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You won't believe the size of the flowers on First Love® Gardenia (Gardenia jasminoides 'Aimee'). Huge, fully double, and intoxicatingly fragrant, these blooms grow up to 5 inches across on mature shrubs. The blossoms are so large that they resemble pure-white roses, but they bloom earlier than your rose bushes and they're even more fragrant! That Classic Fragrance As each velvety white petal unfurls, you'll revel in the breathtaking scent of gardenia blossoms, which may evoke memories of garden strolls or veranda visits with a friend or loved one. Perfume makers have capitalized on the fragrance of gardenia flowers throughout time, but you don't have to rely on the bottled version when you can grow the living shrub right in your own back yard! This is definitely a shrub you'll want to plant near your favorite outdoor sitting area, such as a porch or patio, to enjoy the rich fragrance. You can even plant First Love® Gardenia at the base of your two-story deck to catch the fragrance as it wafts upward on a warm summer night. A Tabletop Cutie Although your First Love® Gardenia plant will eventually grow from 5 to 8 feet tall, you'll enjoy its tabletop size while it's young. In fact, it grows so beautifully and easily in containers that you may decide to keep it potted instead of transplanting it in your yard. Growing First Love® Gardenia in a container is the perfect way to enjoy a flowering evergreen plant on your patio. And if you place the potted plant near an open window, you'll even be able to savor the fragrance of its flowers while you're inside as well as outdoors! Long Bloom Season Your First Love® Gardenia begins blooming in springtime and continues throughout early summer. This overlapping of seasons fills your garden's floral transition by bridging the gap from spring-blooming flowers to summer blossoms. When the gardenia blossoms fade, removing them may encourage more flowers later in the season. Unparalleled Cut Flowers A single First Love® Gardenia flower will perfume an entire room! If you enjoy the sweet scent at bedtime, place a bud vase on your nighttime stand or bedroom vanity. Do you like a cut-flower arrangement on the table in your foyer? Add stems of fragrant gardenia blossoms for a white complement to the colorful flowers in your foyer arrangement. If you're planning an elegant spring or summer luncheon, float gardenia blossoms in a china bowl that's filled halfway with water. Glossy Evergreen Evergreen shrubs bring your yard and garden alive in winter when deciduous plants have lost their leaves. During spring and summer, your landscape is a sea of green from deciduous plants, but in fall and winter, evergreen plants truly shine. First Love® Gardenia has deep-green leaves that have a perpetually glossy sheen. The lustrous foliage densely covers plants to give each shrub a full coat of leaves no matter the season of the year. Formal Flowering Hedge If you decide to plant your Tabletop First Love® Gardenia in your yard, consider planting a row of these shrubs as an exquisite flowering hedge. Space plants five to six feet apart by measuring the length of the area (in feet) you want to enhance with a gardenia hedge, and dividing the total length by five or six for an estimate of how many First Love® Gardenia plants you'll need. Over time, as the shrubs grow, they'll form a solid hedge that stays green year-round and bursts into bloom to fill the air with fragrance in spring and summer! The Romantic Look of a Cottage Garden Even though the original Victorian cottage gardens were designed around modest cottages, you can give your landscape (or part of it) a trendy cottage-garden design even if you live in a large home. A white-picket fence is not a required component of a cottage garden, but that addition (or a natural-wood fence) adds definition to your cottage garden. A First Love® Gardenia plant strategically placed inside the corner of a fenced enclosure provides a focal point that anchors other plants in a cottage garden. And if you don't have a constructed fence, you can plant First Love® Gardenias as a living fence to enclose your cottage garden! The Luminous Look of a Moonlight Garden Moonlight Gardens are becoming trend-setting features in today's landscape designs. They offer cool and tranquil twilight or evening retreats away from the hustle and bustle of daytime activities. It's your chance to unwind at the end of the day and simply enjoy sitting in your garden. Moonlight gardens are designed with two prominent features in mind '– sight and fragrance. You use light-colored foliage plants and white-flowering plants that reflect the light of the moon and illuminate the garden after the sun sets. First Love® Gardenia is the perfect plant for any moonlight garden '– its huge 5-inch double white flowers shine in the moonlight while perfuming the night air! Two Advantages of Growing in Containers Growing First Love® Gardenia in a container is not just an easy way to care for your plant, but it may also keep it healthier than growing it in the ground for these reasons: • Containers allow the water to drain easily from the soil, which helps keep the roots from rotting. • You can control the soil environment much more easily in pots than in the ground, which is especially important for growing gardenias. Gardenias must have acidic soil to grow their best (a pH of 5.0 to 6.0 is optimal), and commercial potting mixes typically are formulated within this pH range. If the soil in your landscape is alkaline (a higher pH than most potting mixes), gardenia foliage can turn yellow. Protecting Plants in Winter A container plant's root system is more cold-sensitive than an in-ground root system because it lacks the insulation of surrounding soil. So if you decide to continue growing your Tabletop First Love® Gardenia in a pot, you may need to give it a bit of protection during winter, depending on where you live: • In the ground. First Love® Gardenia is a perennial in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 8 through 11. This means that Zone 8 is the coldest zone where First Love® Gardenia will reliably survive winters ?… when grown in the ground. If you live in Zones 6 or 7, you may still grow this plant if you give it a little protection by covering it with landscape fabric or a lightweight sheet when temperatures dip below 20 degrees F. if you live in a zone that's colder than Zone 6, cover the plant's crown with mulch as deeply as possible, and be sure to remove the mulch when temperatures warm in spring. • In containers year-round. As a rule of thumb, you'll add two growing zones to a plant's coldest perennial range to determine the coldest zone where it will reliably survive winter temperatures in a container. For example, adding two zones to Zone 8 means that the coldest zone where you can grow First Love® Gardenia unprotected in a container year-round is Zone 10. • In containers elsewhere. If you live in Zones 8 or 9, you'll need to protect your potted First Love® Gardenia during the winter. All you have to do is move the container to a sheltered location, such as against your home where it's clustered with other potted plants, which you can easily cover with landscape fabric when temperatures dip below freezing, or to an unheated garage or shed. You can also wrap the container with several layers of thick bubble wrap or burlap, or you can use an old blanket to wrap around the pot. If you live in a zone that's colder than Zone 8, your potted plant's best chance of winter survival is in an unheated space, such as a garage or shed. Keep it watered lightly; don't let the soil dry completely. Gardenia Growing Secrets With a little attention to a few details, your First Love® Gardenia will be healthy and happy: • Planting. Set your gardenia in a pot that's about twice the size of your plant's shipped container, and ensure that the top of its root ball is slightly higher than the surface of the soil. Use organic soil mix. • Sun exposure. An ideal site is one that receives at least four to six hours of morning sun each day and afternoon shade or filtered sun in the afternoon. Simpl place in front of a sunny window in your home! • Water. Moist soil that never becomes saturated with standing water is best.