When summer is approaching and the gardenias are blooming, the heat of a slightly balmy evening heightens the sweet sensuous fragrance. I don’t know why, but I think the best perfumed flowers are white in colour, like for examples Jasmine and Tuberose.
Gardenia is native to the tropics and subtropics of Africa, southern Asia, Australasia and Oceania. In Indonesia it is called kaca piring. There are approximately 250 species of gardenia and they belong to the coffee family Rubiaceae.
The name Gardenia came from a Scottish American naturalist, Dr. Alexander Garden.
Most gardenias are milky white that will become yellowish by age, while few species are real yellow. The most common varieties grown here in Australia are from two different species: G.augusta and G. thunbergia.
The most popular Gardenia augusta species are Florida, Aimee Yoshiba, Magnifica, Fortuniana , Prof. Pucci, Golden Magic and the prostate dwarf variety is Radicans. These species have attractive deep green foliage with double flowers.Gardenia thunbergia is also known as star gardenia which has single petals. This species originally found in South Africa and it is also known as wild gardenia of forest gardenia.
Gardenias grow best in warmer, moderate and humid climate. It hates frost and cold temperature. Can be grown in partly shade area for hotter climate or in moderate climate it will be happy to be in full sun. The soil has to be rich and well drain. As gardenia tend to lose traces elements in soil (yellowing of the leaves), it is good to apply a complete fertilizer which contains major trace elements. Once the plants are established, they only need to be fully watered once every forth night.
Gardenias are prone to have problems with scales and mealy bugs so regular spray of white oil will help to keep these bugs away.
If you love white flowers and you enjoy the sweet sensation of lingering fragrance in your garden or verandas, gardenia will certainly fill this purpose. As gardenias will continue to bloom from late Spring to Autumn, the beautiful scents of this versatile flowers will greet you for longer time.
This is an old song by The Deans with the title “Little White Gardenia” 🙂 The gardenias always remind me of this song…….