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How to Raise Gardenias in Pots

gardenias growing in a pot

The common gardenia (Gardenia jasminoides) grows as a bushy shrub and produces white flowers cherished for their sweet fragrance. With adequate water, sufficient drainage, an acidic soil and plenty of sunlight, gardenias can grow just as well in pots as they do planted in the ground.


Place enough organic topsoil to fill a pot halfway, then mix in one or two handfuls of coffee grounds. This makes the soil more acidic. Finish filling the pot almost to the top with topsoil. Crush a few dead leaves and mix them with the soil to help the soil retain its pH level. The pot should be at least 4 inches wider than the plant’s root ball so the plant has plenty of soil to support it. Choose a pot with drainage holes.


Dig a hole by hand in the soil. Place the plant in the pot, deep enough to cover the root ball. Pat the soil back in place over the root ball and around the stem.


Place the gardenia in a sunny spot outdoors. Gardenias thrive in temperatures above 73 degrees Fahrenheit, so it will do well outside. If temperatures drop below 55 F, bring the pot inside, and place it in a window that receives at least eight hours of indirect sunlight. Set the pot in a drainage saucer to protect the floor or table surface from spilled water.


Water the gardenia when the soil is almost dry. This will probably be every day or every other day. The water should saturate the soil and run out of the pot’s drainage holes. If the plant is inside, empty the drainage saucer so the plant is not sitting in water.


Remove dead leaves to encourage growth. Move the plant to a bigger pot when you have to water the plant more often. Repot once flowering is complete in late spring.


Check leaves regularly for spider mites, whiteflies and other pests. If you find these pests, spray the plant with an insect spray according to the product’s label. Dark mold on gardenia leaves is an indication of scale insects. Treat the scale with a horticultural oil spray, and wash the mold off with soapy water.


Fertilize with 1/2 teaspoon iron sulfate in 1 quart of water once a month.

gardenias growing in a pot

Things You Will Need

  • Flower pot
  • Organic topsoil
  • Coffee grounds
  • Dead leaves
  • Drainage saucer
  • Watering can
  • Insect spray
  • Horticultural oil
  • Soap
  • Iron sulfate


  • Gardenias are sensitive to transition. Be gentle when moving the plant from one pot to another, keeping as much dirt around the root ball as possible when transferring.