Originally found in tropical and subtropical regions, the Gardenia is a beautiful flowering genus that belongs to the Rubiaceae “coffee” family of plants.
Hailing from Australia, Aisa, Africa, the Pacific Islands, and Madagascar, Gardenias are now found all around the world.
Technically small evergreen trees and shrubs, these gorgeous species grow anywhere from just under three feet to as tall as 50 feet high and have 2 to 5 inch wide flowers.
Gardenia’s leaves are dark, glossy, and measure between 2 inches and nearly 20 inches long, and roughly 1 to 10 inches wide.
As gorgeous as they are though, they may take a while to grow.
How Fast Do Gardenias Grow?
There are at least 140 to 200 known species of Gardenia, including slow, moderate, and faster growers. Slow-growing types add 10 to 12 inches of new growth per year. Moderate growing types add two feet or less yearly. The fastest-growing species add more than two feet of annual growth.
Gardenia Growth Rate
Typical Gardenia bushes and trees have what is considered a moderate growth rate. That means that they develop between one and two feet of new growth each year.
That said, there are so many species of Gardenia bushes and trees, including hybrids, that they can’t all be classified as moderate growers.
At any rate, it is safe to say the average Gardenia shrub grows less than two feet per year.
Further, if grown from seeds, they take approximately two to three years to begin blooming with flowers. But, if started from cuttings, it is possible to see blooms within a single year.
Where Should I Plant My Gardenias for the Fastest Growth?
Gardenias grow the fastest when they get plenty of early and mid-morning shade in warmer climates. In hot climates, they require placement with at least partial shade during the mid-day or their growth may slow down.
In cool climates, Gardenias do the best when planted where the full sun beams down directly on them. That said, they need their roots covered completely.
If growing in containers, Gardenias should be protected from direct sunlight. If indoors, place them by a window that gets tons of sun or under direct bright light.
How Much Light Do Gardenias Need to Grow Fastest?
If you want your Gardenias to grow as fast as possible, they need a great deal of light. Depending on the climate zone you are located in, the amount varies.
For hotter climates, ample morning sun is enough Gardenias. In cooler climates, they can handle the sun all day long.
How Often Do Gardenias Need Water to Maintain Steady Growth?
To promote fast growth, you’ll need to give plenty of attention to your watering schedule. In warm climates, water your Gardenias once or twice a week at most. In cooler climates, a full watering every 10 to 15 days is best.
In extreme heat, all bets are off and you’ll need to check the soil around the base of the Gardenias. If the top couple of inches is bone dry go ahead and give them an extra watering.
What Sort of Fertilizer Makes Gardenias Grow Fastest?
Gardenias are acid-loving plants. Hence, they prefer an acidic soil type with an approximate pH level of 5.5. Common acidic fertilizers perfect for Gardenias include cottonseed meal, blood meal, fish emulsion, and other premixed soil mixes.
You can find these popular fertilizers or soil mixes at your local department stores such as Walmart, Homedepot, or Lowes as well as online at Amazon or eBay.
How Far Apart Should You Plant Gardenias for Fast Growth?
Generally speaking, Gardenia’s need to be planted around four or five feet apart. For the fastest growth possible, consider your climate zone, and how much light they need before planting them.
In hotter climates, they should be placed roughly three feet from each other. That way, after basking in the morning sun they will provide each other with plenty of shade.
A six-foot distance between each tree is preferable for planting Gardenias in cooler climates.
Just remember to make the hole as deep as the root ball’s width and twice as wide.
Fast Gardenia Growing Tips and Tricks
Gardenias are considered hard to grow, so let’s have a look at a few tips and tricks for growing gardenia’s fast:
Give Them Coffee (or Tea)
Believe it or not, you’re not the only one who benefits from a strong cup of coffee (coffee grounds) or tea. Coffee is actually one of the most preferred homemade fertilizers for Gardenias.
In addition, they also benefit from tea. They love coffee and tea due to the high amounts of potassium, magnesium, and nitrogen they contain.
You can simply save your coffee grounds and tea bags during the week and apply them to the soil your Gardenias grow in.
Another great addition to your Gardenia’s soil is Epsom salt or clean wood ashes.
Baby Your Gardenias
You may be surprised to hear it, but not only do Gardenia’s enjoy coffee, but they also benefit from being pampered.
That said, babying your Gardenia is quite a bit different than babying your loved ones.
Babying Gardenia’s revolves around, first and foremost, keeping their soil aerated and moist.
Keeping an eye on the temperatures they are exposed to also helps. If you want them to grow quickly and steadily, keep them warm in the day and cool at night.
Grow Them In Pots
One of the best tips for growing Gardenias quicker than the average guy is by growing them in pots. When grown in pots they are much easier to monitor and baby properly.
Potted gardenias grow more quickly and steadily than the ones planted in the ground. They are easier to water, have better drainage, are easier to fertilize, and are more portable.
Growing them in pots is also much less work for you!
Take Your Gardenias Inside During the Winter
One last tip that will help your Gardenia grow faster and bloom quicker than your neighbors is to take it inside during the wintertime. Inside, your plant will enjoy the extra protection from the harsh weather and temperatures it would otherwise be exposed to outside.
Simply bring the Gardenia inside and make sure that it gets adequate light, whether from your lightest window or from a direct overhead light.
Marcel runs the place around here. He has a deep passion for houseplants & gardening and is constantly on the lookout for yet another special plant to add to his arsenal of houseplants, succulents & cacti.
Marcel is also the founder of Iseli International Commerce, a sole proprietorship company that publishes a variety of websites and online magazines.