Longish Gardenia Photo Post with Some Basic Breeding Questions

tnangelaMarch 9, 2008

Ok, back in the 1970's my grandparents had a house in the Jersey Pike area of Hwy 58 in Chattananooga, TN that had one of those old classic looking 6' round, thickly green gardenia bushes that had to have been alive forever and bloomed reliably and profusely as a foundation planting. 30 years later, I have settled down enough to want to re-create old memories and am wanting that same bush but have not found a variety matching it. My first gardenia attempts were the normal florist varieties that would not survive the winter around here...I killed three or four gardenias this way.

My first successful gardenia was 'Mystery'. It's advertised as a jasminoides variety. So I've had it for some years, but it's not exactly what I remember as what a gardenia should be. Sure, it's seven, eight or so years old and 6' tall. But it is NOT round and full but rather tall and lanky and thin.

My second oldist variety is what was sold only as a radicans. It is only about 8" tall but has survived and flowered and even fruited for me...it just don't get big. I haven't really thought that much for it because it doesn't quite fit my expectations for a gardenia either...although it does survive well here. (I haven't bothered growing its' fruits yet.)

Daisy came next. She's advertised as a radicans also...but looks like a jasminoides to me. She's barely a foot tall but blooms profusely with single blooms.

This leads me to my first question. What are the differences between the two species 'Gardenia Jasminoides' and 'Gardenia Radicans'? How do you tell the two apart?

There is a reason for this question. I attempted to cross my gardenias two years ago and went from 'Mystery' to 'Daisy' to 'Radicans' and then BACK to 'Daisy' and then 'Mystery' with a q-tip and was successful growing the resulting fruit from Daisy last year. I technically wanted a Mystery x Daisy cross, but suspect that I'm growing Daisy x "unknown radicans" seedlings. As both the Daisy and the radicans are dwarfs, I would expect the resulting seedlings to be small also (if this is indeed the cross that I suspect it is).

This leads me to my second question. Are Gardenia Jasminoides and Gardenia Radicans interspecific compatible?

This holds significance for me. I have since obtained a 'Chuck Hayes' gardenia (that is advertised as a jasminoides) that I'm hoping may be compatible with 'Mystery'. But so far, although cold hardy, it wants to bloom in early winter.

I have also obtained 'Frost Proof' which is (mostly) advertised as a 'jasminoides' but looks strongly like what I would consider to be a 'Radicans'.

My daisy seedlings sprouted July 24; All at once (and during an extended chemtrail induced drought)- almost a full year later after planting the fruit outside in Oct(?). I think this is significant because it suggests to me that they were a timed germination rather than being cold stratified during the winter. If indeed, the species is from Africa, I would guess gardenia germination is timed to monsoonal rains (or lack thereof) somehow rather than being winter cold stratified.

I pricked out and potted most of the seedlings but this picture holds significance for me. It doesn't look like much, but I planted this one seedling out in the yard as a control. It survived its very first winter outside (un-tended) being only a few months old. I did not expect it to survive winter at all being so little. I also attempted to grow another control seedling inside under artificial lights. I expected it to survive. It failed. So now I know they're better off outside than inside, and most excitingly cold hardy.

All the rest came inside to a south-facing window during the harder freezes (below 20 or so)...this winter at least.

October of last year.

Now. They haven't grown noticeably but they are developing buds to start second year growth- and are already root bound. I'm going to have to transplant to 1 gallon pots here soon.

Can anyone suggest to me the one Gardenia variety that I'm looking for- thick and full and round and large and floriferous and cold hardy...an older variety? Chuck Hayes comes closest to matching my expectations (that I can remember), but it hasn't bloomed reliably enough for me yet to be 'The One'- and it is only 3' tall so far.

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snasxs(7-8 VA)

Hey your seedlings are lovely. Do you not need to graft them? I think gardenia roots are easily killed by canker.

All your gardenias are the same species gardenia jasminoides. The same species can look different. They are given all kinds of cultivar and commercial names.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2008 at 7:58PM
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"Can anyone suggest to me the one Gardenia variety that I'm looking for- thick and full and round and large and floriferous and cold hardy"

And can I have one, too? ;>)

Seriously, Gardenia nomenclature is almost as bad as jasminum's; as far as I know (somebody shut me up if I'm wrong) augusta, jasminoides and radicans are all varieties of the same species, with augusta being the largest in leaf and flower, jasminoides being smaller and more compact, and radicans for prostrate growers.

How full and lush they look, and how tightly they grow, and of course how well they flower, has a lot to do with cultivation, which, we all know, is a pain in the grass.

Gardenias that are young, without extensive root systems, or that are in a bad site (poor drainage, alkaline soil, nematodes, insufficient light, bad karma, evil feng shui, cursed juju, etc.) will grow leggy and not bloom well, and plants that get all of the above right, with luck, will be all that we dream of . . .

You may want to web search for "old-fashioned" varieties like Augusta Beauty and Belmont; nurseries in South Carolina and Florida usually carry a number of cultivars and can help with cultural advice for their areas as well.

good luck with the new seedlings!


    Bookmark   March 12, 2008 at 11:43AM
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