Can Gardenias Grow Indoors? Tips, Tricks & How-To Guide
Gardenias are evergreen tropical shrubs with broad leaves that can grow outside in a garden or indoors in large pots. When gardenias bloom, they emit the most amazing scent that fills the space around them.
While gardenias have a lovely and evocative scent, they’re fussy plants. Few people would bother growing them indoors were it not for the fragrance the blooms release. This is a high-maintenance houseplant with specific requirements to thrive indoors.
In this article, you get to learn all about growing gardenias indoors. As you do so, it’s best to note that the plant is toxic to pets and animals in your home.
Types of Gardenias
Before learning how to grow and care for gardenias indoors, start by noting the different types of gardenias. In warmer climates, many people love growing gardenias outside in pots or a garden. Throughout the years, there have been many varieties of gardenias that have been developed through grafting.
All the grafting has happened due to the gardenia parent stock. As a result, now you can find gardenias with better growth rates, larger blooms, and broader leaves. However, some aren’t cold-tolerant and do better indoors during the winter.
How to Grow and Care for Gardenias Indoors
Gardenias originate from Africa, southern Asia, Australasia, and Oceania. In the US, they thrive in USDA zones 8–11. With ample sunlight and proper care, a mature gardenia can grow over 6 feet tall.
These plants thrive outside, but it’s also possible to grow them in pots indoors. While there are many different types of low-maintenance indoor plants, gardenias will demand more attention.
The plants are quite lovely and smell amazing. However, they tend to be fussy houseplants, so it’s better to get some when you have the time to tend to them. There are specific requirements that gardenias require. Otherwise, you might end up with a suffering or dead plant on your hands.
Picking the right spot is the first step to growing gardenias indoors successfully. Once you set them in one area, it’s better to avoid moving them as much as possible. Gardenias don’t like being disturbed.
Growing Gardenias Indoors (How-To Guide)
1. Light Intensity
Place your gardenia plant in a spot that gets lots of bright light. This light can be natural, indirect light, or from an artificial grow light. Avoid direct sunlight, especially during summer, since such intense sun rays can harm the leaves.
Outside, gardenias prefer areas where there’s partial shade. In winter, you can compensate for the lack of natural light with an artificial source.
Some plants like to dry out before the next watering session. However, you have to keep an eye on gardenias because they don’t like too much water without proper drainage.
During the summer, gardenias need frequent watering to ensure the soil is always moist. However, you can reduce the watering rate in winter to stop the roots from sitting in water. Winter watering is less frequent since the rate of evaporation drops with the cold temperatures.
Gardenias don’t do well with dry air. This type of plant loves ample humidity, so you might want to consider that when growing them indoors. In the winter, there’s less humidity in the house because of heating systems. You might have to invest in a humidifier if growing gardenias indoors.
Gardenias in a pot require frequent feeding to keep growing. This plant prefers an acid-rich fertilizer. You can use a soluble fertilizer that you mix with water to feed the houseplant, or you can opt for a slow-release fertilizer.
As a houseplant, gardenias require fertilizer every 3 weeks. If looking for organic options, gardenias love bone meal, blood meal, or fish emulsion. Feed the plants in the spring or summer and then leave the plant alone in the fall before it goes dormant in winter.
5. Potting and Repotting
Gardenias can be repotted even though it isn’t wise to do it too often since they are fussy. Gardenias thrive in acidic soil with a 5.0 to 6.0 pH. It’s better to use a potting mix that has equal parts compost, peat moss, and perlite. Place some of the potting mix in a new pot, add the gardenia you want to re-pot, then fill the gaps with the remaining soil. Gently pat the top of the soil down and water the plant before placing it back in its designated spot.
Gardenias require pruning to ensure better growth. The right time to prune them is after the blooming season. You’ll start to notice spent blooms, which are an indication that it’s time to prune. Remove any spent flowers and worn branches.
While gardenias require pruning, it’s also ideal to skip it every other season. This means you can skip a year and prune it the next one. Always prune plants using sharp and clean garden shears to avoid harming the plant. Cut both old and new wood since gardenias set buds on both.
How to Propagate Gardenia Houseplants
While learning how to care for gardenia, it’s important to know how to propagate the plant successfully. That way, you can have more of your favorite plant in your home.
The best way to propagate gardenia plants is by using stem cuttings. Propagation should take place in early spring. You can gather some cuttings while pruning the plant in preparation for new growth. Propagating in early spring gives the cuttings ample time for root establishment before winter dormancy.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Do gardenias like sun or shade?
Gardenias love when the sun is out and when they can get lots of light. However, the plant requires several hours of shade when it’s too hot. If growing them indoors, pick a spot that gets lots of bright, indirect light.
Is it possible to maximize gardenia blooms?
Blooms are the best thing about gardenias since the flowers have an amazing scent. The best way to maximize blooms is to supply the plants with lots of nutrients. This means adding fertilizer at the appropriate time.
Why are my gardenia leaves turning yellow?
When growing gardenias indoors, you might see their leaves turning yellow. This is a sign that the plant isn’t getting enough light. It’s best to move the plant to a different spot or supply it with an artificial light source.
Why are my gardenia buds falling off?
Gardenia buds falling off isn’t a good sign. When you see this, know that your plants require more watering. These plants don’t like dry conditions, and it’s best to always keep their soil moist. However, ensure the plant doesn’t sit in lots of water. Make sure you use locations and pots that are well-draining.
Do gardenias grow back every year?
Gardenias are perennials, meaning they go dormant in winter and grow back every spring. Early spring is the best time to propagate this plant since its roots form before winter dormancy kicks in.
Gardenias produce a lovely scent that lasts for quite some time. This is why many people love growing this plant despite its many requirements. You have to be ready to cater to its needs if you wish to have gardenia growing indoors. It’s possible to grow them from seeds, but the best way to get new plants is through propagation.
Featured Image Credit: oom_endro, Pixabay