The Frostproof Gardenia is a true breakthrough in plant selection. Unlike old-fashioned gardenias it is hardy all the way into zone 6 and 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 Frostproof 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 Frostproof Gardenia. This variety is hardy all the way into zone 6, which means gardenias in Kansas, New Jersey and Ohio – in fact all along the Great Lakes. Millions more Americans can have the pleasure of scented summer evenings.
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 Frostproof Gardenia will grow steadily 6 inches a year or more.
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.
The Frostproof 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 Frostproof is the real thing – a true, fragrant gardenia flower hardy from zone 6 all the way to zone 11.
Gardenias are easy to grow if you create the right conditions. They like an acid soil with plenty of organic material in it. However if you don’t have acid soil you can still grow the Frostproof 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 Frostproof Gardenia the iron it needs to keep the leaves a rich, dark green and to keep the plant strong and healthy.
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.
The Frostproof Gardenia is such a special plant that only the exact plant will be hardy enough to grow in zone 6. So 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 ‘Frostproof’ it isn’t the gardenia you need.
Gardenias do best in full sun or a mix of sun and some shade. 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.
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 Frostproof 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.
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. To avoid disappointment order now.