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How to Care for Gardenia Plants

Gardenia Plant Care

Let’s be honest: gardenias are some of the cutest things under the sun. When it comes to blooming house plants, they’re easily one of the most beloved, known for being sweet-smelling, charming additions to the garden or abode.

But gardenia care can be a little tricky at times. Those stunning, delicious-smelling blooms aren’t going to sprout for just any flower fangirl. They require good ol’ fashioned TLC, but not too much! You need to give them just the right amount lovin’ to get those showy blooms to strut their stuff.

Not to worry – we’ve got all the gardenia care intel you need to bring the joy of these flowers into your life for good. But first, some background!


All About Gardenias

Did we mention that gardenias are super-duper fragrant? You can count on being able to smell their strong and lovely scent from several feet away. It’s no wonder they’re one of Martha Stewart’s favorite fragrant houseplants.

Gardenias have been used in traditional Chinese and herbal medicine for hundreds of years in a whole bunch of ways, from natural antiseptics and antibacterial agents. They’re also antifungal, analgesic, detoxicant, diuretic, and antispasmodic. They’re used in Ayurvedic medicine too. And, you can make a delicious, healthy herbal tea with the petals. It’s not even up for debate – gardenias are just awesome!

Named after Alexander Garden in the 1700s, gardenias are a common choice for weddings for their bright white petals, sweet smell, and heaps of symbolism. Before getting on to our guide to caring for gardenia plants, we’ll give you some fun facts about what these amazing flowers actually mean!

Gardenia Symbolism

In Victorian times, flowers were used as code to express feelings. Instead of telling your crush flat-out that you’re crazy about them, you could do it with flowers.

Gardenias were the type used for secret admirers who didn’t want to reveal their identity. For that reason, they’re symbolic of secret love and hidden feelings – but they can also just mean “you’re lovely,” so you can still give them to friends without sending the wrong signal. Their white color also signifies purity and pure love, another reason why they’re often used in wedding flowers.

Other meanings include:

  • Trust
  • Hope
  • Renewal
  • Friendship
  • Intuition
  • Protection
  • Self-Reflection

How to Care for Gardenia Plants

Gardenia plants are not so hard to look after, but they do require special attention once in a while. They thrive in acidic soil with plenty of organic matter. Be sure their pot has good drainage, too. If you water them too much, you can forget about those cute little white flowers you were planning on giving to your crush. Let the soil dry between waterings, though, and your floral buddies will be safe and sound.

Gardenia plants are pretty hungry, to say the least. When caring for gardenia plants, you should feed them once to twice a month during growing season with either blood meal, acid fertilizer, or fish fertilizer. This will ensure that those sassy blooms come out in full effect. Prune them occasionally, too, to remove faded or dying leaves and straggly branches.

Caution: Watch out for whiteflies! Whiteflies hang out on the underside of the leaves and drink up all that delicious moisture that your plants need. If you give one of your gardenia plant’s branches a shimmy and little whiteflies come up, take care of it ASAP or your plant will RIP. This is super, super essential for gardenia care. You can spray a light horticultural oil, like canola oil, on the leaves and they’ll absorb it to kill off those pesky parasites.

As for sunshine, gardenias love it! They love being placed on patios or decks. Lots of direct sunlight is ideal, but a mix of shade and sun is good too. As long as they get several hours each day, they’ll be just fine.

Pro tip on caring for gardenias indoors: Be sure to place them on a windowsill or near a window where plenty of light shines through. Trust us – they’ll definitely thank you for it later.


That’s it! You now know how to care for gardenia plants. Not too hard, right? Be sure to put them in a place where you can show off their natural beauty to visitors!

And if you haven’t already ordered a gardenia plant to sweeten the vibe in or around your home, head on over to The Bouqs Co. and snag one. It’ll give your home that “it” factor you’ve been looking for. We promise!

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