Last summer, I wrote about how much I liked a new gardenia cultivar, 'Jubilation.' It was purported to be more hardy than some of the others and I liked the fact that it was a a re-bloomer. I bought two plants and put them in pots for the summer. (Read the complete rationale for choosing this cultivar by clicking here.)
Fearing I might lose the gardenias over the winter in pots, I planted them in the ground as fall approached. I put one of them in a bed near the patio, and the other in a bed near the garage, thinking those would be the best sites to enjoy that wonderful gardenia fragrance. I did this with some trepidation, as both beds adjoin the house and have both bad soil (I think the previous owners must have used a lot of cheap, bagged topsoil in those beds) and drainage issues. I amended the soil in the areas where I planted the gardenias and crossed my fingers, hoping for the best.
The gardenia planted by the garage began to decline almost immediately, and I took it out before winter ever arrived. The other one survived the winter but looks awful. If I did not consider it a challenge to see if I can get it to live, I would probably call it quits on this one, too. I think my problems growing 'Jubilation' are not problems with the cultivar but rather the growing conditions I put it in.
Earlier this spring, I came across a small pot of 'Jubilation' and so I bought it to put in a pot for the summer. Growing in a pot may have to be the only solution for me if I want to grow a gardenia in the particular locations I picked out. Here's what that gardenia looked like this morning. That little plant is loaded with blooms and its fragrance is wonderful. Even the old blooms look good, fading to a butter yellow before they eventually fall off.
While I would really like to have gardenias in the ground in the locations I picked out, I obviously need to do a lot more work on the soil in those beds before they will be suitable for gardenias. In the fall, this gardenia will go into the sunroom for the winter, and next spring I will re-pot it to enjoy on the patio in the summer.