Gardenia Augusta Florida is an evergreen shrub, characterized by glossy green foliage with very fragrant white flowers, which come on display during the months between Novembers to May. Such excellent features make it the best choice for garden specimens, hedges, borders or pot plants on terraces and balconies.
In order to get the best from this exquisite plant, you’ll first need to know all that is required to take excellent care of it.
The Federal University of Pernambuco indicates that Gardenia belongs to a genus within about 250 flowering plant species of the Rubiaceae family. This is a plant native to Japan, china and the Pacific Islands. Such regions possess warm temperate climates.
Gardenia Florida has the capacity to grow up to 8 feet, but you will mostly find it reaching about 6 feet. Perhaps, its most interesting aspect is its fragrant white flowers. The fragrance of these flowers should not be underestimated: just one flower can fill an entire room with a luscious scent. However, you will have to wait until mid spring to late summer for such a fragrant bloom.
It’s beautiful and rich evergreen foliage is also another captivating aspect. This factor, combined with the rich fragrance makes it a good choice for screens, borders, hedges and ground covers. To ensure that these superb features are maintained throughout the plant life, you should observe certain critical conditions.
Observing the most ideal growing conditions will guarantee the best results. Firstly, you should only plant in well conditioned soils that contain compost and peat moss. Such soils should have a pH between 5 to 6. Obviously, you would have to feed your plant regularly. This involves application of a rhododendron-azalea food during 3-week intervals.
Also ensure, not to cultivate around the plant, which can easily damage its shallow roots. Instead, use mulching of 2 to 3 inches of sawdust, wood chips or ground bark, which will prevent weeds and maintain cool, moist soils.
A 1991 fact sheet by the Florida Cooperative Extension Service indicates that proper temperature is the most critical aspect for your evergreen plant to bloom. This means that the day temperatures should not be higher than 70 degrees Fahrenheit, whereas night temperatures should range from 60 degrees Fahrenheit to 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Therefore, the ideal temperature would be: 65 – 70 degrees Fahrenheit in the daytime and 60 – 62 degrees Fahrenheit during the night. Any deviations from such temperatures would mean that flower buds won’t form.
Pruning will help produce an even more appealing look. However, you should keep it at a minimum. You should also do so only when the plant is in a dormant state. Doing this, will aid healing of wounded stems during periods that the plant actively growing. This will also allow for good flower growth during the next year. You can even create a heavier bloom just by pinching out the tips.
Special fertilizer application is needed during the following spring after pruning. You would have to apply an acidic fertilizer containing high nitrogen and chaplet iron. This will ensure healthy production of leaves and buds.