Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Taking a look at beautiful Gardenias

Photograph by Dawn Gagnon

If you are looking for a beautiful shrub for your South Carolina yard, you can't go wrong with the lovely Gardenia. Gardenias are a flowering shrub that belongs to the coffee family. There are at least 142 species and the blossoms, growth habits and sizes vary. Beautiful to look at, and with a heavy floral scent that is to die for. This shrub is an evergreen and adapts well to the South Carolinian soils and environment. Zones 8-10 are ideal locations for a gardenia to flourish.

The crisp white blossoms begin appearing around late May and will continue for several months.Some shrubs can grow up to 6 feet in height and also grow in similar feet width wise. Some are small compact varieties that will grow close to the ground and have smaller blooms. Most are noted however, for the strong scent.
Gardenia plants generally prefer a sunny location in the garden with some afternoon relief ideally. They like a soil ph level ranging around 5 to 6.

Even though they enjoy a moist soil, take care not to plant larger varieties in confined locations as they are subject to a variety of diseases and pests. One pest in particular is white flies. Prune bushes when they are dormant, and for bushier growth, snip the tips in dormant times.

Feeding and fertilizing should be done with a fertilizer that also is recommended for Rhododendrons and Azaleas. Most areas where these grow, gardenias will grow as well. A heavy mulch bed with lots of pine straw are sure to help retain soil moisture and provide composted acidic rich soil.

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