Tropical gardenias

Monday, November 23, 2015

What a glorious day for a walk in the Garden. The breeze, lower humidity and pleasant temperature were certainly welcome after the long and exceptionally hot summer. The lower humidity made flowers especially pretty, from the grand red Heliconia Mariae x Pogonantha var. holerythra ‘Bushmaster’ (whew! that’s a name) at the edge of the rainforest to the charming Gardenia carinata near the Overlook.

The gardenia, with a subdued gardenia perfume, opens white and turns golden yellow. It likes an acid soil, and so if we want to grow it, we ought to add iron and magnesium (Epson salt) in addition to acid forming fertilizer, such as those made for azaleas . My own Tahitian gardenia (Gardenia tatiensis) is not fussy about soil and I give it the palm special (8-2-12 plus micronutrients) that I apply to everything else. Full sun is the light requirement, and it is irrigated twice a week (though not at all when rains have been frequent as they were recently).

Two flowers of Gardenia carinata

Gardenia tahitiensis