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Gardenia Flower [Complete Care Guide & Uses]

Did you know Gardenia Flower justifies purity and kindness? However, the meaning differs with their flower colors, and Gardenia never blooms in just one shade! 

Generally, Gardenia Flower blooms throughout the spring to fall in red, pale yellow, white, and pink hues. Their medicinally beneficial fragrant flowers smell coconutty, with the petals fading to golden brownish-yellow and losing all their aroma at the start of the winter.

You may have to wait for the flower because it is a slow-blooming plant, but it will be well worth it. Continue reading to learn more about this gorgeous flower.

How Often Does the Gardenia Flower?

Gardenia plants are slow to moderate growers and will only grow to 1-2 feet yearly.

So, they step pretty late in the flowering stage, taking 2-3 years to bloom when grown from the seeds, but it takes a year or two less time than the seed-grown plants. 

Gardenia blooms from early spring to late fall but some species flower in zones 7-11. They last 6-8 weeks in the plant before withering to golden brownish-yellow at the start of winter.
Image represents cut flower of Gardenia plant in a vase
Cut flowers of Gardenia can stay fresh for several days in a clean vase of water and spread their aroma until they wilt up.

Although you can see the most extended bloom for 10 weeks, the flowering also depends on the growing conditions and variety of the plant.

Additionally, Gardenia Plants are perennial and come back yearly with new blooms. So, they don’t even go dormant during winter like other flowering plants.

After winter, the plant sprouts new flower buds in spring, but they may take 4-6 weeks to unfurl. 

Overview of Gardenia Flower

Also called Gardenia bush due to its woolly growth habit, Cape Jasmine, or Gardenia, is a tropical and sub-tropical shrub with creamy, fragrant blooms.

There are around 215 species of Gardenia varieties, but the most fragrant of them all is “Aimee Yoshioka” Gardenia.

Let’s get to know about the general features of Gardenia Flowers.

StructureInflorescence: Solitary Cymose

Shape: Rose-like with Spirally Arranged Central Petals and Outward Flaring Peripheral Petals Clustering in One or Two Rows

Color: White, Pink, Pale Yellow or Red

Fragrance: Sweet Creamy and Coconut-like

Size: 2-5 Inches in Diameter
FamilyRubiaceae (Coffee Family)
Growing SeasonsSpring to Winter
Blooming SeasonsThroughout Spring to Fall (March to November)
Flower Lifespan6-8 weeks
FruitPale Yellow to Orange Oval Pods
ToxicityNon-Toxic to Pets and Humans

How Gardenia Flowers Pollinate?

Gardenia species are self-pollinating plants and emit intoxicating fragrances to attract pollinators in the evening.

Hence, Gardenia Flowers are dusk bloomers, and their white petals shine under the moonlight, luring moths that help to pollinate them.

However, bees, ants, and butterflies also pollinate the bisexual flowers, which are familiar daytime plant visitors.

Image represents the pods of Gardenia plant
After the pollination, the flowers wilt and are soon replaced by orange-yellow fruit pods bearing many seeds.

These bugs enter inside the flowers to drink nectar, transferring the pollen grains from the male part (anther) to the female part (stigma) of the flower.

Within a few weeks after pollination, the flowers fade to golden brown and crisp, losing all their aroma. 

Soon a tiny nub replaces flowers, which turn into orange-yellow oval pods during late fall.

The colorful pods are modified plant sepals that dry up and enclose many tiny seeds.

How to Hand Pollinate Gardenia Flower?

Although a little tricky, Gardenia can be hand pollinated, which you can do so by following these steps.

But ensure that the petals are open and the male part is flecked with yellow pollens.

  • Try to pollinate the flowers in the evening using a small-tipped paintbrush.
  • Inspect for pollens by selecting a mature flower. 
  • Hold the flower and swirl the brush on the anther to grab some pollen.
Image represents fully opened flower of Gardenia
Flowers of Gardenia are ready for pollination when they open up fully and expose the central male and female parts.
  • Select another flower and brush some pollens on the tip of the stigma.
  • You can also do the same with flowers of another plant to breed hybrids.

After the pollination is complete, cover the flower with a net bag to prevent cross-fertilization from pollinators.

How to Make a Gardenia Flowers?

Gardenia isn’t the simplest shrubs to grow, but their beautiful, fragrant blossoms make up for the extra work.

Without proper care, the flowers may droop and drop early, or the buds may not even open up.

So, it would be best to consider the following things to make your Gardenia bloom.

  • Gardenia needs at least 4 hours of direct morning sunlight and a few hours of afternoon shade for bud production and flowering.
  • Hydrate Gardenias with an inch of distilled water weekly from spring to fall. In winter, keep the soil moist but not soggy.
  • Offer the plant a well-draining, organic soil with pH levels between 5 and 7. 
  • Set a humidifier to around 50% near the plant for vigorous flowering.
  • Sustain a daytime temperature of around 65-70°F and nighttime temperatures between 50°F and 65°F for a steady flowering.
  • Feed once in spring after the dangers of frost have passed and again 6 weeks later using balanced azalea fertilizer to encourage bud development. 
  • Use neem oil sprays or copper fungicides to discourage pests like thrips, wax scales, whiteflies, and aphids and diseases like bud drops.

Check the video to learn some tips for fertilizing your Gardenia Plant.

What Should You do with Gardenia Plant Flowers?

Gardenia Flowers contribute to the plant’s ornamental value, but only in full bloom.

Hence prune the spent Gardenia Flowers in late summer to early fall (every week or 1-2 weeks after they fade) to help the plant store some energy to flower in the following spring.

After the flowers fade and dry up, they are hideous to look at, consume too much energy, and halt the overall growth of the plant.

But you can also trim the plant to manage its growth and remove the spent injured or diseased foliage to encourage bushy and lush foliage.

Simply pick the dried flowers from their stalk or cut the base of the spent blooms using sterilized pruners.

Uses of Gardenia Plant Flowers

Gardenia Flowers come with a variety of purposes. Let’s learn about a few briefly!

1. Gardenia Flower in Medicine

2. Gardenia Flower as Ornamental Use

  • Gardenia’s snowy and fragrant blooms have uses as popular bridal flowers, floral arrangements, and other occasions.
  • The charm is enhanced by the colors when combined with other flowering plants, such as roses.
  • Dry fruit pods (after flowering) are an excellent source of easy-to-prepare yellow dye.
  • You can also use the flowers to prepare homespun perfumes and other fragrant infusions.
Image represents dry Gardenia blooms
Pick Gardenia Flowers after they unfurl fully and dry them to prepare beautiful bouquets.

3. Gardenia Flower Meaning

In the early 20th century, Gardenia was considered a sign of good fortune in France.

Also, many cultures recognize the White Gardenia Flowers as a symbol of clarity and kindliness.

However, Red Gardenia Flower may give another meaning of joy and secret affection between two people.

Additionally, Yellow Gardenia Flowers mean dreams, Orange Gardenia Flowers represent hope, and Pink Gardenia Flowers symbolize allure and resumption.

In Bible, Solomon gave Gardenia Flowers every morning to each woman in his harem to build trust and avoid bitterness and favoritism.

The flowers are also helpful during meditation to keep a relaxed and calming atmosphere due to their fragrant appeal.

Do you know the flowers are also preserved as pickles? Moreover, they are also used to prepare aromatic tea!

Health Considerations to Keep in Mind

Gardenia Flowers are non-toxic to humans and are used as an aromatic garnish in many foods.

Additionally, the University of Kansas Health System mentions no record of toxicity of the flowers in humans. 

However, the flowers contain toxic geniposide and gardenoside, which can cause mild to severe stomach upsets in cats and dogs.

Your pet may experience vomiting, diarrhea, and skin rashes upon consumption.

The best option to regress the symptoms in your pets is to make an emergency call to any of the following numbers.

From Editorial Team

Temperature, Feeding, and Lighting: The Big Three Needs!
Gardenia loves cool nighttime temperatures, bright sunlight, and timely bloom-boosting fertilizer to flower headway.

So, keep the plant happy whenever it feels hot, hungry, or light-deprived!

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