Gardenia Winter Care

Gardenias are a tropical plant and do best in warmer climates.  They have dark green leaves and creamy white flowers with an amazing scent.  They cannot survive in freezing cold temperatures without substantial damage so it is important to know your growing zone and also the type of shrub you have growing and how cold hardy they are.

If you live where the temperatures drop and freeze during the winter months you may consider planting your Gardenia in a container that can be moved to a warmer spot during the winter months.

If your growing zone experiences just the occasional cold snap then monitoring the weather and giving them some special care on chilly nights by covering them with some cloth or a cardboard box should help them survive a sudden yet brief cold snap.

Cutting Back Gardenias For Winter

Gardenias only require occasional pruning to keep their size and shape.  This is best done in the late summer after the last flower has bloomed.  During the winter months, the shrub goes semi-dormant but you do not want to prune it at this time.  You could damage small developing buds that will become flowers once spring arrives.


Gardenia Winter Care in Pots

If your Gardenias are planted in containers or pots.  They can be moved to covered location and the containers wrapped with heavy blankets, cardboard or even plastic bubble wrap recycled from your trash bin.  This works well for milder climates that experience an occasional frost or freeze.  For growing zones with constant freezing temperatures and even snow, you will want to move your containers inside a garage or greenhouse during the winter months.

Watering Gardenias in Winter

Your gardenia plant is semi-dormant during the winter months so it does not need a lot of watering. Make sure the soil doesn't completely dry out by testing the moisture level with your finger. Gardenias are especially sensitive to wet feet in the winter and should not be overwatered. 

Growing Gardenias Indoors

You can move your gardenia shrubs indoors but they will need special care as they really are not designed as indoor plants.  They require a certain amount of bright sunlight so place them in a sunny spot.  They also need cool temps in the evening.  So a room that is not heated or cooler at night works best.  They also enjoy a bit of humidity. 

Spray your plants daily with a plant mister or place the container on top of a tray of pebbles with some water added for extra moisture.  You will also want to inspect your plant frequently for pests as indoor gardenias often attract white flies and other small flying pests. 

Steps To Care For Gardenias in Winter

Step 1 - Prune your Gardenia in the late summer.

Step 2 - Turn off water to outdoor planted shrubs.

Step 3 - Move Gardenias in containers to warmer locations that receive sunlight.

Step 4 - Keep soil moist and apply a slow release fertilizer.

Step 5 - Monitor your weather report and cover shrubs and containers if temperatures drop.

Step 6In the spring when new leaves begin to appear, inspect your shrubs and prune any dead or damaged branches from the plant. 

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Author Janice Cox - Published 11-09-2021