gardenia propagation

katselaJuly 28, 2007

I've got a giant gardenia in my back yard and I am interested in learning how to propagate it. Not sure what kind it is, just that it is over 8 feet tall. It blooms from mid June til about late July. Can somebody show me the steps to making babies?



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Nothing to it Kat. Just take some cuttings and stick them in a pot of dirt. Gardenias are so easy to propagate. Some people even stick the cuttings in a glass of water and they will grow roots there. I just find it easier to root them in dirt.


    Bookmark   July 29, 2007 at 4:52AM
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agree with betty but would also say to keep the container of soil moist and move to a shaded area to discourage the cuttings from wilting. in zone 8, i left the containers outside all winter and they were rooted by the following spring. you may want to protect the cuttings from cold in a zone 7 winter by moving to a porch, garage or other frost-free area.
if you do not have success with them this year(might be getting too late in the growing season), take cuttings earlier next year, say early to mid-june.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2007 at 10:29AM
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donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)

It's not too late, but it IS time to get at it!

Gardenias are one of the easiest plants to propagate, but I remember how it felt to be told "easy" when I was just starting out. So, here it is step by step. (Forgive me if this is more than you wanted.) It's true that you can root gardenia cuttings in water. And it's also true that you can do it without the rubbermaid box that I describe. But this is the easiest, most foolproof way that I have found.

1 Fill some pots with potting soil, packing the soil in firmly. (I like about a quart pot that's not too big in diameter, but is as deep as possible. This gives you a good root run without taking up too much space or soil at first.)
2 Take a skewer or ice pick and "drill" a hole into the soil in the center of the pots.
3. Take cuttings from your bush. Cut from the tips of branches with nice healthy looking leaves. You want each cutting to have at least 2 or 3 sets of leaves on it. It is perfectly okay to take a long cutting from one branch and then cut it into the three leave sections. Just be sure to keep track of the bottom and top of each section. The bottom must always go into the soil, the top must always point toward the sun.
4. Cut the bottom set/s of leaves off the stem cutting, leaving one or two sets of leaves at the top
5. Stick the cutting into the hole you drilled, stopping when the top leaves are resting just on top of the soil.
6 Water. Water. Water, until you see water coming out the drain holes of the pot.
7. Let the pots drain until there's no more coming out of the bottom: about 10 minutes usually. (This is VERY important.)
8. Place your pots of cuttings on top of the lid of a Rubbermaid storage container (clear plastic).
9. Turn the box part upside down and place it over the pots, forming a dome.

  1. You should see humidity begin to collect on the inside of the dome almost immediately. Put the whole "mini greenhouse" in the shade (a porch is perfect). Leave the lid in place, although it's quite alright to peek occasionally until your cuttings are rooted. With Gardenias this can be as soon as 10 days to 2 weeks. You won't have to water or anything while your plants are under the dome.
  2. Remove the dome when you see new leaves beginning to form on the tops of your cuttings. Then water and fertilize as you would any potted plant.
  3. When you see roots starting to come out the bottom of your pots, pot the plants up into bigger containers. (1 gallon if you are going to leave it in the pot for a year or less. 3 gallon pot if you're going to grow it longer.)
  4. I would recommend that you keep your plants in pots through the first winter, just because they're so small, that you could lose some of them. But if that's not an option, put them into very well prepared soil this fall as the temperatures begin to fall. Most of them will make it.
    Bookmark   August 1, 2007 at 10:23PM
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great advice donna:)
what kind of fertilizer do you use. and what do you do to prevent the roots from tangling?

    Bookmark   August 28, 2007 at 3:10PM
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donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)

I top dress my beds each fall or spring with about 1-2 inches of compost or composted manure. ($1.29 per 40 pound bag at Lowe's or Wal-mart) If things act like they need a pick me up (rarely), I give them a drink of Fish Emulsion.
I'm not sure I understand what you mean about roots tangling. When I pot up rooted cuttings I treat them just like I would a start from the garden center. I remove the root ball, potting soil and all, from the starter container and put it into a larger container.
Now if you are talking about when plants get potbound from staying in their containers too long, I take my fingers and tease the roots out from the sides of the ball if they are fine roots. If the roots are large and obviously wrapping themselves around and around the ball, I take a knife and score the ball about 1/8 - 1/4 inch deep around the sides of the ball and gently pull the cut part open a bit so that roots can find their way out of the ball and into the soil.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2007 at 10:01AM
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Are the cuttings like when you propagate roses, an upside down "T" or like ivy, a stick with lower leaves removed? I'm very interested in snagging some clippings off a bush but don't want to ask and than kill what I recieve. Can you help me?

    Bookmark   January 26, 2008 at 7:51PM
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donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)

The conventional wisdom is to start cuttings from broadleaf evergreens (which a gardenia is) in the summer: from about mid June on to late August or so). I have never started them in the winter, but you have nothing to lose if you want to try.
When you take your cuttings, look for healthy tips of branches with stems about the size of a pencil. You want to take a piece that has three or four sets of leaves on it. Cut the bottom two or three sets off next to the stem and then stick them in the soil.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2008 at 9:48AM
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Hi, will the cuttings grow true if taken from a grafted gardenia?

    Bookmark   December 5, 2010 at 8:41AM
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