A good way to extend the coverage of Gardenias (Gardenia jasminoides) in your garden is to propagate them. You don’t need to buy seeds or a seedling. Simply use cuttings from existing plants. Let’s see how to propagate gardenias by cuttings (stems) and their care.
How to propagate gardenias from cuttings
First, you need to choose the plant from which you plan to take the cutting for the new plant. Choose a healthy plant.
Now from this plant choose the branch you are going to use. An ideal gardenia plant will grow from a cutting the length of a new pencil (say about 6 inches long) and have a few sets of leaves.
Although many believe it shouldn’t have leaves, experts suggest that leaves help the cutting grow better and not suffer during the rooting process. But it is good to remove part of the base and leave only the top ones.
Then make a cross cut at the base of the cutting to help root development.
The cutting needs a lot of moisture to be ready for planting. So while you prepare the soil for planting, you can keep the cutting moist by placing it in a container of water.
The next step is to prepare the ground for planting. To do this, choose your pot and fill it with a rooting mix made up of equal amounts of peat moss and sand or any other organic potting soil.
Fill the pot with the mixture, take a thin stick or a pencil and make a hole about 5-6 centimeters. Take the cutting you placed in the container and apply rooting hormone (optional). See: rooters
Once done, you can fill the hole. Now it will take some time (about 6-8 weeks) to take root and grow into a plant.
However, you can help this process by making sure the plant receives the right and proper conditions to sustain its needs.
One of these conditions is that there is enough humidity to grow. Therefore, once you have planted the cutting, you can put the whole pot with the plant in a plastic bag and tie it up. This will help maintain the temperature and humidity level in the pot.
Open this bag 3 or 4 times a week so that the plant receives the necessary amount of air. Soon you will see small leaves appear.
This is when you can remove the plastic bag and let the plant continue to grow or transplant it into a larger pot or directly into the garden.
Water the plant regularly, but make sure the soil is well-drained. And There you go. Your gardenia plant is on its way to becoming a perfect addition to your garden.
Growing gardenias in the outdoor garden
Plant gardenias in light shade, preferably out of afternoon sun.
Gardenias need good air circulation, so don’t overcrowd them. Plant gardenias in a place protected from severe frosts and dry winter winds.
As with many spring-flowering shrubs, fall is the best time to plant them, as it gives the root system more time to establish.
Gardenias need soil that is well-drained, acidic (pH less than 6.0) and rich in organic matter.
Add peat moss or compost when planting, then apply a few inches of mulch around the plants to keep them moist (but be sure to keep it away from the plant canopy).
Gardenias have shallow root systems, so avoid growing other plants around the root zone once established.
Gardenias like consistently moist but not soggy soil and require about an inch of rain (or equivalent watering) per week.
Lightly fertilize gardenias in the spring, after the risk of frost has passed, with a slow-release, acidic plant food, such as azalea food.
Look for a formula that includes iron and magnesium. Then refertilize your plants in late spring. Another option is to use a half dose of fertilizer more frequently. Make sure the soil is moist before and after fertilizing.
Prune gardenia bushes in the summer, after they have finished flowering, so as not to remove the buds.
Before pruning, make sure the strain you are growing only flowers once and has completed its flowering cycle.
If it blooms more than once, cut off spent flowers just below the leaf node to encourage repeat blooming.
Growing Gardenias Indoors
A gardenia is not the easiest plant to flower indoors, although plants that are content with their situation tend to bloom in late spring and again in fall.
Several varieties of gardenias grow to just 60cm, and you’ll often find them sold in pots at garden centers for indoor use.
But unless you have a greenhouse or conservatory, it will be difficult to give indoor plants enough sunlight and humidity to produce buds.
It is advisable to place the plants in a window where they receive at least four hours of sunlight per day, but not strong midday sun.
To increase the humidity, place a humidifier in the room or place the pots on a tray with damp pebbles.
Cool nighttime temperatures (15 degrees C) and warm daytime temperatures (23 degrees C) will promote better flowering.
Use well-drained, acidic soil, such as a mixture of 2 parts potting soil and 1 part peat.
Keep the soil evenly moist at all times, but don’t overwater it or let it become waterlogged.
Fertilize every two weeks with a balanced houseplant fertilizer containing micronutrients, especially iron, or use a slow-release fertilizer for azaleas. A lack of iron or too alkaline soil can cause the leaves to turn yellow.
Pests and other problems
Gardenias are susceptible to various pests and diseases, such as whiteflies, scale insects and powdery mildew.
Here are some links where you can learn more about each and how to fight them:
Home methods to control plant whitefly
Homemade methods to control plant mealybug
How to Fight and Prevent Powdery Mildew Naturally
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