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This cold hardy variety is one of the earliest blooming of all the Gardenia Shrubs. Frost Proof Gardenia has the benefit of fragrant white blooms and richly colored glossy green leaves that remain full throughout the winter. They make great shrub border plants or can be used as outdoor container plants.

At maturity, the Frost Proof Gardenia will reach about 4 to 5 feet tall and wide. The Frost Proof Gardenia requires at least an inch of rain (or equivalent watering) each week to start but will become drought tolerant once it is established. Applying a 2 to 4 inch layer of organic mulch will help retain its moisture during this time and will also help to keep down the weeds.

When planting this gardenia, it is important to remember that it prefers full sun. In heavy heat locations, the morning sun and the afternoon shade will make the best combination for your gardenia to thrive. Good air circulation is important, but protection from strong, cold winter winds is advised.

How to Plant the Frost Proof Gardenia: Dig the hole for your Gardenia wide enough to allow about 12 inches of clearance all the way around the plants container. Dig the hole deep enough to allow the plant to rest in the hole with its soil mark slightly higher than ground level. Carefully remove your plant from its container and place it gently in the hole.

Fill in the hole with soil and moisten each layer of soil with water. You might want to use the handle end of your shovel to help tamp the soil and remove all air spaces. Mound the earth so that when the soil settles it will return to ground level. You may also want to make a ridge of soil around the rim of the hole.

This will help keep water around your gardenia when it is watered. Mulching helps keep the moisture around the root system of your gardenia and protects the roots from extreme hot and cold temperatures. A 2- to 4- inch layer of mulch is ideal. There are a variety of mulches you can use, such as wood chips, leaf litter, pine straw, peat moss, or shredded bark.

For container gardenias, start by watering once a week until water runs out the bottom. As the plant increases in size and if the temperature increases, watering twice a week may become necessary. Plants in the ground should be on the same schedule with enough water applied to go to the bottom of the root ball. The top 2 to 3 inches of soil should be dry before the plant is watered again.