Tropical Fragrant Plants

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Gardenia vietnamensis

Common name – Vietnamese Gardenia Plant Type – Shrub

Jesse Durko’s 5 year old gardenia is about 6 feet by 6 feet in size. It is a slow to moderate grower averaging 1-2 feet a year.

Companions – Bromelliads, ferns, flax lily, and other ground covers are good choice for this gardenia.

Planting – Plant Vietnamese gardenia ¼ inch above grade to allow for settling. Locate this shrub is a full sun to part shade location for best results. Choose a site with good drainage well away from concrete.

Fertilizing – Fertilize in March, June and October with palm fertilizer.

Trimming – This gardenia is a dense grower naturally so should not need pruning if enough space is allowed for its full growth.

Water – This gardenia has moderate drought resistance, but appreciates regular irrigation.

Soil – Acid soil is the natural preference for this gardenia. Good drainage and planting away from concrete should assure success.

Salt tolerance – The Vietnamese gardenia has moderate salt tolerance. Wind tolerance – This gardenia has moderate wind resistance. The smaller size of the plant reduces wind damage.

Zone – This gardenia is hardy in zones 10-11.

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This gardenia is nicely suited for smaller properties. Vietnamese gardenia is more pest resistant than the common type and is not grafted. The more delicate fragrance will be appreciated by many.This is a good plant for fragrance.

The fragrant, white single blooms occurs throughout the year. The flowers I measured averaged 21/2 – 3 inches in width. The examples I looked at had 6 petals. The fragrance is not as cloying as the regular gardenia. Many people who find the regular gardenia fragrance too strong will like this plant.

The year-round blooming ability enhances the value of the plant. Vietnam gardenia is seldom without a few blooms. The bloom is usually the heaviest in the spring, but flowering occurs throughout the year.

Gardenia vietnamensis gives spark to this mixed planting of subtle contrasts. Vietnamese gardenias with their ever -blooming potential can make a great addition to a container garden and would be worth trying on a balcony. You can grow them shrubby and full or with some pruning trained into a standard as a small tree.

Vietnamese gardenia is much healthier than the regular grafted type. I still would be alert for the standard gardenia problems like scale and mealy bug. These pests are often indicated by sooty mold on the foliage. Ants often move the scale and mealy bugs around on the plants. Propagation – Plants are started with cuttings.

It is more alkaline tolerant and resists nematodes better so does not need to be grafted. Vietnamese gardenia also resists scale and mealy bugs more successfully than the regular gardenia. I still would keep the plant 5 feet away from any concrete as a precaution against high alkalinity.

Vietnamese gardenia should live at least 100 years. Space plants 3 feet apart if a shrub border or informal hedge is needed.

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Tahitian Gardenia
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Rondeletia odorata
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Tabernaemontana grandiflora

Dwarf Florida gardenia blooms on and off year round and does not have the sooty mold susceptibility of the showy grafted gardenias.