Frost Proof Gardenia

How to Care for a Frost Proof Gardenia

Gardenias are one of the most popular flowers in the world and the frost proof gardenia is the newest type. Gardenias are hard-to-grow plants, much like some types of roses, and one of their essential needs has always been warmth. In the United States, for example, you could only grow gardenias in the hottest USDA hardiness zones.

While over the years a couple of types of gardenias have been cold hardier than others, none of them would keep blooming after any type of frost, even a small one. The newest frost proof gardenia is known by the scientific name of G. jasminoides Frostproof. It is hardy in USDA Zones 6 to 9.

The frost proof gardenia has beautiful emerald-green leaves and is mound-shaped. It grows as tall as five feet and is also five feet wide at maturity. This gardenia is white and has thick, double petals. It still has the same scent of the original gardenias. The difference between the frost proof gardenia and those before it is the fact that even after light frosts, the gardenia continues to live and the flowers remain on the plant, unaffected by the cold weather.

The flowers are around three inches across and bloom earlier than those of other gardenias. They like to be planted in well-drained soil which is acidic. They need to be protected from drought when young but a full-grown plant should be able to withstand all but the most severely dry conditions. The frost proof gardenia should be planted in the shade if you live in an area with lots of sun and high heat.

Because the size of this gardenia is smaller than most others, it can fit into landscapes where you might not ordinarily see gardenias of a more standard height. It can be used in yards where the garden is planted according to graduated heights. That means it can be placed under taller plants and that the frost proof gardenia can be grown under windows because the 5-foot height will not ordinarily block the view.

If you live in an area that is too cold still for this newest gardenia, you could grow one in a large pot, placing the plant outside in warm weather and inside in the winter when it gets cold. The plant is very attractive inside and it is well-suited for placement in the summer on patios and decks.

Some gardeners claim that their frost proof gardenias have lived successfully through snowy winters. They have survived winter in such Pacific Coast states as Washington and Oregon and in Midwestern states. Even Brooklyn, New York was not cold enough to deter a frost proof gardenia. Still, if you live even farther north, you will have to use the outside in the summer and inside in the winter option.

This gardenia is very resistant to pests and diseases, but that doesn’t mean entirely free of them. Aphids, whiteflies and mealybugs will bother the plant and leave a sticky, black trail on its leaves. The substance itself will not kill the plant but it will make it hard for sunlight to reach a leaf. A natural insecticide such as neem oil can help deter these bugs. The frost proof gardenia is deer-resistant. If the soil gets too wet and is not well-drained, the plant can acquire root rot.

If you are a lover of gardenias but it has always been just a little to cold in your region to grow them, you will most likely be pleased with the frost proof gardenia. The fact that requires no pruning is also a bonus.