Gardenias (Gardenia jasminoides) are one of my favorite flowers in terms of looks and scent. Hell, their foliage is even shiny and beautiful looking too.
Gardenias are just beautiful and have everything going for them, well, just about any way. They can also be a little fickle, but we’ll get to that later.
So, when do Gardenias bloom? As a general rule, you will see the buds appearing in very early Spring and flowers starting to bloom in late Spring or early Summer. Gardenias will bloom twice throughout the growing season, too if you’re lucky!
While some flowers in the garden will pop at the start of a little warmth in Spring, Gardenias take a while to kick in.
But believe me, it is always worth the wait and something I look forward to each and every year!
How To Encourage Your Gardenias To Bloom
Your gardenias will bloom each year; that’s the beauty of nature.
But, getting Gardenias to bloom big is a mix of art and science, pretty much like all gardening. There are many variables, but looking closely at the plant will tell you how it is feeling at the end of the day.
Furthermore, encouraging your Gardenia to bloom and bloom big is as simple as 1,2,3. Really it is.
This is what I do every season to ensure I have an abundance of stunning white Gardenia flowers, and big ones too.
If there is one thing that a Gardenia plant needs and loves each year, it is a good prune. This will ensure there is an abundance of beautiful new leaf growth and lots of flowers.
The key to pruning Gardenias is to wait until the flowers have finished and then take 3-4 inches of each stem; that is it.
Some people just remove the dead buds and then wait for the second flower. Sure, the Gardenias will bloom again, but if you try to prune quickly after the first bloom, you will be in for a treat.
Gardenia Pruning Tips
- Prune twice. Firstly prune after the initial flower before new buds appear; take off 3-4 inches only and be quick to do it, so you don’t cut off any buds resprouting.
- Prune for the second time at the end of the growing season; during this prune, which is your main yearly prune, go hard or go home as they say. You can easily take off 6 – 8 inches; doing this can be tough at the time, but you will reap the benefits next Spring with an abundance of fresh growth!
- Be on the watch for aphids on the foliage, we will deal with the best way to get rid of these little critters in a future article.
Some plants can get away without it, not Gardenias, oh no no. They want and need a good Gardenia fertilizer, in fact if you don’t fertilize them, be prepared for a yellow leafed unhappy little thing.
Think of a hungry toddler waiting for a feed, this is your Gardenia waiting for its fertilizer!
So why do Gardenias need fertilizer so badly?
Gardenias use a lot of nutrients to produce their radiant flowers, so you need to help them with this.
Gardenias are an acid-loving plant, so make sure to choose the appropriate fertilizer and apply it as recommended through the growing period.
Sure, you can go down the path of synthetic fertilizers, but, long term, this will be worse for soil quality and the natural ecology.
Gardenia Fertilizing Tips
- What is an acid-loving plant? A plant that loves acidic soil, meaning soil with a ph between 5 – 6.5 (this can be checked with a simple, cheap ph meter found at your local garden store). A Gardenia is absolutely an acid-loving plant, so be sure to choose the correct fertilizer and follow instructions.
- Gardenias need to be fertilized in Spring and Summer each year, it is non-negotiable if you want a beautiful flowering plant.
Now onto the watering.
Ok, it might seem obvious, but especially after applying fertilizer (if it is in pellet form), these plants need a good soak. As a rule of thumb, an inch or so of water a week is ideal, but this all depends on your individual situation.
Always ensure the ground doesn’t get too dry between waters in the warmer months, and on the other hand, ensure the ground doesn’t get too wet and has good drainage.
Gardenia Watering Tips
- Gardenias like moist but not wet soil. As a general rule, ensure the top couple of inches are dry, and then the soil get’s damper as you go deeper. I use my finger for this, but you can also use a simple moisture meter purchased from your local garden store.
- Drainage is really important for Gardenias, they don’t want to sit in water. So if you’re growing them in a pot, ensure it drains well. If growing in the ground, be sure the lower soil is not soaked by testing with a moisture meter.
How to Lengthen the Bloom of Your Gardenias
To lengthen the bloom of your gardenias is partly in your control and partly not, let me explain.
Sadly, we cannot control the weather, but what we can control is the pruning, the fertilizer, and the watering.
Getting all these in check will help your gardenias bloom better, bloom bigger, and hold flowers for longer. There is also a secret weapon that I have always sprayed on my gardenias.
Want to know?
Like us humans, plants need the odd bit of superfood and believe in keeping it as natural as possible while also getting the results.
That’s why I spray the foilage every two weeks throughout Spring and Summer with a seaweed and kelp liquid solution.
Note: This is not a fertilizer! I get so frustrated when people call it so. It is a liquid plant tonic derived from seaweed and kelp and full of absolute goodness.
It is a secret weapon; unlike a fertilizer, you can’t overdo it or burn the leaves/roots, and it is cheap!
Basically, a seaweed solution is diluted in water and sprayed on the foliage. That is it. Often 1 Gallon will make up to 700 gallons of feed water!
I love this awesome seaweed extract and use it regularly!
Yes, I have a reminder in my diary, so I don’t forget! I suggest you do too.
How Many Times a Year Will My Gardenia Bloom?
Your Gardenias can bloom twice every year! The first bloom in late Spring/Early summer is a given, it’s beautiful lah lah lah. The second bloom is what really excites me.
The second Gardenia bloom will happen around 6-8 weeks after the first, but the trick to enhancing round two is all about pruning.
So, how long will the flowers last?
How Long Do Gardenia Flowers Last?
Gardenia flowers can last around 3-6 weeks on the plant in perfect conditions.
But, two things can happen to your flowers, so don’t be alarmed.
- The green bud will fall off before flowering, known as bud drop. This can happen for a few reasons, generally extremes eg too hot, too wet, or too much/not enough fertilizer.
- Waterlogged, see-through, and gluggy, this happens after a lot of rain; time to tip prune the plant.
As I preach with all plants, you must find out where they came from and replicate their natural environment.
If you put a plant in a location that is too different to where it is from, you will be wasting time and money to try and make the plant fit.
So, find out where the Gardenia or any plant indoor or outdoor is from and replicate as best as possible where it grows naturally.
However, what about Gardenias?
What Are The Perfect Growing Conditions For Gardenias?
This is an interesting question as I have had success growing gardenias in most locations IF, and this is a big IF, you get the fertilizer and watering right.
These beautiful flowers are from sub-tropical and tropical Asia, Africa & Pacific Islands. But the ones we see and grow (Gardenia jasminoides) are native to China and other parts of Asia.
Ideal Gardenia Growing Conditions
|Location:||Full Sun to Shady|
|Soil:||Moist & Well Drained|
|Prune:||Twice a Year Straight After Flowering|
|Extras:||Seaweed Plant Extract|
When Gardenias Bloom – The Final Word
As you now know, Gardenias bloom in Late Spring or early Summer.
However, if you do a quick trim after the first flowering and provide the correct fertilizer and some seaweed tonic, you can also have an abundant second bloom.
Don’t forget to master the art of watering these often finicky little shrubs by using a water meter or getting dirty with your fingers to feel the soil.
I wish you beautiful abundant Gardenias with an incredible fragrance!