Buttons GardeniaGardenia jasminoides 'Buttons' (PP# 24,229)
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The Buttons Gardenia grows into a compact shrub about 2 feet tall and wide, with a dense, bushy form. It may be small, but the blooms are full-sized, measuring 2 inches across, with up to 20 petals. In the center is an attractive green ‘button’ that makes this a beautiful and unique blossom that is turning heads everywhere. The glossy, dark-green foliage stays that way through summer and winter, keeping this plant beautiful even out of bloom. It flowers profusely in May and June, and with sporadic blooms over the summer. Perfect for edging beds or growing in pots.
The Buttons Gardenia should be grown with morning sun and afternoon shade, especially during the summer months. The soil should be moist but well-drained, and slightly acidic. Water regularly as needed to keep the ground moist but not wet. For pots, use a soil blended for acid-loving plants like azaleas. Normally free of pests and diseases, this plant is not eaten by deer.
The gardenia blossom would surely be used to make a crown for the Goddess of Flowers – so lovely is its perfume, and so pure its thick white petals. While we might argue over how nice or nasty the scent of other tropical flowers might be, everyone agrees that gardenias smell gorgeous. Just bury your nose in a bloom and breath in that air of tropical islands or grand balls of the old South. As shrubs they have a reputation for being ‘difficult’, but really, for just a little attention, you will be rewarded by weeks of wonderful blooms when you grow a reliable variety like the Buttons Gardenia. The unique flowers – held together by a tight little button in the center – give out the classic scent in abundance, and the deep-green glossy leaves are year-round gorgeous, with a polished look. Compact enough for pot-growing, and neat enough to border a bed, you will love this great variety, whether it’s your first gardenia or if you are an old-hand at these classic plants.
The Buttons Gardenia grows steadily into a rounded evergreen shrub between 18 and 30 inches tall and wide. It has a neat, dense structure, always looking trimmed but never needing trimming. The oval leaves are very dark green, with a very glossy surface and about 2½ inches long, clustering densely along the stems. They are thick and leathery, with lots of ‘substance’. They don’t easily burn in the sun, or turn yellow in winter.
For several weeks in May and June, your bush will be in full bloom, with some additional blooms developing through the summer months. The bush might be small and compact, but the blooms are full-sized – 2 inches across – with 15 to 20 petals arranged in two overlapping whorls around the center. This plant has a unique looking bloom. The petals are as thick, lustrous and pure white as any gardenia, and in the center is a cute little ‘button’ that seems to hold it all together, with 6 fat brown stamens forming an arching circle around it. (The button is actually the stigma, the place where the pollen lands when fertilizing the flower). The flower gives off the most amazing sweet scent, loved by everyone, and found in the most expensive perfumes, made by companies like Chanel, Gucci, Givenchy and Marc Jacobs. The flowers slowly turn yellow over a week, and then drop cleanly to the ground, keeping everything neat and tidy.
This compact shrub is perfect for growing in the front of a border, perhaps along a pathway where its perfume can easily be appreciated. It blends well in areas where you are growing azaleas, blooming after them, or with other acid-loving plants. It is also ideal for pot-growing, where it could be placed on a step or a terrace, or grown inside a porch area. Pots can be brought indoors in winter to protect it if you are gardening in cooler zones. Don’t forget to snip some blooms to bring inside to enjoy in a vase for up to a week.
The Buttons Gardenia is reliably hardy in zones 8, 9 and 10. It should be brought inside in cooler zones once night temperatures fall below 50 degrees and grown in a bright spot indoors until spring. At the other extreme, this plant grows well in hot humid conditions, with temperatures of 105 Fahrenheit tolerated well.
Morning sun and afternoon shade are the ideal for the Buttons Gardenia. It will also grow well in light shade, such as the dappled shade from overhead deciduous trees, or under a clear sky in the shade of a wall. Remember that it is shade in summer, when the sun is high in the sky, that matters most – sun in spring and fall can be more constant. The perfect soil for gardenias is moist, well-drained and slightly acidic. Add plenty of lime-free organic material, like peat-moss or rotted pine needles, when preparing the ground for planting. When you grow it in a pot, use a potting soil for acid-loving plants, like azalea soil.
The way to grow gardenias well is to attend to watering. Keep the soil moist but not wet – to do that, don’t water when the ground is already moist, but let the top layer dry a little. Then water well and wait until the surface soil dries again. Use a fertilizer recommended for camellias and azaleas if you cannot find one specifically for gardenias – apply it as directed. Deadheading should not be necessary as the Buttons Gardenia doesn’t usually develop seeds. Trimming isn’t usually needed with such a compact bush, but if you do want to trim do it immediately after the main blooming in spring – otherwise you will remove potential flower buds. Pests and diseases shouldn’t cause problems if you are watering and feeding correctly, and deer don’t eat gardenias at all.
The gardenia, Gardenia jasminoides, was first grown in America by Dr. James Gordon, a Scotsman who had moved to Charleston, South Carolina. He definitely had plants in his garden by 1762. Indeed, the famous botanist Linnaeus created the name Gardenia to honor Dr. Gordon. Since then many improved varieties have been developed, and of course spread all over the world. Sydney, Australia has a similar climate to the South, and acid soil, so gardenias grow well there. North of Sydney is Kariong, and there John Robb is a partner at Paradise Seeds, a specialized plant breeding nursery. In 2007 he collected seeds from a gardenia variety called ‘Veitchii’, and sowed them. In 2010 he selected one of those seedlings for its unusual and attractive flowers, and named it ‘Buttons’. It was patented in the USA in 2014, and released by Star® Roses and Plants as part of their Bloomables® range.
This unique plant is so charming and special, and those big blooms really pop on this compact plant. Everyone is excited by it, and stocks are moving fast. Don’t hesitate to grow it in your garden – order now.