The Q&A Archives: gardenias

Question: What do I do to prepare soil for planting gardenias in Central Florida and how do I care for them?

Answer: Gardenias grow in a variety of soil conditions in Florida, but they do best in well-drained soil amended with organic matter. They are not considered to be salt tolerant. An acidic soil pH between 5.0 and 6.5 is required or their foliage will yellow. Your county Extension office can provide information on how to take a soil sample and have it analyzed for pH. Failing a soil test, you can amend the planting bed with compost or peat moss to help increase acidity and help the soil drain well yet hold just the right amount of moisture.

Give your gardenia morning sun and afternoon shade for best bloom. Feed in February or March with an acidified fertilizer (such as Miracid) and feed again in September or October.

Best wishes with your new gardenias!

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