Georgia Gardener Newsletter Cool Plant: August 23, 2007

Variegated Radicans Gardenia
Gardenia jasminoides 'Radicans Variegata'
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Species Native Range: China
Hardiness: USDA Zones 8-10 (+10 degrees)
Mature Size: 1-2 feet tall and 3-5 feet wide
Exposure: Sun to partial shade
Soil: Rich, well-drained
Ease of Culture: Easy

I can remember as a child the sweet aroma of gardenias blooming outside the back door of my grandmother's house in Savannah. Right outside the back kitchen door was an old (and very large) August Beauty Gardenia. This plant was easily 6-8 feet tall and wide and had nearly overgrown the back stoop.

With today's smaller gardens, it's still possible to have the wonderful smell of a gardenia but in a plant that is perfect for beds and borders without taking over the entire space. Only reaching about 1-2 feet tall, this slowly expanding evergreen shrub with green and cream variegated leaves works well in foundation plantings, at the edges of beds, along walkways and near patios - anywhere its fragrance can be enjoyed.

Grow VR Gardenias in a sunny to partially shady location. I have found these shrubs do like a bit of protection from the hot afternoon sun. North of Atlanta, they should be planted in a protected location as winter temperatures in the teens can cause some slight damage. They can be covered with a sheet on the coldest of nights.

Combine VR Gardenias with other shrubs such as Loropetalums, Encore Azaleas or David Viburnums and low-growing perennials such as Dianthus, Creeping Phlox, etc. Because of the small size, they can also be easily grown in containers.

I would advise to hold off planting until later in September when the weather has cooled and hopefully we've had some rain.

Note: All Gardenias are susceptible to whiteflies in the spring and summer. It's recommended that you begin treating your gardenias BEFORE you see these tiny flying insects. Use Bayer Advanced Tree and Shrub Insect Control as a drench to help prevent whiteflies.


This shrub is widely available at retail nurseries.

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