet high and 3 feet wide and is one of the earliest blooming gardenias in the spring. The double blooms are some of the largest to be found and the showy flowers are wonderful for cutting as well as enjoyment outdoors.

These are just a few of the varieties of gardenias that are available through catalogs and local nursery centers. More cultivars await your discovery. If you live in southern climes, one of these beauties is a must for your garden. With all the varieties available, there’s sure to be one that fits your needs.

Weather Is the Key to Good Gardenias

Question: My gardenias never look as good as my friend’s. What is the secret to growing healthy gardenias?

C.D., Orange

Answer: Although fragrant gardenias are quite common in Southern California and can thrive here, they can be temperamental to grow if they are planted in the wrong spot.

To do well, they require heat during the day and cool nights. They should, therefore, be planted in a full sun location (except for in the hottest inland areas) that is warm during the day and cool at night.


Good locations are under the open sky and away from the house. Avoid planting close to house walls or in patio areas, because these locations tend to stay warmer at night.

When growing gardenias, you are somewhat at the mercy of the weather. In winter when soil temperatures drop below 62 degrees, they tend to experience chlorosis (yellow leaves with green veins).

Chlorosis occurs because the plant is unable to take up iron from the cold soil. If the condition is extreme, the leaves may all fall off.

You can fertilize with a ferrous sulfate or iron chelating agent to help remedy this problem, but the plant generally won’t be able to take up the iron until the weather warms in spring. Check with a California certified nursery professional regarding which iron products are best for gardenias.


Also keep in mind that fluctuations in nighttime temperatures–such as what we have experienced this winter–can affect flowering.

Although gardenias need daytime heat, if the nighttime temperatures are warm and exceed 60 to 62 degrees, the buds may form, but not develop. Then if we suddenly get a few cooler nights, the buds may drop off.

Gardenias prefer good drainage, regular watering and acidic soil.

Plant them high as you would azaleas to augment drainage and give them sufficient room so that they aren’t crowded by other plants or competing roots. They don’t tolerate going dry, so keep them evenly moist. Mulch well around the plant with an azalea/camellia mix, which will preserve moisture and acidify the soil.

Fertilize several times during the growing season beginning in spring with an acidic type fertilizer that contains an ammonium type of nitrogen such as ammonium sulfate, ammonium nitrate or urea. Also periodically fertilize with iron to prevent chlorosis.

After blooming, gardenias may be pruned to remove spent flowers and control straggly growth.

Gardenias benefit from morning dew or misting. If conditions aren’t moist enough, they are likely to be plagued by whiteflies, aphids and other sucking insects like thrips.

Gardenia Choices


There are numerous varieties of gardenias to choose from:

* ‘Mystery’ is probably the best-known variety. It has double white blooms on a 6- to 8-foot bush and blooms May through July. It becomes rangy without pruning.

* ‘August Beauty’ reaches 4 to 6 feet tall and has double blooms May through November.

* ‘First Love’ has larger blooms than ‘Mystery.’ Some feel its deeper green leaves are less likely to yellow.

* ‘Daisy’ has single blooms on a compact 3-foot-tall plant.

* ‘Golden Magic’ has full white flowers that age to a deep golden yellow on a 3-foot-tall plant. Blooms April to September.

* ‘Kimura Shikazaki’ (‘Four Seasons’) is a compact 2- to 3-foot-tall plant with a long bloom season from spring through fall.

* ‘Radicans’ grows just 6 to 12 inches tall with a 2- to 3-foot spread and 1-inch blooms in summer. It makes a good ground cover or container plant.


* ‘Veitchii’ is a compact 3- to 4-foot-tall gardenia with prolific blooms May through November.

Have a problem in your yard? University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) Master Gardeners are here to help. These trained and certified horticultural volunteers are dedicated to extending research-based, scientifically accurate information to the public about home horticulture and pest management. They are involved with a variety of outreach programs, including the UCCE Master Garden hotline, which provides answers to specific questions. You can reach the hotline at (714) 708-1646 or send e-mail to [email protected] Calls and e-mail are picked up daily and are generally returned within two to three days.

Gardenias: Plant Care and Collection of Varieties

Gardenia is best known for their fragrant white flowers, gardenias are heat-loving evergreen shrubs that have become a gardening symbol in the Southeast. Another common name is cape jasmine.

About gardenias
Plant gardenias near a deck or window where you can enjoy the flowers’ fragrance. The plants grow from 2 to 8 feet tall and wide, depending on the variety. Most gardenias grow into a round shape with dark green, glossy leaves and white, fragrant flowers that bloom from mid-spring into summer. Avoid planting gardenias near a concrete walk or foundation where the pH maybe too high for good growth.

Special features of gardenias
Winter interest

Planting Instructions
Plant in spring or fall, spacing plants 3 to 6 feet apart. Have the soil tested to determine pH, and if necessary add the recommended amount of sulfur to reduce the pH to between 5 and 6. Dig a hole only as deep as the root ball and 2 to 3 times as wide. If your soil is in very poor condition, amend the soil you’ve removed from the hole with a small amount of compost. Otherwise don’t amend it at all. Carefully remove the plant from the container and set it in the hole. Fill the hole half full with soil, then water it well to settle the soil and eliminate air pockets. Let the water drain, then fill the remainder of hole with soil and water thoroughly.

Choosing a site to grow gardenias
Select a site with full sun to light shade and moist, rich, well-drained soil. Gardenias prefer acidic soil with a pH between 5.0 and 6.0.

Ongoing Care
Gardenias require at least an inch of rain (or equivalent watering) each week. Apply a 2- to 4-inch layer of organic mulch to help keep soil moist, reduce weeding, and maintain a constant soil temperature. Feed monthly during the growing season with an acidifying fertilizer. Prune in early spring to shape the bush, and deadhead after flowering to encourage more flowering. Check periodically for white flies and mealybugs, using a horticultural oil or insecticidal soap to control these pests. In regions where the plant is marginally hardy, protect bushes from hard freezes and drying winter winds.
See more information about Gardenias:
” Plant Finder: Gardenia augusta
” Plant Finder: Gardenia ‘Kleims Hardy’
” Plant Finder: Gardenia ‘Veitchii’


Gardenias may not be low-maintenance plants, but many Southern gardeners think they’re worth the effort.

And now there are hardier varieties available that better withstand typical gardenia problems like sooty mold.

Gardenias are evergreen shrubs that grow in height from 2-15 feet (depending on the cultivar), forming mounds of glossy, dark-green foliage. Leaves are oval shaped, and flowers vary in color—from pale yellow with purple mottling to creamy white.

Probably the most distinguishing characteristic of the gardenia is its sweet scent. All gardenia blossoms possess a wax-like appearance and can be either single or double, depending on the cultivar.

There are over 200 species of gardenias. In Florida, varieties of Gardenia jasminoides are used almost exclusively. Many cultivars are available and there is considerable variation in form, flower type, and plant size. Because of this, gardenias can be used as specimen plantings, hedges, or even as groundcovers.

Planting and Care

Gardenias will do best in well-drained, rich soil, so consider amending your chosen planting site with compost or peat moss. Soil pH is important for gardenias, and should be between 5.0 and 6.5. Where soil pH is above 7.0 (usually due to naturally occurring limestone or sea shells), consider an alternative plant or try growing your gardenia in a container. Have your soil tested at your local county Extension office.

Plant your gardenia in full sun or partial shade, with enough space for good air circulation—this helps with pest prevention and allows for the flowers’ scent to spread. Plant near a walkway, entry, or patio so you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy its fragrance.

For ideal flower production, water your gardenia regularly and fertilizer two or three times a year. One application is normally scheduled around February (South Florida) or March (North Florida) and another in September (North Florida) or October (South Florida). A third fertilizer application may be made during the summer.

Pruning should only be done after the shrub has stopped flowering, and before October. Pruning after then will hurt the next season’s flower production.

The most common problem encountered with growing gardenias is pests. Mealybugs, aphids, scales and whiteflies are all problematic on gardenias. Try using insecticidal soaps or horticultural oils; these can usually keep pests in check when used properly. Root-knot nematodes can also be a problem, but there are currently no chemical treatments available. There are special, grafted gardenias resistant to root-knot nematodes available for Central and South Florida, but they are too cold-tender for North Florida.

UF/IFAS Publications

  • Gardenia jasminoides ‘Prostrata’ Dwarf Gardenia
  • Gardenias at a Glance

Also on Gardening Solutions

  • Fragrance Gardens
  • Moonlight Gardens

Favorite Gardenia Varieties – Complete Selection Guide

Beloved for their intoxicating fragrance and attractive, waxy, creamy-white flowers contrasting beautifully with their shiny, leathery, dark green leaves, Gardenias are irresistible heat-loving evergreen shrubs or trees. Native to the tropical and subtropical regions of Africa, southern Asia, Australasia and Oceania, Gardenias are not the easiest shrubs to grow, but their exquisite fragrant flowers make up for the extra attention they require.

  • Gardenia plants usually grow from 2 to 12 ft tall and wide (60 – 360 cm), depending on the variety. Blooming profusely over a long period of time extending from mid-spring to late summer or even fall, Gardenia flowers may be solitary or in small clusters, single, semi-double or double. Reaching up to 4 in. in diameter (10 cm), most flowers last 3-8 days. They open white and mature to soft creamy yellow.
  • Symbol of purity and sweetness, the Gardenia flower makes excellent cut flowers and is prized in wedding bouquets or flower arrangements where it adds a touch of elegance. It is followed in late summer and fall by Gardenia hips, rich orange-red berries that attract birds and other wildlife.
  • Gardenias have not been bred to withstand extreme cold weather. Most varieties enjoy tropical or subtropical conditions and are recommended for USDA zones 8-11. However, a few frost proof Gardenia varieties can now be grown more reliably in USDA climate zone 7. These hardy Gardenias can tolerate temperatures that plummet to below freezing and still reward you with their fabulous blooms.
  • Gardenia plants are well suited for containers, raised beds, hedges, espaliers, screens, borders, ground covers or as specimen plants. Plant your Gardenias near a deck or window where you can enjoy the divine flowers’ fragrance!
  • The most popular cultivated Gardenia species is Gardenia Jasminoides (also called Gardenia Augusta, Gardenia Grandiflora, Gardenia Schlechteri or Gardenia Florida), commonly known as Common Gardenia or Cape Jasmine. Native to China, Taiwan and Japan, this beautiful, shrubby evergreen species enjoys a captivating, sweet fragrance reminiscent of Jasmine, hence its name.

Gardenia ‘Heavy Scent’

Gardenia Hips or Seed pods

Gardenia ‘Pinwheel’

Over 200 Gardenia varieties are available in a wide range of height, flower size and color, leaf size and color, blooming time and duration, and shrub habit. Here is the list of the most popular Gardenia cultivars.

Gardenias are reminiscent of warm nights, sweet romance and vintage beauty. A symbol of the south, they bring to mind lavish gardens and sprawling manors. When planted around a porch or near windows, gardenias infuse the air in the home with a scent almost as sweet as candy. There are several varieties of this evergreen shrub, but almost all of them have fragrant white flowers.

Varieties of Gardenias
Gardenias are actually members of the coffee family. Native to warm locations in Africa and Asia, these plants love heat and humidity. In the south, these shrubs can be planted outside, and they bloom from early spring to midsummer. They often line pathways as borders and make a beautiful hedge. In colder climates, they may be grown in pots and brought indoors for the winter, although they may attract pests such as mealybugs and whiteflies.

  • August Beauty – One of the most popular gardenia varieties, this type has double flowers about the size of the palm of a hand. It begins to flower in early spring and may have random blooms throughout early fall. The large shrub is attractive even when it’s not flowering, making it an ideal choice for borders and hedges.
  • Mystery – Also a well-known gardenia variety, its flowers grow to 4-5 inches, and the shrub itself can grow to 8 feet. This type of shrub requires pruning to maintain a neat appearance and blooms throughout the spring.
  • Miami Supreme – The large double flowers on this type of gardenia make it a beauty. It can be planted in containers or even pruned to look like a small tree, making it a versatile addition to any garden. The Miami Supreme may bloom into the fall and grows well inside in warm, sunny locations.
  • Grif’s Select – A beautiful choice from spring to fall, this plant bears numerous flowers. In the fall, red berries appear on the shrub, bringing an element of surprise into your garden as the weather cools down.
  • Klein’s Hardy – Although one of the smaller shrubs, growing up to 2-3 feet in all directions, this type of gardenia commands attention. Although it does not have double flowers, the vibrant yellow stamens on these flowers are striking, and its leaves are large and shiny. Klein’s Hardy can survive temperatures to 0 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Radicans – Great for edging and small pots, this type of gardenia only grows up to 12 inches tall. It spreads 2-3 feet, making it an ideal ground cover for warmer climates. Radicans Variegata has unique striped leaves.
  • White Gem – Compact at only 1-2 feet tall, the White Gem gardenia tends to bloom in the summer, infusing the air with an enchanting fragrance.
  • Shooting Star – A tall-growing variety that’s hardy to 0 degrees Fahrenheit, the Shooting Star gardenia is as magical as its name implies. Its large leaves and size make it a great natural wall or hedge between yards.
  • First Love – This variety of gardenia is irresistible. One of the first gardenias to bloom in the spring, this type has large, breathtaking double blooms that look beautiful in floral arrangements.

There are several other types of gardenias available by mail order or locally. Growing the right type of gardenia for your climate will help you achieve success and provide you with an aromatic atmosphere that you can enjoy for months.


Popular Garden Ideas

Popular Garden Ideas

You’re sure to find the ideal gardenia for your garden since there are over 200 gardenia varieties. Each offers you a choice of beautiful blooms, and all share a romantic fragrant aroma that perfumes the air.

Gardenia thunbergia

Gardenia thunbergia is one of the large shrubbery varieties. It’s often called a small tree since it grows up to 15 feet high. This gardenia is dense and features multiple twig like branches of smooth bark with a light gray hue and has showy cream-colored flowers.

Versatile Growing Options

You will find Gardenia thunbergia an easy to grow gardenia. Some gardeners use it for a blooming fragrant hedge, stating it has a citrus aroma. Other gardeners prefer to grow it as a small tree within their landscaping. Considered a broadleaf evergreen, you can depend on this variety to provide greenery year-round. It can also be grown indoors in large pots in rooms with bright indirect sunlight.

  • Zones: 10 to 12
  • Sun: Partial shade
  • Height: 5′ to 16′
  • Spread: 4′ to 10′
  • Water: Water regularly, deep water, don’t allow soil to become dry
  • Soil: Well-drained, grows in most soil types soil.
  • Fertilize: Once a month in March, June/July and October.
  • Prune: Wait until blooming is over. Avoid late pruning since it will decrease the number of blooms next season.

August Beauty Gardenia

August Beauty (Gardenia thunbergia) variety is a tree sized gardenia, the August Beauty is often referred to as a gardenia patio tree. Many gardeners enjoy planting it in a large pot or container to use on the patio or deck. This evergreen can also be planted in the ground in regions where harsh winters aren’t a concern.

  • Zones: 8-11
  • Sun: Full to partial
  • Height: 4′ to 5′
  • Spread: 3′
  • Water: Water regularly, don’t allow soil to become dry
  • Soil: Well-drained, grows in most soil types soil.
  • Fertilize: Once a month during blooming season.
  • Prune: Wait until blooming is over.

Gardenia Radicans

Radicans is a low-growing dwarf or miniature plant that is often used as a ground cover since it grows horizontally as shrubbery, giving the appearance of branching out, yet maintains a round form. The plant has small leaves as well as small flowers. It can be used in larger pots for its dramatic tendency to grow over the pot in a cascade effect. Some of the names you’ll discover when shopping for this great garden border plant include, Radicans Cape Jasmine, Cape Jasmine Radicans and Cape Jessamine Radicans.

  • Zones: 7b to 9
  • Sun: Full to partial
  • Height: 1′ to 2′
  • Spread: 3′ to 4′
  • Water: Drought tolerant, requires little watering
  • Soil: Well drained, tolerates most types of soil
  • Fertilize: Once a year during blooming
  • Prune: Immediately after blooming, spent flowers


Nanu or Na’u (Gardenia brighamii) is a native Hawaiian gardenia that is critically rare as a wild plant. In fact, there are less than 15 to 20 wild plants in existence. This tree like gardenia is also called Forest Gardenia. There are some hybrids often sold as Gardenia brighamii.

Endangered Species

The Gardenia brighamii is on the endangered plant species list. In fact, until 1998, it was illegal to grow this plant. However, this gardenia was allowed to be planted or used as a houseplant when the law was changed.

Gardenia jasminoides

Possibly one of the best known and most popular of all gardenia varieties, Gardenia jasminoides features white flowers. The plant can have single or double blooms, depending on the cultivar. Also known as the Cape Jasmine, the flowers make great cut flowers. Mystery Gardenia is perhaps the best known cultivar with white double blooms 4″ to 5″ wide.

Aimee Yoshioka

Aimee Yoshioka (Gardenia jasminoides) is a cultivar that features lots of 3″ to 5″ wide white flowers. The blooms appear in late spring. It is grown as a hedge, bordering plant or shrub plants.

Belmont Gardenia

Belmont Gardenia (Gardenia jasminoides) is a beautiful cultivar that has large flowers and dark leaves. This gardenia is a great choice for an indoor plant variety. The white flowers are similar to roses in form and shape.

Fortuniana Gardenia

Fortuniana Gardenia (Gardenia jasminoides) is unique because it has double blooms that resemble carnations. The bloom are between 3″ to 4″ wide. This gardenia is often selected for a houseplant. It’s often called the corsage gardenia for its showy flower and fragrance.

Golden Magic Gardenia

Golden Magic cultivar (Gardenia jasminoides) features beautiful yellow double blooms that are 2″ to 3″ wide. This dramatic gardenia begins with white buds that bloom and then mature to a creamy yellow hue.

  • Zones: 8 to 11
  • Sun: Full or partial, prefers full sun
  • Height: 2′ to 3′
  • Spread: 2′ to 3′
  • Water: Moderate, keep soil moist
  • Soil: Well-drained, most types of soil
  • Fertilize: Once a month in March, June/July and October
  • Prune: Cut back spent blooms

Choosing From Gardenia Varieties

Gardenia varieties ensure you can find one or perhaps more varieties to fit your landscaping design. With this beautiful plant, you will enjoy its natural perfume all during the blooming season.

A prolific bloomer with large, sweetly fragrant, elegant white flowers contrasted by deep green foliage; a wonderful garden accent plant that also makes a fine hedge; water more often in extreme heat.

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Species: jasminoides

Plant Height: 60 in.

Spread: 36 in.

Evergreen: Yes

Plant Form: upright spreading

Summer Foliage Color: dark green

Minimum Sunlight: partial shade

Maximum Sunlight: full sun

Ornamental Features

August Beauty Gardenia features showy fragrant white flowers at the ends of the branches from early to late summer. The flowers are excellent for cutting. It has dark green foliage. The glossy pointy leaves remain dark green throughout the winter. The fruit is not ornamentally significant.

Landscape Attributes

August Beauty Gardenia is a dense multi-stemmed evergreen shrub with an upright spreading habit of growth. Its average texture blends into the landscape, but can be balanced by one or two finer or coarser trees or shrubs for an effective composition. This is a relatively low maintenance shrub, and should only be pruned after flowering to avoid removing any of the current season’s flowers. It is a good choice for attracting bees and butterflies to your yard. It has no significant negative characteristics. August Beauty Gardenia is recommended for the following landscape applications; Accent Mass Planting General Garden Use

Planting & Growing

August Beauty Gardenia will grow to be about 5 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 3 feet. It has a low canopy, and is suitable for planting under power lines. It grows at a slow rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 30 years. This shrub does best in full sun to partial shade. It does best in average to evenly moist conditions, but will not tolerate standing water. It is not particular as to soil pH, but grows best in rich soils. It is somewhat tolerant of urban pollution. Consider applying a thick mulch around the root zone in winter to protect it in exposed locations or colder microclimates. This is a selected variety of a species not originally from North America.

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