Locations for gardenias in the valley

senore100November 18, 2010

I've got two gardenias planted a couple of weeks ago on the north side of my house. They sit against an east-facing wall and get morning sun only. They have been doing well so far. However, I've heard people say that in the valley, in the summer even the morning sun only will get the gardenias killed, and the best place for them is a full-shade spot. Is there anyone that may share some experiences with gardenias? Thanks a lot!


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The main problem with gardenias is that the alkaline soil kills them even if the heat and sun don't. My dad grew one successfully by sinking a bottomless plastic tub into the ground, amending heavily with peat moss and using an acidic fertilizer. And he shaded it in the summer.

They can also be grown in pots on a shaded patio.

But it's a lot of work for a plant that doesn't like to grow here.

Why gardenias? What feature did you like about them?

    Bookmark   November 19, 2010 at 9:38AM
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judy_b(AZ zone 9)

I agree with Lazy, a lot of work for something that really doesn't appreciate it. Part of their name is jasminoides which means they are jasmine-like. Why not plant a jasmine that doesn't mind growing here? The flowers aren't as big but they smell just as good.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2010 at 2:43PM
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Thanks for the replies, Lazy and Judy!
Actually this is the first time I got my yard landscaped. Really had no idea but was just picking something from HOA's plant list that would like a spot with morning sun only, and gardenias seemed to foot the bill.
Now I am asking the question after the fact... They look pretty nice when they bloom, and I guess I will like the scent as well. But really, I've got no experience with them whatsoever.
Just recently someone told me that for my gardenias to survive I would need to move them into full shade. I do invest a modest amount of time and effort in the plants, but if it turns out to be too much trouble with gardenias, maybe I will replace them with something like roses. But I would really like to find out what I am in for. Thanks!

    Bookmark   November 19, 2010 at 6:11PM
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judy_b(AZ zone 9)

I've had them live long enough to bloom a bit and it was lovely. Maybe yours will be successful!

    Bookmark   November 20, 2010 at 11:04AM
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Hey Judy, what kind of a spot do you have for your gardenias? Or do you move them around in pots? Thanks!

    Bookmark   November 20, 2010 at 8:43PM
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judy_b(AZ zone 9)

I don't have any at this time. I've given up on them. The one that lived the longest was in an east-facing situation with some high shade. I won't try them again. It's a waste of my time and effort. :-(

    Bookmark   November 21, 2010 at 1:21PM
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grant_in_arizona(USDA Z9 Scottsdale AZ)

I love the scent of gardenias, but like the others have mentioned, they are a bit tricky to keep happy in the Phoenix area long term. I have one friend and one neighbor that have had them happy for a few years, and like others have mentioned, they're in containers. The neighbor's plant is in full shade and my friend's plant gets morning (only) sun. They both use a lot of acidifying fertilizer on them (like Miracid which you dissolve in water and then pour onto the plant's foliage and onto the soil). They really don't like the hot dry summer or the alkaline soil here, so containers seem to keep them happiest. If you want to keep your happy long term I'd get some Miracid and possibly some chelated iron too and give them regular doses. I'm surprised a community that has an HOA restriction on plants would have gardenias on their approved list. Hmmmm....

In any case, I do love their scent and I certainly can see why some folks (not me, LOL) would want to go through the extra effort to keep them happy. I do envy folks in the humid South who grow them almost effortlessly.

Good luck and keep us posted!

    Bookmark   November 21, 2010 at 1:45PM
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Thanks for all the info, Judy and Grant! I really appreciate it. Now I know where I stand. Guess I will try to keep them where they are for now and see how they will be doing (looks like I won't tell till the next summer heat wave hits here). Also will make some effort to make the soil more acid for them. Like I said, I have no idea what their scent is like, but I do care more for the blooms.
And well, on a different note...... don't even try to start me on what HOA allows or does not allow us to do around here...... It's been such a pain!

    Bookmark   November 21, 2010 at 3:37PM
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