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A frost-proof gardenia requires an intermediate level of care including adequate watering, abundant sunlight, soil drainage, and air circulation. This species of evergreen ornamental landscape plant, also known by its scientific name Gardenia jasmonoides, is said to be easier to maintain than traditional gardenias. It is a native Asian variety that is hardy in USDA zones 7 through 10 and can survive in colder temperatures. As an evergreen, the frost-proof gardenia will keep its lush green foliage throughout the winter. It functions well as part of a landscape or in a container.
Gardenia jasmonoides is one of few flowering species that will not lose blooms after a frost that occurs in the late spring. When growing the frost-proof gardenia out of doors, choose a sunny location with at least four full hours of direct sunlight every day. Prune this plant annually in late summer, after its blooms have faded away, using gardening shears.
Whether grown indoors in a container or used as an outdoor landscape element, a frost-proof gardenia needs adequate watering. This plant will thrive in wet but adequately drained soil that is acidic, with a pH of 5.6 to 6.0. For an outdoor hedge, supplement with hand or hose watering whenever the frost-proof gardenia receives less than an inch of rainwater in a given week. It is suggested that gardeners provide water daily to a new plant, making certain that the moisture does not simply pool around the shallow top layer of soil. Mulch can be used to help provide moisture to the roots and stifle weeds.
This plant grows well in loamy, sandy, or claylike soil. A standard fertilizer can be provided in spring, before the appearance of new growth. In very cold zones, gardeners might choose to maintain this plant in a container indoors during the winter months, placing it in a sunny location.
The frost-proof gardenia can grow to a height of 3-4 feet (0.9-1.2 m) and has a potential width of up to 6 feet (1.8 m). It typically blooms from spring until late summer, producing waxy white or ivory blossoms 2-3 inches (5-7.5 cm) wide with a sweet scent. This plant is said to resist drought, heat, mildew, disease, and deer. Good outdoor companion plants for a frost-proof gardenia might include elephant ears, lantana, and hibiscus. For container-grown specimens, the gardener could mix this gardenia with other fragrant bloomers such as lavender and jasmine.