Gardenia Seeds: Complete Buying & Grow Guide

The toxic white beauties, Gardenia jasminoides. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Gardenia plant rewards you with lush white blossoms yearly and is pretty easy to maintain and reproduce.

In fact, you can quickly propagate them using the cuttings, but growing them from seeds may be a different ball game.

Propagating Gardenia seeds is quite challenging as it takes two to three years to flower, and most are only used for grafting.

You can harvest Gardenia seeds from the seed pods once the flowers are spent. To germinate the seed, soak the seeds in warm water and sow in a moistened seed starting mix at 70-75°F temperature with ample humidity.

White Gardenia Flower
Gardenia Flower (Source: Gardenia.net)

Alternatively, you can also order fresh Gardenia seeds from the store and propagate them like any other seedling.

Read on to find out how and when to harvest Gardenia seed pods and how to germinate them.

Gardenia Seeds Overview

Did you know Gardenia is originally a coffee plant named after Dr. Alexander Garden, a well-known botanist? Thus, the name “Gardenia.”

The lovely flowering shrub hails from southern Asia and Africa, Australasia, and Oceanic regions, where they grow in the tropical forest beds.

Over 142 Gardenia plant species belong to the coffee plant family, Rubiaceae, and each plant is used for a different medicinal purpose.

dried fructus of gardenia cape jasmine
Dried Fructus or seed pods of Gardenia (Source: Etsy)

In fact, Gardenia infused with tea helps fight pains, aches, headaches, PMS, and arthritis, offering many other health benefits.

Read our article about 12 Gardenia Benefits Every Gardener Should Know.

When grown as houseplants, these plants grow 3-5 feet tall and help add to the overall decor and fragrance.

It produces waxy and creamy-white flowers every spring and summer, giving way to seed pods containing Gardenia seeds.

However, you must wait until the flowers are spent or mature before extracting the seed pods, usually in fall or winter.

Here is a brief guide about Gardenia seeds.

ColorLight-colored (When immature)
Yellow to brown (Ready to plant)
Bright orange or red shell (When mature)
Size¼ inches long
ShapeTiny and irregularly shaped
Weight0.005 – 0.010 g
Blossoming SeasonSpring and Summer
BlossomWhite to pale yellow flowers
Seed Pod
Spent flowers make way for seed pods 1½ inches in diameter and dark
Harvest SeasonFall and winter
Growing TimeSpring (When grown outdoors)

Late Winter or early spring (When grown indoors)
Conducive TemperatureAround 70-75°F (21-23.8 °C) to germinate
Germination Time3-4 weeks
Inflorescence3-4 years

Remember, germinating Gardenia seeds require a conducive environment, temperature, and correct soil mix to attain successful yields.

When conditions are right, you can directly propagate them in the soil; otherwise, store them for the following spring.

A big challenge with propagating Gardenia seeds is that growing flowers may take well over three years.

Moreover, the germination tends to be sporadic (occurring at irregular intervals); therefore, many gardeners opt out of it.

How to Collect Gardenia Seeds?

To collect Gardenia seeds from the seed pod, you must wait for the plant to pollinate and grow seedlings.

Luckily, Gardenia self-pollinates, making way for the fruit production that leads to seed growth.

Once the petals or flowers drop off, the ovary containing the seeds will begin to swell and develop into mature fruit.

The flowers begin dying in summer, making way for seed production or fruiting, and the seed pods will ripen pretty quickly, which you would know by their changing color.

A bright orange or reddish seed pods indicate they are mature and ready to be picked, usually in late fall and winter.

Gardenia seed pod with seeds
Gardenia seed pod with seeds (Source: WP Armstrong)

Note: Do not transfer your Gardenias outdoors when producing seeds as they are cold-sensitive and may die when the temperature drops.

Remember to oversee them as these seed pods may open and disperse the seedlings on the ground.

Another indication that the seed pods are ready is when it reaches approximately one and a half inches in diameter.

Start with collecting the seed pods from an established Gardenia plant. Simply pinch open the pods and collect the seeds in a Ziploc or paper.

Steps to Harvest Gardenia Seeds

Follow this guide to harvest Gardenia plant seeds carefully.

Step 1: Collect the Seed Pods

Once the seed pods are mature, orange or reddish, and slightly dry, break them from the stems and collect them in a paper or bag.

Gardenia seed pods
Gardenia seed pods (Source: Maangchi)

Step 2: Extract the Seeds

  • You can pick out the seeds using your finger or a pair of tweezers.
  • You would need to handpick each seed pod from the plant and manually process it.
  • Remember to keep paper underneath to collect the seeds.

Step 3: Rinse and Dry the Seeds

  • Although the fresh seeds do not need further processing, consider rinsing and drying the seeds for future use.
  • Wash the seeds under cool tap water and remove any residue.
  • Spread them over the paper to dry. Transfer the dry Gardenia seeds into a Ziploc or bag and store them in a cool location.
  • Once dried, the seeds would look yellow to slightly brownish.

Where to Buy Gardenia Seeds?

You can always order a batch of healthy Gardenia seeds if you are not up for harvesting seeds.

Here are a few sellers specializing in Gardenia seeds.

SellersShipping
ETSYShipping may take at least 5-7 days
Garden Paradise SeedsWorlwide shipping, 3-11 days
Free delivery over €45
Plant My SeedsWorldwide shipping, 3-11 days
Free delivery over €45
Hobby Seeds24 shipping available
Free delivery over $50
Sheffield's Seed CompanyShipping may take at least 3-5 days

Steps to Germinate Gardenia Seeds

Gardenias can be grown from seed, though germination is more sporadic, and it takes them two to three years to bloom when grown from seed. 

Gardenia seeds germinate best when sown fresh, shortly after their collection from the pods, followed by 24 hours of soaking in water.

These seeds should be planted about 1/4 inch deep in a mixture of peat moss and sand or perlite and kept around 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

To know more, follow this guide to learn about growing Gardenia from seeds at home.

Materials Required to Germinate Gardenia Seeds

Start with assembling the correct materials before propagation

Materials RequiredPurpose
SeedsFor germinating
Seed Starter MixFor growing the seeds
Seed TrayPotting Medium
Gloves
For safety
Plastic bag or sheetTo maintain humidity and temperature for the seeds
2-3" PotCeramic, Clay, or Plastic pot with drainage holes for transplantation

Step 1: Prepare the Seed

Freshly extracted seeds do not need to be prepared. Simply sow them in the seed-starter mix.

In the case of stored Gardenia seeds, usually, most times, you need to prepare them to boost germination.

  • Take a small cup and pour some seeds. Next, pour lukewarm water.
  • Let it soak for at least four or 24 hours before sowing.
  • Soaking in water helps soften the tough seed cover, making it easier for the seed embryo to sprout.

Did you know soaking seeds in water signals the seed that spring has arrived and it is time to grow?

Step 2: Prepare the Starter Mix

Use a seed starter mix containing organic and inorganic material to support sprouting and hold the seedling in place.

  • Mix equal parts of perlite and peat moss. Alternatively, you can also use an equal amount of vermiculite with peat moss.
  • Otherwise, you can get a certified commercial seed starter mix.
  • Stir the ingredients and moisten the solution thoroughly by watering.
  • Set the pots aside to drain excess moisture.
Monstera seedling in the soil
Seed starter mix for germination (Source: Instagram)

Step 3: Sow the Seeds

Prepare the starter mix and fill each germination tray or 4-inch pot section.

  • Fill the germination tray until 1/4 inch and about 3 inches for the 4-inch pot.
  • Place seed on the soil and gently push it inside, barely covering them with about 1/8 inch of potting mix.
  • For fresh seeds, add one seed per section. Otherwise, add 2-3 seeds per section for the last year’s seed to increase the likelihood of successful germination.
  • Cover the tray with a clear plastic bag or plastic lid and leave it under grow light, at temperatures approximately 70-75 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Keep it 2-3 inches under LED grow lights for 14-18 hours daily.
  • If you live in a colder climate, it is better to use a heating pad to boost germination.
  • Depending on the growing condition, it could take four weeks to three months for the seeds to germinate.

Pro Tip: Transplant the Gardenia seedlings once they each have about two to three leaves.

Step 4: Transplant in a Pot

When the seed sprouts several inches or grows a couple of leaves, transplant them into the individual pots.

  • Prepare a potting mix combing two parts of peat-moss; one part sterilized potting soil, and one part perlite, with a 5.0-6.5 pH level.
  • Gently turn the germination tray or pot on its side to slide the seedlings out.
  • Transplant them in each container. Scoop the mix in and around the seedling until the pot is full.
  • Continue the regular watering schedule and move it to a sunny location in the house with ample indirect sunlight.
  • To prevent overwatering during the germination process, use a mister.

You can also decide to move it outdoors, but avoid this idea if you live outside the tropical areas or below USDA Zone 8-9.

Ensure to move the plant outdoors only in spring.

Care Tips for Gardenia Seeds After Germination

Here is a brief guide to caring for Gardenia seeds and young saplings.

CareSpecification
Sunlight1. Keep the germination tray out of direct sunlight.

2. Keep them 5-6 feet away from the south-facing window with indirect sunlight when growing as a sapling.

3. Use LED grow light to induce germination and until the sapling is ready to be transplanted.
Temperature1. Provide temperature between 70-75°F during germination.

2. The young plants prefer a consistent 65°F during the day and 60°F at night.

3. Keep your plant indoors during fall and winter.
Humidity1. They prefer relative humidity level is around 50%.

2. Humidity less than 40% can dry the plant and anything above 70% will invite root rot problem.
Watering1. Water the seedlings every day to keep them moist and help boost the humidity.

2. They require at least an inch of water a week in spring and summer.

3. Water sparingly in fall and winter.
Fertilization1. Fertilize once a month in spring and summer with balanced organic formula mixed at half strength.

2. Alternatively, use slow-release fertilizer suchazalea or camellia fertilizer as an every three months.

Did you know 9 out of 10 gardeners cannot keep their seedlings alive and thriving?

Watch the video to keep your seedlings thriving,

Conclusion

Gardenia makes an excellent houseplant, and so does growing them from seeds.

If you are up for the challenge, consider harvesting seeds from your mature Gardenia plant and sowing them just before spring to witness multiple beautiful plants.

This guide ensures you correctly harvest, germinate, and care for your Gardenia plant.

Post your beautiful Gardenia photos in the comments below.

Related Article: Gardenia Flowers, All Queries Solved!

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