Growing Gardenias in Pots | Gardenia Tree Care and How to Grow it

Growing gardenias in pots require some care and attention but they worth that as gardenias are famous for their heady fragrance and beautiful appearance.

Gardenia is a subtropical shrub originated in Asia. Its large white rose-like blooms are one of the most fragrant flowers and together with its feathery green foliage, the gardenia plant looks magnificent. Keep reading this article to know about Growing Gardenias in Pots!

USDA Zones— 8 – 11

Other NamesGardenia jasminoides, cape jasmine, danh-danh, gandhraj, jasmine rose, rose jasmine

What are Gardenias?

growing gardenias in pots

Growing gardenias in pots is possible, especially if you’re short of space or live in cool temperate climate. Gardenia grows fairly easy in USDA Zones 8 to 11, below these zones, you’ll need to grow it either as a houseplant or keep it indoors in winter.

Requirements for Growing Gardenias in Pots


Choose a location that is warm, bright, and sunny. One thing you need to care for when picking a spot for your gardenia shrub is that it needs good air circulation around it.

Maintain the airflow around it, also, be careful that you don’t place it in a location from where water will spill over its foliage every now and then as water droplets can lead a fungal growth on leaves.


For growing gardenias in pots, choose a quality potting soil that is light, well-drained, and rich in organic matter. You can also use gritty mix soil for it. Clay-rich, water-retaining soil must be avoided. Soil must be acidic and pH level around 4.8 – 6 is ideal.


Water the plant deeply but only when the top one inch surface of the soil dries out. To check this, poke your index finger into the soil. In any case, avoid overwatering to prevent root rot.


Ideal humidity level is around 70%. When watering avoid misting or wetting the foliage to increase the humidity as this may cause fungal infection. Instead, place your potted gardenia on a pebble filled tray that is filled with water to increase the humidity level and moisture.


The temperature around 70 F (20 C) is optimum for gardenias, at this temperature flower buds are formed. Fluctuation in temperature damages the flower buds or they may take more time to bloom.

The temperature around 60 F – 85 F (15 C – 30 C) is ideal for its growth. Below 20 F (- 7 C) the plant faces substantial damage. Also, exposure to harsh afternoon sun in tropics, especially in summer can burn the leaves.

Also Read: How to Make a Small Fragrant Garden

Gardenia Plant Care

Gardenia jasminoides


Repot your gardenia plant every 2-3 years in late winter or early spring. While repotting, you don’t need to prune the roots as they are fine and shallow, and pruning them can cause root damage.


Generally, for gardenia, acidic fertilizers are used. You can find special fertilizer for gardenia in any garden store or online. You can also fertilize it with azalea fertilizer.

The application of Epsom salt once a month during the growing season is also essential for the proper growth of gardenia. Acidic soil is the key to growing gardenias successfully. If your soil is not acidic, add sulfur to change the pH level.

Also Read: How To Change Your Soil pH?

Pruning Gardenia

When the flowering period is over, prune your shrub slightly to maintain its beautiful compact design. Remove all the dead, damaged, or entangled branches that are crossing each other and thwarting the penetration of sun rays and airflow.


Remove spent flowers as soon as they wilt and fade. This will promote the emergence of new blooms.


Some gardenia varieties can tolerate temperatures down to 20 – 15 F (-6 to -10 C) but below this temperature, it is hard to save this beautiful flowering shrub. So, if you’re growing gardenia in a pot in the cooler climate it is better to keep the plant indoors near a South facing window during winter and provide it warmth and temperature above 50 F (10 C).

Pests and Diseases

To prevent diseases avoid overhead watering and excessive watering. The main pests that attack it are aphids, mealybugs, and spider mites.

A Few Additional Tips


Gardenia in pot

  • Don’t change the location of your gardenia again and again too often.
  • A slightly root bound gardenia plant will bloom more prolifically.
  • Used coffee grounds or tea can be a good feed for your gardenia.
  • Proper ventilation is important.

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Growing gardenias in pots require some care and attention but they worth that as gardenias are famous for their heady fragrance and beautiful appearance.


  1. Thank you for this very useful info I have purchased my first gardena tree this weekend and was overwhelmed by the beautiful smell hopefully it will continue to flower :)

  2. Should a gardenia “tree” be left in its pot since I don’t know how long its been growing in it? The tree I purchased from Sam’s Club is about 4.5′ tall in a 8″ plastic pot and lots of buds. It is in a 8″ round X 10″ high pot

  3. I just got a second gardenia plant and don’t want it to die. The first one I received as a Mother’s Day gift from my daughter and on the 3rd week the leaves started to droop and dry out. I don’t think I overwatered it and it was placed in indirect light. How do I make sure my second plant is properly taken care of?

  4. I bought another plant and repotted it the blooms are everywhere but the buds fall off before they open what am I doing wrong

  5. I got my gardenia tree for Mother’s Day, and had no knowledge of how to care for it. It had a lot of blooms but they kept falling off. With a closer look I discovered it had tiny ants. We sprayed and got rid of the ants, but the blooms started falling off again. We then discovered that it was full of mealybugs. Once we sprayed for them, my tree started to bloom. A week or so later though, there were more mealybugs, and we had to spray again. I probably lost 30 blooms when I first received my tree, because I didn’t examine it thoroughly! Check for bugs, if they’re present, spray for them, but keep checking for more eggs to hatch!

  6. You mentioned adding Epson salt to the soil once during the growing season.What are the proportions? Thank you

  7. I bought a gardenia tree and bought acid fertilizer. But I have seen some yellow leaves. I do not know if I am overwatering it but I got my finger in the soil and it was almost dry. What else can I do??????

    • I had the same problem, the most common cause for yellow leaves on the under-growth is over-watering or poor drainage. If the roots are sitting in water, the leaves will start turning yellow. Make sure your gardenia is not planted in a clay-based soil. I shifted my gardenia to an acidic soil mix and the results were immediate. The leaves stopped going yellow and the buds started blossoming. Also, the plant must not be put in direct sunlight.

  8. For buds falling off, it is also a good idea to get rid of the smaller less healthy buds so that the bigger healthier ones have a better chance of blossoming.

  9. I have a small Gardenia Bonsai that I’ve been carrying for since July. I brought her indoors for the winter. She’s been doing fine until 2 weeks ago. Her leaves have become very limp. They are turning yellow at a rapid pace. A lot of dry brown leaves too. She’s drop leaves like crazy (most are gone now). Even her green leaves. Where did I go wrong and do I have a chance to save her? Thank you.


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