The Q&A Archives: Gardenias From Seed

Question: No one in this area seems to be able to get gardenias to bloom properly, and new plants from cuttings retain the same problem. I want to know if its possible to start gardenias from seed, and if so, how its done, all in the hopes that if I start 100 or so seedlings maybe I'll find one that does well here and then I can take cuttings from that one.

Answer: Gardenia's can be temperamental, and are reluctant to bloom unless given perfect conditions. They thrive in full sun with filtered afternoon shade, warm air, moist soil with good drainage, and morning dew or misting from the hose. Use peatmoss as a soil amendment, plant the crowns high, don't overcrowd, and feed every 3-4 weeks with an acid based plant food or with fish emulsion. If you can accomplish all the above, your gardenia's will reward you with lots of fragrant blooms.

The plants can be started from seed. Sow 1/8" deep in moistened seed starting mix with some fresh peat added, cover pots or trays with plastic wrap to help retain moisture, and place in a warm area such as on top of the refrigerator. Seeds will germinate in 25-30 days when kept at 65F-75F degrees.

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