Gardenia for Pacific NW?

vissara(8 OR)February 4, 2011

I know, I know, starting to grow Gardenias is crazy... but I only want ONE....

We are at the top end of zone 8, summers tend to be relatively dry, but far from arid. Spring, Fall and Winter are very very wet.

I was thinking of trying Mystery. Any comments/suggestions would be welcome.

I have already tried Kliem's Hardy and given it up as a bad job, it didn't die (well, 'til I killed it)or suffer from health/pest problems but the blooms were small and rare and not very fragrant.

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kemistry(8 - Oregon)

I grow Frostproof in pots and they are doing great. I believe they are cold hardy to zone 6 with protection so they should do fine here in Oregon.
The scent is beautiful; it isn't overpowering that it would give you a headache like the regular Gardenia and it's strong enough to waft in the air at night. One bloom could scent up a small room.

They are ones of my vigorous plants and I haven't seen bugs bothering them yet.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 12:33AM
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vissara(8 OR)

I have a lot of other frangrant plants in the yard (confederate jasmine, honeysuckle, lilac, roses, lavender, four o'clocks,nicotiana) from reading online it didn't sound like a single Frostproof plant could hold it's own in that company. It sounds like you are confiming this?

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 11:49PM
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kemistry(8 - Oregon)

Frostproof is less fussy, more cold hardy, a compact and attractive plant. The flowers aren't as showy or strongly fragrant like those tree Gardenias but that doesn't mean it's a lesser plant. I prefer Frostproof over any of the other cultivars, but that's just me.
If I have space though I would overload myself with tuberose, which to me has a much finer scent than Gardenia or Jasmine sambac, and the fragrance is incredibly strong at night.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 12:55AM
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kemistry(8 - Oregon)

While you are at it, look into Michelia Figo (Banana Shrub) and Osmanthus Fragrans (Sweet Tea Olive) as well. Both of these plants should be zone-8 hardy.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 1:05AM
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vissara(8 OR)

It sounds like our our taste in plants may be dead opposites lol. I agree with you that tuberose is fantastic, although I mostly use it in pots so it doesn't get lost in flowerbeds.

'Showy' and 'Strongly Fragrant' are pretty much my top two qualifications. A plant can be as fussy as it wants if it is a showstopper.

My sister had a Sweet Tea Olive for a while, and while the scent it beautiful the flowers did nothing for me and I am not a fan of foliage plants at all.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 2:12AM
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kemistry(8 - Oregon)

Ah I see! :) I'm more into fragrance than showy appearance so I hope someone else could chime in with the suggestions.

I like the look of First Love (Aimee) but I'm not sure how hardy it is. Mystery could too, we don't know 'til we try right? Happy gardening! :)

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 3:30AM
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i grow 'mystery' and consider it (the shrub and flowers) to be the most beautiful in form of the ones that i grow. it grows to become and 8' rounded shrub here and blooms around memorial day. the flowers are large and very fragrant and the foliage is large,dark, shiny green. our summers can be hot and dry and winters rather mild and wet. i give my gardenia plants shade from the hot afternoon sun and they seem to appreciate it. the flowers last longer, anyway. acidic soil conditions should be provided or the leaves will yellow.
you might also consider 'august beauty' if you want a more upright shrub. it will also rebloom moderately in late summer/early fall and the flowers/leaves are smaller than those of 'mystery'.
they all don't seem to mind pruning if your space is limited.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2011 at 5:07PM
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vissara(8 OR)

Thanks Jeff,
I went ahead and ordered "Mystery" tonight. From what you day it sounds like a good match for my yard. It sounds like our summer/winter conditions are similar and acidic soil certainly isn't a problem...

    Bookmark   February 8, 2011 at 2:29AM
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wynswrld98(z7 WA)

I can discredit the comment above about Frost Proof Gardenia being hardy in zone 6. I'm in zone 7, planted five of them and 95% of leaves on them are now black and I'm guessing they're dead. I do love the scent of Frost Proof Gardenia, did get to smell them blooming when I bought them last summer but they can't even handle our zone 7 winter!

    Bookmark   February 22, 2011 at 10:52PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Mine froze this winter also, here close to Puget Sound (but up above it). You are probably actually in USDA 8 as well, but it makes no difference in this case of this plant.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2011 at 9:32PM
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vissara(8 OR)

Thank you both, can you tell me if they were first year plants? I had planned on some winter protection (a cloche or something similiar) for at least the first year.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2011 at 9:57PM
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littlesmokie(Portland z8)

This is a helpful thread...just giving it a bump for any other comments as I'm also wondering whether these plants that died were young/given any protection ...

    Bookmark   May 18, 2011 at 1:20AM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

Mystery isn't going to make it outside in the PNW, my Kleim's Hardy is barely alive. It is not new, three years I've limped it along. It freezes to the ground every year and only bloomed the first.

We do not have the heat and sun they need to thrive like they do have in the South. USDA climate zones only take cold into account so plants that thrive in GA and NC zone 8 or even 7 often don't here.

I grow gardenias here but in my heated greenhouse...

    Bookmark   May 18, 2011 at 11:49AM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

If you want Gardenia strength fragrance without the fuss plant Daphne odora and cneroum. :)

    Bookmark   May 18, 2011 at 11:50AM
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