S & J Tree Farm and Nurserys Guide to Growing
Gardenia August Beauty
for Northeast Florida,
Jacksonville | St. Augustine area Landscapes
(Gardenia jasminoides ‘August Beauty’ )
Origins of Gardenia August Beauty/ Gardenia jasminoides ‘August Beauty’:
–The evergreen, deciduous shrub, August Beauty is native to South-East Asia. It grows wild from India into Vietnam and Southern China to Japan. It has been grown for its fragrance and beauty in China for a thousand years, and was first grown in America in Charleston , South Carolina in the mid 1700’s . Gardenias have been a part of American gardens for over 250 years, since plants were first brought to Charleston, South Carolina from China. Indeed, even their name is American, since the botanist John Ellis had the plant named after his friend and fellow naturalist Dr. Alexander Garden, who had a medical practice in Charleston.
– Its chief propose for early cultivation was for the cut flower industry as a heavy fragrance corsage. Its popularity meant that it quickly spread across the South and has become a symbol of Southern life.
Preferred Exposure for Gardenia August Beauty:
– Gardenia August Beauty may be planted into part shade situations here in the Northeast Florida, Jacksonville | St. Augustine area landscape. Most gardenia cultivars tend to do best with a morning sun and afternoon shade exposure.
– Growing in garden locations with gardenias in too much shade grow long, spindly stems with weak, thin leaves. They do not form as many flower buds, and the buds may drop off before they open. The flowers on gardenias in full all day sun here in Florida have a tendency to drop as buds before they open and when opened turn brown faster than those planted into partially shaded garden areas. Gardenias bloom better in areas with high humidity and daytime temperatures from 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Periods of shade increase the humidity and lower the temperature around gardenias.
Foliage of the Gardenia August Beauty:
– The August Beauty Gardenia is a evergreen shrub with rounded, rich, light medium green, glossy foliage and enormous, rose-like pure white blossoms that fill your garden with a wonderful fragrance. Will be evergreen in our subtropical climate zone for Jacksonville and St. Augustine areas of Northeast Florida and deciduous in areas farther North into zone 8a and above.
Soil Preference/Salt tolerance of Gardenia August Beauty :
–Gardenias need acidic soil with a pH between 5 and 6.5 for optimal growth in our North Florida | Jacksonville | St. Augustine area. They prefer well-drained, organic soil and regular irrigation. Gardenias have shallow roots that can be damaged by cultivation.
–Gardenia August Beauty shrubs have a low salt tolerance and should be avoided for coastal plantings.
Size Variance of Gardenia August Beauty :
– Gardenia August Beauty can reach sizes of 4-6 feet High | 3-4 feet Wide
Growth Habit of Gardenia August Beauty :
– Gardenia August Beauty has a round, bushy habit .
–Freezing temperatures can cause gardenias to lose their leaves or die back, but they usually grow back in the spring. To protect them from drying winter winds, plant them to the east or north of buildings or other structures.
Growth Rate of Gardenia August Beauty :
– Moderate growth rate at 1-2′ per year. A compact shrub and is easily maintained with minimal pruning.
Blooms of Gardenia August Beauty :
–August Beauty Gardenias get their name because they bloom deep into summer – no other gardenias bloom this vibrantly in August.
–August Beauty Gardenia is a prolifically blooming variety that produces very sweetly fragrant flowers, velvety white, large flowers from early spring and into the fall. The double flowers are extremely fragrant with a spread of about 3″ inches.
–Blooms are loosely funnel-shaped, and are double-flowered form. The flowers are very attractive to birds, bees, and other pollinators.
–The fruit is not ornamentally significant.
Water Requirements of Gardenia August Beauty :
– Water is essential for flower development. There is a strong correlation between available soil moisture and the number of flower buds that remain on a plant to maturity. During periods of water stress, a plant will drop many flower buds before opening, diverting limited water to roots instead of blooms. To avoid this problem, maintain an evenly moist soil, but avoid overwatering, as gardenias do not like wet feet.
– Watering your newly planted smaller shrubs and flowers
Butterfly or Bird Attracting:
– Attracts butterflies hummingbirds and other pollinators to the garden. Long season blooms provide and excellent nectar source.
Best Uses For Gardenia August Beauty:
– Gardenia August Beauty is a compact selection that will be best used as middle layer or backdrop of home foundation plantings.
– Gardenias blooming year after year, bringing lovely color, texture and fragrance to your garden.
– Plant August Beauty in strategic places where you and your guests can enjoy it most…in transition areas (entry to a gazebo, doorways, a gate), near a deck or walkway.
–The perfect plant for filling blank walls of foundation planting adjacent to doors and windows that let the fragrance in. Enjoy the same as a sideyard filler. Large enough to be an informal hedge or screen at outdoor living areas, porch or patio and even around a spa. Exceptional background plant for Asian inspired garden design. Works just as well in tropical garden often wanting for flowers.
Care of S & J Nursery’s North Florida | Jacksonville | St. Augustine Abelia
–Plants will begin setting flower buds for the following season by late summer, so avoid pruning beyond mid-summer.
– Rejuvenation pruning means you will miss out on the current year’s flowers. “August Beauty” may flower in midsummer even after you’ve cut it back hard because of its habit of flowering on the season’s new wood. If rejuvenation isn’t necessary, try spurring your gardenia into new growth with a lighter general pruning. Trim branches by 2 to 3 inches just after flowering ends, from May to July. Do not prune any gardenia too late in the season, usually after August but as late as October in some areas. The resulting tender green shoots will not have time to harden and will be killed by a frost or freeze.
–Feed with an acid fertilizer after bloom- Apply fertilizer once in the spring after the threat of frost has passed, and again six weeks later.
–Gardenias use a lot of nutrients to produce so many glorious blossoms. Feed your shrubs by applying an acidic, slow-release fertilizer such as an azalea or camellia fertilizer.
–For the organic gardener, add plenty of lime-free organic material when preparing the planting spot (Lime serves the opposite purpose; it improves soil alkalinity—not acidity). Well-rotted pine-bark, blood meal, fish emulsion or bone meal work well.
–Even if you find your soil is not acidic enough you can still grow the August Beauty Gardenia by using a special fertilizer called chelated iron, which you water onto your plant and soil in spring and again in late summer. This will provide the iron your plant needs to keep the leaves a rich, dark green and to keep it strong, healthy and flowering well.
–Add a layer of composted plant material or cow manure and top with a layer of mulch to add nutrients to the soil and help it retain moisture.
– not particular about soil components and grow equally as well in sandy soils as they do in clay.
–Gardenias should not be planted near concrete surfaces; the run-off is usually alkaline and will raise the pH of the soil.
– Amend sandy soils generously with a good quality compost when planting to help your Gardenia plants get established quickly.
Here is a link to S & J Tree Farm and Nursery Guide to Planting Your Plants into their New Home
– Water every day during the establishment period after planting in the harden from an S & J Nursery container. Be sure to continue supplemental irrigation during the hot summer months during prolonged droughts. Here is a link for S & J Tree Farm and Nursery’s information on how to water your newly installed plantings in the Northeast Florida landscape
– Fertilize once each season. Gardenias are heavy feeders and it takes a lot of nutrients to make all those big beautiful flowers. Fertilize with ACID LOVING plant food in early spring, early summer and early fall. I like to use Hollytone or Osmocote for Azaleas and Camellias, (the purple label).
–Mulch thickly at least once a year with arborist wood chips Pine bark or pine straw. Pine Straw is my personal favorite but all of these break down quickly in the landscape, aid in moisture retention and improve the soil structure over time.
– Make your last summer pruning in August or September giving your Gardenia plant ample time to recover growing new foliage that will harden off before winter arrives for us here in late December. Pruning too late into the fall will cause flushes of cold sensitive new growth that can freeze during a heavy frost. If you get tip burn, wait until all danger of frost has past for your area and trim below the damaged tips.