hatrickk289(6b)March 13, 2013

I'm a real zone pusher. However, I'm close to calling it quits with Gardenias. I've tried Chuck Hayes, didn't work out. I've tried Crown Jewel, didn't work out. This year I'm going to give it one more shot. I'm going to try the Crown Jewel again, and (if I can get my hands on one) a Summer Snow Gardenia. And it MUST stay in the ground year round... Anyone have any experience, whatsoever, with Gardenias? Or at least see one growing in their neighborhood?

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bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)

I have "Frostproof" in my garden. I've had it for about five years. The first three years it was in a corner where a stone wall and a timber wall met. The first couple of years I buried it in some leaves but that's all. Two years ago I had some major changes to the whole garden, and it had to be moved. I didn't give it any more protection for the past two winters. Last summer it had about twenty blooms. I didn't protect it this year either and so far it looks fine.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 5:30AM
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carol6ma_7ari(zones 6 & 7a)

Hmmm... time for a visit to Logee's? And is this where you zone-pushers are getting your semi-tropicals? Only 75 miles from me, and I think it'd be a fun trip.


    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 9:10AM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

I can't resist posting this old thread, from California I think:

So you want to grow a gardenia, huh? (also known as the infamous suicidal gardenia thread)


    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 10:33AM
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Logees is about 130 miles for me Carol! Its unfortunate that a Gardenia to be hardy to our zone has been bred, meanwhile I've contacted several nurseries, they are either sold out or do not supply it. However I can't tell you the number of wholesalers who do, and only several were helpful with my on going search. Summer Snow Gardenia better live up to its name.. that is if I can ever obtain one! Bill, I noticed you are capable of growing Camellias with no problem (never mind a gardenia), maybe you should be zone 7a.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 2:50PM
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bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)

The Camellias I grow are all rated for zone 6. But we have not really had a true zone 6 winter here in Providence since maybe 2003. I don't recall any time since then when I've had temperatures lower than about +6. But two of my Camellias have been in the ground before 2003 and are doing fine. 'April Blush did suffer some dieback in 2003-2004 winter but recovered completely after one season of growth.

To all re: Gardenia. I am growing Gardenia 'Frostproof". I had it in one spot for three years, the first two years with just a few leaves over it. Then I had to move it in spring 2011 because of all the construction. It did OK that summer, but last year (2012) it had the most blooms ever. I gave it no protection. And right now it looks OK, but there seems to be a little burn. I will update as the season progresses. I did get it at Logee's, which is definitely worth a trip for those who have never been there. They have some very unusual items. They are, in my opinion, overpriced, but some items aren't easily found elsewhere. And they are very knowledgeable. For those who can't drive there, they ship plants no problem.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 3:59PM
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Hi Bill,

you have a great microclimate with those temps.....likely since your on the side of a hill and cold air can't pool. I'm on 'flat land'....we dropped below 0F two times this winter with -2.9F the coldest I recorded.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 12:55PM
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tree_oracle(z6b MA)

I've tried the Gardenia experiment and failed miserably. I don't think of them as zone-pushing as much as luck if they survive. I mean no offense to you, Bill by saying that. I'm very impressed with your gardens and you are clearly an excellent gardener. But you really haven't had a winter in some time like you are capable of having in your zone. I think the first one that you do have is going to burn that Gardenia of yours down to the ground. But, hey you've already gotten five years out of it. That makes it worth taking a chance.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 6:39AM
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bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)

Yes being on a slope the cold air doesn't pool. And being in the city helps too.

Tree oracle-
Gardenia 'Frostproof' is rated for zone 6 by Logee's. I don't know where they got the information about this, nor who tested the hardiness. I do know, however, that Logee's is generally conservative about hardiness, and not prone to making wild statements about their plants. I suppose that time will tell how well this plant survives (or not). One good thing is that with each passing year that it thrives, it will be larger and better able to survive a more typical zone 6 winter, should we get one. I wish more people were willing to try new things. All gardeners can benefit from anyone's success and we can expand our plant base, and there's nothing wrong with that.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 7:20AM
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If in my front yard I am able to grow a traditional Azalea with no problem, do you think a Crown Jewel will survive? I plan on protecting it the first year or two.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2013 at 4:00PM
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My zone 6 A near Worcester, MA. I will plant my newly acquired Frostproof this season. I justed repotted it. It's growing well in the house for now.

It'll be planted near the south/west facing foundation of my house. We'll see if it will survive this winter. It'll definitely be protected at least for the first winter.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2013 at 8:41PM
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bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)

Mamuang, I would definitely give it that protected spot near the house. My "Frostproof" is fine, although there are some damaged leaves, but I think that's more physical damage from the weight of snow rather than damage from cold. My camellias had no damage whatsoever and bloomed like crazy in April. Rosemary "Arp" and "Barbecue" suffered some breakage from the heavy snow, but mostly they are fine and are covered with flowers right now. Even my windmill palm is sending up new leaves. Crape myrtle is leafing out now and looks fine. So despite all the snow last winter, things are looking good.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2013 at 3:46AM
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Thanks for the tips, Bill.

How tall is your Frostproof, please? I want to make sure I give it enough space away from the foundation.

It's amazing that you can grow camellia and crape myrtle. I guess, if the global warming continues, I might be able to grow them too, in, maybe, 10 years!!!

    Bookmark   May 26, 2013 at 8:13AM
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rockman50(6b SEMASS)

There are many varieties of crape myrtle that are hardy to -5, -8, and even -12 according to field tests conducted in PA. So those particular varieties of Crape Myrtle could be more widely planted in southern most New England, particularly in the urban areas which are always warmer at night. I have a large Muskogee crape (hardy to 0 to -5). It seems to be happy although the bloom quality seems more dependent on summer conditions rather than winter conditions. I have attached a chart of Crape hardiness.

Here is a link that might be useful: Crape Myrtle hardiness chart

    Bookmark   May 26, 2013 at 10:58AM
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bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)

Mamuang, my Frostproof is just about 2 ft x 2 ft. It's just showing some new growth buds now, so I expect it will gain 6 inches this season, maybe a bit more.

My Crape Myrtle is "Pink Velour" and shows no damage at all.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2013 at 1:13PM
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Thank you Bill and Rockman for the info.

I will tackle one thing at a time. Right now it's to plant Frostproof and keep it alive through this coming winter.

I also try my hand on planting hardy pomegranate outdoors for the first time, too. Actually, that's two things!!!

Crepe Myrtle and camillia have to wait!!

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 8:41PM
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