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Gardenias Perfume the Garden
Gardenias provide a natural, sweet fragrance -- an air of tropical isles and luxuriant jungles in your own garden. The waxy-white blossoms add an exotic note and seem right at home in the climate of California gardens.
The most popular gardenias are jasminoides types. In this group are the Mystery, Veitchi and Radicans varieties. The Mystery and Veitchi ar the most common selections for California gardens, and their flowers are used in florist shops, as well. The Radicans is a dwarf from 6-8 inches high, contrasting with the usual 4-6 foot growth of the Mystery and Veitchi. Mystery loves the sun while Veitchi takes to partial shade.
Gardenia thumbergia is alother species of this plant. It is a more open, taller growing variety with pointed long leaves and large white flowers measuring three inches across. Thunbergia is not as hardy as the Mystery but is more tolerant of various soils and needs less heat.
In general, the Gardenia grows well n areas with hot days and warm nights. It requires a well-drained area and acid soil Feed an acid type commercial fertilizer each month from March to September. Some time after the first planting, apply cottonseed meal and bone meal if the soil fertility seems depleted. Watering should be done carefully during hot, dry weather. Sprinkling around the plant during very high temperatures will help maintain high humidity and lower temperatures. Regular applications of iron sulfate or chelated iron are also recommened by nurserymen.
Diferent planting situations are best matched to the climate of your locale. In climates that are near perfect, try planting en masse, hedges, and as focal points. In aras with adverse climate conditions, plant them in containers so they can be moved to protected areas when needed.
Growing gadenias is another special gadening pleasure afforded Californians because here, as in few other areas of the country, the Gardenia is an outstanding performer.
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