Carefully choose where to plant the shrubs. By planting close to your house, you can enjoy the scent of the blooms from a deck or through an open window. But too close may mean that the soil pH may become too high for the plants to thrive. Keep in mind that gardenias need a lot of light, but can't tolerate heat.
Test the soil pH before planting. You want a value between 5 and 6. Add sulfur to the soil if necessary to get the proper reading.
Plant the shrubs in spring or fall, spacing them between 3 and 6 feet apart. Generally, you want the holes to be no deeper than the root ball and twice as wide. Amend the soil only if it's in very poor condition.
Top the soil with mulch to keep it cool and moist. Ensure that the shrubs get at least an inch of water every week.
Feed often with an acidifying fertilizer, taking care to maintain the proper pH.
Prune in early spring, before the shrubs start to flower, to shape the bushes. Deadhead when the first flowers drop to encourage subsequent blooms.
Check for pests such as white flies, spider mites and mealy bugs, and use a horticultural oil or insecticidal soap to control them.
Protect the shrubs from harsh, drying winter winds and hard freezes.
Do not over water!