The Frost Proof Gardenia is a true breakthrough in plant selection. Unlike old-fashioned gardenias, it is hardy all the way through zone 7, and avoids late frosts that kill the flower buds on older types. It grows into a 5-foot tall evergreen shrub with glossy dark-green leaves and richly-fragrant double white blossoms all summer long. It just needs a sunny, sheltered spot and plenty of water to give you the pleasure that was once only possible in the South and West. The Frost Proof Gardenia is surprising easy to grow with just a little care and it will bring its unique tropical scent to you garden – something you once could only dream of.
Regular gardenias can only be grown in the warmth of zones 8 to 10 – the South, California and coastal parts of the west coast. So if you live in a cooler area you have not been able to enjoy this luxurious flower and its unique fragrance that will fill your garden with tropical lushness. Now, thanks to the dedicated efforts of plant breeders, many, many more people can enjoy this legendary plant outdoors, with the introduction of the Frost Proof Gardenia. Since it avoids late frosts, it can be grown and successfully brought into flower in zone 7, extending significantly the places where gardenias can be grown
Growing Frost Proof Gardenias
Although Gardenias have a reputation for being difficult to grow, you really just need to give them what they want – a sheltered, sunny spot, enough water and the right fertilizers and they will thrive. They have few pests or diseases and will stay healthy and bloom well if they just receive a little care. Your Frost Proof Gardenia will grow steadily 6 inches a year or more.
Size and Appearance
The Frost Proof Gardenia grows into an evergreen shrub up to 5 feet tall and 4 feet across. The dark-green, glossy leaves are smaller than on regular gardenias, but the flowers are the same, around 2 inches across, a full double flower, with thick white petals and that unique gardenia fragrance. Older types of ‘hardy’ gardenias had poor scent and plain, single flowers, but Frost Proof is the real thing – a true, fragrant gardenia flower hardy from zone 7 all the way to zone 11.
Gardenias are easy to grow if you create the right conditions. They like acidic soil with plenty of organic material in it. However, if you don’t have acid soil you can still grow the Frost Proof Gardenia by using a special fertilizer called chelated iron, which you water onto your plant and soil in spring and again in late summer. This will give your Frost Proof Gardenia the iron it needs to keep the leaves a rich, dark green and to keep the plant strong and healthy.
Care and Maintenance
Mulch once or twice a year with compost or peat-moss and keep well-watered. Gardenias like plenty of water, so never let the soil become dry around your plant. Of course you shouldn’t keep in standing in water either, so water only when the soil is just beginning to dry out. Use a fertilizer for acid-loving plants. Apply powder fertilizers in early spring and again in mid-summer, and apply liquid fertilizers once a month from spring to September.
If a cold-snap is expected or heavy snow, wrap some plastic mesh around the plant to protect the branches from breaking. That is all the protection your Frost Proof Gardenia needs. No pruning is necessary unless you want to control the size, or make a hedge, in which case you should prune as soon as flowering is over for the season.
Gardenias do best in full sun or a mix of sun and some shade so choose a sheltered spot facing south. If you are in zone 6, shelter is important – in front of a fence or evergreen hedge would be a good location, for example. Don’t plant near freshly laid concrete, which stops the soil from being acidic. If planting a group or row, allow 2½ – 3 feet between the plants.
History and Origins of the Frost Proof Gardenia
The gardenia, or Cape jasmine (Gardenia jasminoides), grows wild from India east through Vietnam and southern China to Japan. It has been grown for its fragrance and beauty in China for a thousand years, and was first grown in America in Charleston, South Carolina around 1762. It became so popular that it was quickly spread across the South and has become a symbol of Southern life – lazy summer evenings with its intoxicating perfume drifting across the veranda. However, until now, that decadent pleasure could not be enjoyed unless you lived in warm southern areas.
Buying Frost Proof Gardenias at The Tree Center
The Frost Proof Gardenia is such a special plant that it must be produced directly from trees absolutely known to be the correct variety. Our trees are grown the correct way, from branch cuttings of these specially bred plants. That way every tree is identical to the original. However these take longer to produce, so avoid cheaper, gardenias that will only be a disappointment. If it doesn’t say ‘Frost Proof’ it isn’t the gardenia you need.
We sell only plants that are true to the original form and we always give you the best plant for your purpose. However we are constantly renewing our stock so our customers get fresh, healthy plants, so supplies of this amazing plant may be limited. If you like this plant, we invite you to browse other varieties like the August Beauty Gardenia or the ScentAmazing Gardenia.