The Q&A Archives: Large Leaved and Good Flowering Gardenias

Question: I am currently thinking of planting a hedge (20-30 feet long) of gardenia bushes with a southern exposure at my new home. At my previous address I had three gardenia bushes that grew to about 6 feet high and 3-4 feet across and they were beautiful. I want to try to find the same gardenia bushes...they had large dark green leaves and were both beautiful in the summer as well as the winter. How many gardenia bushes should I plant in this new hedge? What is the best type for my area that is large leafed and well flowering? What other plants should I maybe consider to mix in with this hedge? This hedge will stand at the top of a 5 foot high wall behind my swimming pool and I am looking for a great evergeen hedge. Is there some other plant, besides a gardenia, I should maybe think about planting as hedge relative to this location? Any help you can provide me would be very useful. One last question- at my previous address I had a heck of a time trying to control whitefly on my gardenia bushes (in fact they ended up killing one of them...any thoughts on controlling the whitefly issue with gardenia besides spraying them? Thanks for all your help in this matter.

Answer: BOTANICAL NAME: Abelia grandiflora
I think the best choice for your garden is FIRST LOVE? GARDENIA (Gardenia jasminoides 'Aimee'). This shrub has wonderfully fragrant double white 4 to 5 inch blooms, which are larger than any other Gardenia. It`s the first Gardenia to bloom in spring and continues well into the growing season. Grows in full to partial sun and reaches 5 to 8 feet tall, 3 to 6 feet wide.

Other choices might be Glossy Abelia, 4-6' tall, 3-5' wide; Cape Jasmine, 4-6' tall, 4-5' wide; or Pieris japonica, which reaches 4-6' tall and wide.

The key to whitefly control is not a specific insecticide: the key is persistence. Almost any insecticide will kill a whitefly. Insecticidal soap, neem oil, horticultural oil, permethrin, bifenthrin and lambda-cyhalothrin are deadly to the bug. Getting the insecticide in contact with the insect involves some agility and perseverance though.

Since whiteflies live under gardenia leaves it is critical to direct your spray upwards under the leaves. Plan to spend several minutes with each gardenia, working to achieve complete coverage. One spray won?t kill all of them. Nearby plants harbor the creatures and they will move back in within a few days. If you have citrus whiteflies on your gardenia, mark your calendar to apply an insecticide to the plant every seven days for a month. If the bugs reappear during the summer, repeat the four sprays.

Best wishes with your new gardenias!

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