Help choosing gardenia for a low hedge

nolefan_2006(FL 9a-ish formerly 8b)January 10, 2012

Hello everyone,

We'd like to plant a gardenia hedge along the side borders of our yard and we're looking for advice since we've never attempted to grow gardenia.

We live in Jacksonville, Fl zone 8b. Our front yard faces west and gets full sun essentially the entire day. We do get frosts on the winter. What variety has the best opportunity for thriving as a hedge? How important is it to get a grafted, nematode resistant variety? We've only seen options online. Our local nursery told us to come back in the spring. We've looked at "frost proof" "First love", "everblooming", "mystery", "Chuck Hayes" and "August beauty" .

We're overwhelmed. Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Thank you

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musaboru(Inland Calif.)

Can't comment on the nematode aspect, but I believe Chuck Hayes and Frost Proof may be the better choice. Both have small leaves, are compact and with good growth rate. I find the glossy lanceolate leaves on Frost Proof quite attractive too.

The newer, hardy varieties aren't likely to be available as grafted plants like the old varieties, probably because they can easily be propagated by cuttings. Must be something in the genes...and I find they are much more forgiving (as in they can handle more abuse, over-fertilizing, over-watering, etc.).

You may also want to look into a variety called Crown Jewel Gardenia.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2012 at 12:32AM
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nolefan_2006(FL 9a-ish formerly 8b)

Thank you. I stopped by a local nursery and they gave me bad news. Apparently my west-facing front yard that receives full sun would be inhospitable for gardenias. They told me that they'd burn up. So, I have to find an alternative. They recommended that I consider tea olive (osmanthus fragrans), indian hawthorn, or viburnum suspensum. Oh well! They did recommend that I plant a gardenia on my partially shaded backyard. They recommended Jubilation a southern living plant.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2012 at 10:06AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I don't know that Indian Hawthorn has much of a fragrance at all, and the leaves of the V. suspensum have a foul odor to most people.

I'm glad that you were steered away from the gardenia as a hedge. Not only would that location have been inhospitable, but you would have been plagued with whitefly all year long. "If you have gardenia, THEY will come."

    Bookmark   January 12, 2012 at 1:08PM
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nolefan_2006(FL 9a-ish formerly 8b)

Thank you. I'm not familiar with white fly. It sounds like I may have struck out with v suspensum and Indian hawthorn.
Any thoughts on tea olive? It looks like there are good options for 3-4' tall varieties with nice fragrance.

If I go with the jubilee variety or any other gardeni variety is there anything I can do to prevent white flies?

    Bookmark   January 13, 2012 at 1:58AM
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musaboru(Inland Calif.)

Nolefan, I grow Frost Proof in a container situated in full sun here. I live in a climate where many plants usually can't handle the harsh sun here but can under different climates. The Frost Proof Gardenia does fine in full sun here which was initially quite a surprise to me. Like I said, there is something in the genes with the newer varieties that makes them tougher than the older varieties (mystery, august beauty, belmont, etc). Perhaps you may want to trial some Frost Proof, Kleim's Hardy, or Chuck Hayes gardenias there with a couple starter plants. I'm not an expert, but if Frost Proof can take full sun here...

    Bookmark   January 15, 2012 at 11:49AM
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tea olive can grow to 20'+!
confederate jasmine can make a nice hedge. there is a post on this forum about it used that way, with pictures (in italy, i think).
pittosporum might work for you. there is a dwarf form, too.
i think prague viburnum might be a better choice for an evergreen hedge for your location. if you want a tall hedge, viburnum nudum is very nice.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2012 at 11:39AM
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Mystery and First Love are large plants. They can grow to 6' easily. For a natural hedge, get the more popular "August Beauty". It is an excellent upright hedge plant.

Chuck Hayes and Frost Proof are more hardier, but I do not see hardiness is an issue with your weather.

I do not know what is the problem with full sun. I used to grow like 8 varieties of gardenia in DFW area and I did not have any problem growing them outdoors. They were planted in the North and West in the open area. They were also planted in the backyard in partial shade. All had no problem, what so ever. Not white flies at all...

    Bookmark   June 1, 2012 at 10:59PM
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nolefan_2006(FL 9a-ish formerly 8b)

Delayed follow up. I planted a ton of gardenias. Different varieties in different locations, just to see how they'd do. Lowe's and Home Depot had a sale and I got them for about $3 a piece.

5 August beauty in my east facing back yard. They're thriving. Even though I'm overwatering new sod...

1 grafted Miami supreme in the west facing but heavily shaded front yard (along the south side of it). Surprisingly it has survived four months so far despite strong shade and my poor planting practices. I played something fierce with the rootball when I planted it to make sure it wasn't root bound. My wife later told me that the instructions said not to disturb the rootball for fear of killing the plant...

1 veitchii there too. Living. Looks good.

1 mystery there too. Ditto.

1 frost proof. Ditto.

1 radicans Ditto. I expect it to be the first to go when the others grow over it...

I don't actually have room for most of the ones I bought. The 5 August Beauties have a great location as a backyard foundation planting. The others... well, I stuck them in the only patch of dirt left... just to see if they'd live and how'd they do. So far, no white flies but this is Florida and inevitable. I used horticultural oil on them to prevent anything.

We have opted not to replace the hedge in the front yard. We had varigated ptisporum on the north side of the property line and unvarigated pitisporum on the south side... previous homeowner had interesting taste... it looked horrible.

We ripped that all out, cleaned up the yard and installed emerald zoysia sod instead. Yard looks much neater now. Huge improvement.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2012 at 6:57AM
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