What have I gotten myself into, Gardenia

shesjrMay 26, 2006

Ok, I received a gardenia for Mother's day this year. I have no idea which variety but the fowers are very small and tight with many petals. I live in the Chicago IL area.

The gardenia is special to me because it was my dear sweet mothers favorite flower. On the Mothers day before her passing when my brother was pinning her corsage onto her (always a gardenia by the way) she told him that when she dies she wants to be buried in a blanket of gardenias. She passed 4 weeks later. So just for her we had a blanket of gardenias made to drape over her casket. It was the most spectacular thing anyone has ever seen or smelled.

So this beautiful smell will forever remind me of her...and this flower will always have a special place in my heart.

Now onto my questions...

I have it in a pot. I placed the pot inside another pot and put it onto my garden bed in full sun all day long. The summers here are very hot and humid. Should it be removed from the full sun spot? I thought they needed full sun but I am reading here and some say part sun and then shade in afternoon. Can I plant it in the ground? If so do I need to dig it up and bring it in before frost or can I leave it there covered? Will it bloom again in spring then? I was told to water it with a preparation of water and vinegar, one gallon water to one teasp. of household vinegar. Also what I read said put the pot into another pot of gravel and keep the gravel 1/2 inch full of water for humidity.

I guess I am looking for facts on growing this both outside and inside. There are two different locations inside my house that gets sun, one between 7:30 am to about 9:00 am and the other location the sun shines between 1:00 pm and 3:30 pm. Outside there are way more options for sun exposure and that is why I considered moving it outside for summer.

Also, the fact sheet I have explains a regiment for forcing bud growth. A cycle of feeding, sunshine during the days and moving to cool dark locations at night. Upon first bud, stop feeding and just water with the acid water solution I mentioned above. Sigh...I'm tired already. Any help or suggestions are greatly appreciated.

Janice

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chowmom(z5 IL)

I'm by no means an expert, so someone will probably be able to give you better advice. But here's what works for me. I also live in the Chicago area. I got a small (8" pot) gardenia from Home Depot three years ago. It's now three feet tall and three feet wide. (I'm looking for a new home for it, by the way.)

I have it planted in one of those light weight pots. It spends summers outside in afternoon sun with me watering it every couple of days or so. There's a regular saucer under the pot. Winters, I bring it inside and keep it in the guestroom that has the brightest light -- faces west, but the plant doesn't get direct light. I mist it every day to combat the furnace and water it about every other. Once the danger of a hard frost is passed, I take it back outside. It stays evergreen and sets flower buds each spring without me doing anything with the lighting.

Had one bout with scale, which I hand picked off of it. Two winters ago had a pretty bad aphid infestation. Used insecticidal soap, had some leaf drop, but the plant did beautifully.

I feed her when I remember, certainly not on any regular schedule! A couple of days ago, my entire yard smelled like heaven.

Seriously, she's getting too large for me and I'd like to see her go to a good home...

Good luck!

    Bookmark   May 27, 2006 at 7:21PM
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ankraras(8/9AZ)

Chowmom z5 IL ;- Would you consider trimming it down to the size that you could easily handle or would you
truly prefer to part with that lovely Gardenia?

    Bookmark   May 27, 2006 at 8:11PM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

You definately need to bring it in for winter in Chicago. Covering it isn't going to cut it. Summer outside is good. Whether or not it can take full sun in Chicago, I don't know.

Personally, I would use MirAcid fertilizer rather than vinegar. Never heard of using vinegar to acidify soils in twenty plus years of gardening.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2006 at 9:23PM
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