Growing a Gardenia Hedge in Australia

You can plant your gardenias either in full sun or part shade but you’ll find that they will flower the best when given protection from the hot afternoon sun.

If you love the sweet scent of gardenias in bloom, you might want to consider growing a gardenia hedge.

Gardenias are ideal for hedging because they can be trimmed to create a nice shape.

Plus, their beautiful glossy leaves look great even when the plants aren’t in flower.

How to plant gardenias

Gardenia hedge | Plant care

Gardenias should be planted in well-drained soil that is rich in humus or organic matter. The soil should be slightly acidic.

You can plant your gardenias either in full sun or part shade but you’ll find that they will flower the best when given protection from the hot afternoon sun.

Gardenias are fairly easy to plant as long as you have the right soil. It’s a good idea to enrich the soil before planting by adding some compost or other types of humus.

Pro tip: Aged oak leaves mixed with some grass clipping and left to compost, make excellent humus. I did this in my last garden because there was a large oak tree in the backyard. When left for a year or so to break down, this made the richest humus that my plants absolutely loved.

To plant your gardenia hedge, mark out a straight line with some string and then dig holes around 50 to 75 cm apart. The holes should be slightly wider and as deep as the rootball of the plants. 

Carefully take the plants out of the pots and place them in each hole, spreading out the roots as much as possible. Backfill each hole and water.

It’s also a good idea to mulch your plants using something like composted wood chips. This will help to keep the soil cool and stop the moisture from evaporating too quickly.

How to care for gardenias

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Gardenias are fairly low-care but you want to ensure that you water them at least weekly. Especially in summer when conditions can be hot and dry. 

To encourage plenty of growth and gorgeous blooms, fertilise your gardenias at least once a year in spring using a fertiliser suitable for acid-loving plants. Dynamic Lifter is great for this.

You might also like to give them a dose of liquid seaweed like Seasol once a fortnight during summer. This helps to improve the structure of the soil and keeps the plants nice and healthy.

When to prune gardenias in Australia

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The best time to prune your gardenias in Australia is early autumn right after the flowers have finished. Just prune your hedge plants to keep their shape and remove any dead wood.

If you do this annually, your gardenias should grow into a nice hedge without becoming too leggy.

It’s fine to tip prune during spring in order to encourage bushy growth. But don’t take off more than the tip of a leafy stem or you might reduce the number of flowers that you get.

Gardenias will also respond to cutting the flowers if you want to bring them indoors and put them into a vase.

When cutting the flowers, make sure that the stems are around 10 to 15 cm long and always cut down to an emerging bud.

How to grow gardenias in a pot

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If you want to grow your gardenias in pots, this is easy to do.

Select a pot that is large enough to accommodate the root system of the variety that you’re growing. In essence, your gardenia will only grow as large as the root system will allow.

Make sure that you select a high-quality potting mix that is formulated for acid-loving plants such as gardenias.

You might want to add some water-holding crystals into the mix because pots generally dry out fairly quickly. In addition, add some slow-release fertiliser if the potting mix doesn’t contain any.

Place your potted gardenias in a spot that receives plenty of morning sunshine but is protected from the hot afternoon sun. Make sure that you water regularly at least once a week or even more during summer.

In order to keep the soil cooler and to reduce water evaporation, consider adding some mulch on top of the mix in the pot. Use something like composted wood chips to keep the acidity level in the soil at the optimum level.

Gardenia pests and diseases

Gardenias can be prone to a number of pests and diseases.

The worst culprits are sap-sucking insects such as aphids, mealybugs, and scale. You can treat these with an organic pest oil such as neem or white oil.

Gardenias can also be prone to root rot if the soil that they’re growing in is not free-draining.

That’s why it’s important to add plenty of organic matter to the soil before planting as this will help improve the structure and the drainage. 

Gardenia hedge spacing

Depending on the gardenia variety that you’re growing, plants should be spaced around 50 to 75 cm apart.

This will give you a nice dense hedge up to around 1 to 2 metres in height.

Gardenia varieties in Australia

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There are numerous gardenia varieties available in Australia. These include:

  • Gardenia radicans – a dwarf form that only reaches around 50 cm in height
  • Gardenia ‘Florida’ – grows to around 1 metre in height
  • Gardenia ‘Magnifica’ – a tall growing variety reaching a height of 2 metres
  • Gardenia ‘Golden Magic’ – a hybrid with lovely lemon yellow blooms
  • Gardenia ‘Aimee Yoshiba’ – small growing up to 80 cm with double blooms
  • Gardenia ‘Ocean Pearl’ – reaches 1 metre in height with pearly white blooms
  • Gardenia ‘Professor Pucci’ – with large double creamy white blooms

Gardenia hedge FAQ

Which gardenia is best for hedging?

In Australia, Gardenia ‘Florida’ is the best variety to grow as a hedge. It grows to around 1 metre in height so this makes an ideal low hedge to create defined spaces in your garden.

How tall do gardenia hedges grow?

The most common gardenia plants used for hedging in Australia are Gardenia ‘Florida’ which can grow to a height of around 1 metre and Gardenia ‘Magnifica’ which can grow to a height of around 2 metres.

When do gardenias flower?

Gardenias flower throughout late spring and summer. In Australia, most gardenias will bloom from November through to the end of May. Unopened flower buds that remain on the plant over winter will usually drop off in spring.

Do gardenias like full sun?

Gardenias should receive plenty of morning sun but it’s best to give them some protection from the scorching midday and afternoon sun. If you have to plant your gardenias in a full sun position, make sure you give them plenty of water during the hottest times of the year.

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Annette Hird

Annette Hird is a gardening expert with many years of experience in a range of gardening related positions. She has an Associate Diploma of Applied Science in Horticulture and has worked in a variety of production nurseries, primarily as a propagator. She has also been responsible for a large homestead garden that included lawn care, fruit trees, roses and many other ornamental plants. More recently, Annette has concentrated on improving the garden landscape of the homes that she has lived in and focused a lot of energy on growing edible plants as well. She now enjoys sharing her experience and knowledge with others by writing articles about all facets of gardening and growing plants.


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