The rich, almost heady fragrance of the Gardenia must be one of the most distinctive perfumes in the world. The plant prefers to grow in an acid compost and should ideally be watered with rain water to avoid the problems caused by the calcium in tap water. The Gardenia can also suffer from chlorosis, a yellowing of the leaves caused by an iron deficiency. This can usually be corrected by watering with a solution of sequestrated iron (iron sequestrene), which will turn the leaves back to a healthy, deep green colour. To prevent the plant becoming leggy and untidy, it should be pruned lightly in early spring. Alternatively, a more drastic prune, by up to a half or even two thirds, may encourage the plant to grow back more in balance.

Plant type : Flowering plant with bushy habit
Season of interest : Summer
Size : 15-45cm (6—18in)
Flower : 5-7.5cm (2—3in) double, white, with rich, heavy fragrance
Leaf : Oval, 5cm (2in) long, glossy, dark green
Temperature : 18-21°C (64-7CTF)
Aspect/Light : Well-lit situation with shade from direct sun
Humidity : High
Watering : Evenly moisten compost in spring and summer, allowing to dry a little before re-watering; keep on drier side in autumn and winter
Feeding : Once every two to three weeks with flowering plant fertilizer in spring and summer
Propagation : Plant 7.5-10cm (3—4in) tip cuttings in seed and cutting compost at 15-20°C (60-68°F) from mid to late spring or early autumn
Potting : Ericaceous compost
Problems : Aphid, mealy bug, scale insect, red spider mite, chlorosis
Availability : Often available in spring and summer
Uses indoors : Table-top plant close to window in lounge, dining room, or other rooms that are warm and humid enough