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Gardenia - pot or ground

Posted by jyoung_tn 7 (My Page) on
Thu, May 18, 06 at 0:10

My wife received a gardenia plant from our son on Mother's day in a cute litte pot. Now my question is should I repot it in a larger pot and set it outside until winter or should I put it in the ground on the southeast side of the house where it will get morning sun. The kicker is what happens to me if I choose wrong and the darn plant dies?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Gardenia - pot or ground

I bought a couple of tiny gardenia plants (from Walmart) and, not knowing better, planted them on the southeast side of the house...4 years later I have 2 six foot gardenias that bloom profusely. I have to cover them during the winter, when the snow and ice threaten to kill them, and they are in need of a trim (which I have no idea how to do), but other than that I do nothing to them. I probably should, but I don't really know what I should do, and am just beginning to look into it...most of the "care" tips about Gardenias are re: indoor, potted gardenias. The outdoor planting was well worth it...even if they don't make it....

RE: Gardenia - pot or ground

  • Posted by jimshy z7 Brooklyn, NY (My Page) on
    Mon, May 22, 06 at 11:22


you've got a gardenia jasminoides, which is not hardy in zone 7. Take a look at the roots by gently sliding the pot off, and if they're all over the outside of the rootball, put it in a slightly larger pot with a light, well-draining mix, and put a layer of bark chips, plastic packing peanuts or sharp gravel on the bottom to help the pot drain and keep the roots cool and moist, but not soggy.


I'd wait until the current flush of flowers is over, and then prune back where they need it -- Shoots that stick out to far, stems that criss-cross other stems, or anything looking leggy or unsightly. If the plant is healthy, gardenias can be pruned back, but don't need or want too hard a chopping.
Some fertilizer for acid-loving plants can help, but don't overdo it; better a mild fertilizer than too strong. It sounds like they're in a good, protected space, so let's hope they keep making it through winters!


RE: Gardenia - pot or ground

Thank you for the tips! I will do that, and hopefully they will flourish!

RE: Gardenia - pot or ground

I love this site, just joined today. Like the OP, I too received a realitavely large thriving gardenia for mother's day this year. It has given me three beautiful flowers already and has several more closed buds. I kept it in the house for one week and just today, I placed it, pot and all into my garden, full sun pretty much all day long. I did not re-pot it, I left it in it's original pot and put that pot into a larger pot which sits right on my garden floor.

I live in the Chicago IL area. Could I could put it into the ground and leave it there? If so which exposure would be best for it? Or should I keep it in the pot? From what I have read, I learned that you either have it or you don't when it comes to successfully growing gardenias. I have zillions of questions guys, bear with me.

RE: Gardenia - pot or ground

shesjr - that particular gardenia is not hardy in your area. You can keep them in a pot and as long as you make sure it has humidity around it and you don't forget to water, you should hopefully be able to grow it okay. They can be tricky and there have been many threads over the years here about the trials and tribulations of gardenias - mostly when inside growing - so check around and you might find some helpful suggestions. I think the FAQ here has a repost of the infamous "Suicidal Gardenia" thread from back in '99 that might offer some help. LOL

RE: Gardenia - pot or ground

I live in sunny South Africa and have a gardenia outside in a pot. She is quite big now.
The pot is about 1,2m high and the plant is about 1,4m high and very happy Can I carrrry on like this or will the plant over the years become potbound Can i prune it back
It is so heavy and big now it will be an enourmous task to place it in an even bigger pot.

RE: Gardenia - pot or ground

Chris, you may want to start your own discussion.

RE: Gardenia - pot or ground

Shesjr, it is almost always a disaster to put a plant directly into full sun from indoors. Any plant should have at least a one week acclimation from in to outside-- starting with maybe 15 minutes of sun on the 1st day, and gradually increasing the sun exposure over a week or two. Otherwise, the leaves and even the newer stems will burn badly, and the plant will be seriously set back.

No way your gardenia will live thru the winter in Chicago outdoors. Keep it in a pot.

Chris in SA-- Leave it in its present pot. You can put a little fresh potting soil on the top to freshen the soil a little. It may get pot bound, but you can probably deal with that with a thick mulch and more frequent watering.

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