Gardenia… one of Sydney’s most loved plants.A good garden should reflect your lifestyle.
A great garden can improve it!
One of the most-loved plants in Sydney is the gardenia, and the most-asked question in the past 20 years is: how do I stop my gardenia leaves from going yellow? Second to that is: why don’t my gardenias flower?
Well it’s not that hard to have amazing gardenias. It’s a bit like a having a pet dog. If you start with some simple training, your dog is a lot easier to look after and then more enjoyable, which in turn means you spend more time with it and then it becomes easier.
Then you have a dog that everyone loves. It’s the same with gardenias. If you plant them in a well-drained fertile soil with a nice organic mulch, feed then, water them and give them a hair cut after flowering, your friends and family will think you are a guru in the garden.
What gardenias love
They are subtropical so they love the sun for six hours a day. If you can protect them from hot afternoon sun, even better.
Moist, well-drained soil.
Add Dynamic Lifter to the bottom of the hole when planting.
Mulch well, about 50mm deep around the plant. It helps with keeping the roots cool in summer and warmer in winter. Don’t build the mulch up around the trunk – this can cause rot.
Remove spent flowers. This will encourage a second and third flush. Just nip the buds off or you can pinch them of with your fingers.
After flowering has completely finished, you can reduce the size of the whole plant to whatever size you like to keep it compact.
Yes, you can cut them back hard, even to a stump.
If there are a few yellow leaves it’s nothing, just old age, but if the new growth looks yellowy rather than bright, happy lime green you’re in need of a complete fertiliser. I use Dynamic Lifter in spring and summer and give them a real boost with a liquid feed every couple of weeks with Yates Uplift.
As far as pests and diseases go, scale, mealy bug and sooty mould can be a problem but the presence of these insects would lead me to think the plant is in the wrong spot or under stress from lack of food and water.
Gardenias are a great plant for boarders and small hedges, and can grow and thrive in pots with good water supply.
I love my gardenias and get the maximum reward by planting them as a boarder to my front door. They fill the area from late spring to early autumn with the sweet smell of summer. When they are happy flowering and filling the area with perfume, I fall in love with my garden just a little bit more.
I love nothing more than cutting some flowers off at the bush and laying them in a large bowl of water. It looks great, but the free air-freshener when you walk in the door is amazing.
Jason Hodges is a presenter on Channel Seven’s Better Homes and Gardens. He talks landscaping on Mix 106.5.
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.