The Q&A Archives: Gardenias & Camillias

Question: I want to use your 'white gem' gardenia & your Sasanqua Camillia (white flowering) in a massive planting in a Santa Monica condo complex which is across the street from the beach. They will get full sun all day. Will they thrive? What is your maintenance advice?
Thank you, Gina Gambill, Designer, Sugar Gardens

Answer: I think your idea of combining gardenia and camellia shrubs for a mass planting, or even as a privacy hedge is a good one. The plants will grow at different rates but can eventually be pruned to provide a uniform appearance. They will bloom at different times, which will add interest to your landscape. Gardenia can stand the acidic soil required by camellia, so there shouldn't be any problem in growing the two shrubs together. Both plants will grow dense enough to provide a sense of privacy, both have glossy green leaves, and both will be attractive even when not in bloom. The fragrance of gardenia should add even more interest to the garden. Neither plant has any particular requirements; feed annually with an acid fertilizer, prune when necessary and water deeply once each week. Best wishes with your landscape project!

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