The heady scent of Gardenia flowers wafting through thick summer air is nothing short of scrumptious!

For what seemed like eons, Portland gardeners were relegated to growing Gardenias that would die if left outdoors in winter, but in the last 10 years, several hardy types have emerged, and they're pretty darn good plants. Aren't we lucky to live in the era of Hardy Gardenias?

To be successful follow a few tips:

  • Plant in spring so Gardenias have a chance to set strong roots before winter.
  • Gardenias are big eaters! They need to be fertilized to produce abundant flowers. Use fertilizers and soil amendments for acid-loving plants (Rhododendron food) and make sure not to add lime - this raises soil pH.
  • Night temperatures between 50-55f are necessary to form flower buds, so be patient - it'll happen eventually.
  • Gardenias dislike root disturbance, so don't plant labor intensive plants around the base. Do add mulch to the root zone, making sure not to pile it around the base of the shrub.
  • You may be surprised, but Gardenias like a bit of a break from the heat of the day! Plant them in a spot with afternoon shade.
  • Gardenias are not drought tolerant. They need deep, weekly watering during dry seasons and more frequent watering during heat waves.

There are new varieties coming out every year, but we consistently carry the following varieties:

Kleim's Hardy Gardenia

Gardenia jasminoides ‘Kleim’s Hardy’

White flowers are single form with six petals and yellow stamens. Fragrance is classic Gardenia. Leaves are dark green, glossy and evergreen. Grows slowly in a rounded mounding habit to 2-3 feet tall and wide. Z7

Chuck Hayes Gardenia

Gardenia jasminoides ‘Chuck Hayes’

White flowers are double form with many fat petals and sweet scent. Evergreen leaves are dark green & glossy.

Grows 4' x 4', Z7

Frost Proof Gardenia

Gardenia jasminoides ‘Frost Proof’

Our favorite hardy Gardenia so far, 'Frost Proof' is an over achiever. Large white double flowers with narrow petals and sweet Gardenia scent. Evergreen leaves are dark green & glossy but more narrow than other varieties. Growth is upright and vase-shaped, to 3-4’ tall. Z7