Tabernaemontana divaricata “Florida Gardenia”
Use: Most commonly used 'en masse', this flowering shrub makes a graceful, loose hedge, or second or third tier bedding plant. Plants can also be used standing alone, or as an accent piece.
Characteristics: The common name, ‘Florida Gardenia’ comes from the Gardenia-like white flower produced on and off throughout the year. Nicely maintained at heights from 3’ to 5’ tall, Florida Gardenia has medium to large sized glossy leaves and looks good all year long.
Trimming: Hand pruning is always best, but Florida Gardenia will tolerate shearing every third month, skipping the ‘winter month’. Perform the first trim of the year in the spring (when you are certain the temperature will not drop again). Trim at least one-third off the top of the plant. Trim the front also, but do not square off. Round the top and front slightly. By performing this hard cut back in the spring when temperatures are getting warmer, plants will re-grow quickly. Do not trim after October (in most years) as new growth will be slow to come back and plants will look unsightly for a longer period of time. Monthly shearing will cause the plant to thin out significantly and inhibit flower production.
Fertilization/Pests: The plant is best suited for acid soil, but regular fertilizing can help prevent chlorosis on slightly alkaline soil. It requires frequent fertilization in highly alkaline soils. Following a hard cut, provide granular, time released fertilizer. Pest problems include scales, sooty-mold, mites, and nematodes.