Hardy gardenias

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gardening in the Pacific Northwest' started by SoCal2warm, Apr 1, 2019.

  1. SoCal2warm

    SoCal2warm Active Member

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    Location:
    Olympia, WA
    in Olympia, Washington state
    it was a colder Winter than usual here

    two 'Crown Jewel' hardy gardenias did well through the Winter here. they are planted on the South-facing side of the house, and were buried under 40 cm of snow (which is not common here). The leaves initially began turning a yellowish-green color hue, but none of the leaves were lost, and now that things are warming up the leaves have been turning back to a deeper green hue. It made it through the Winter very well, in fact I was a bit surprised.

    also have a 'Summer Snow' gardenia that doesn't look as well, but it did survive. Most of the leaves withered and turned brown, but there are just a few small green leaves (yellowish-green hue in color) at the very bottom near the ground. It's in a colder shadier spot in the yard further away from the house.

    these gardenias were not protected. Olympia gets maybe just 2 degrees colder than Seattle at night.


    And that's not all, here's an archive of anecdotal reports I've compiled from browsing around different forums:

    Chuck Hayes is supposed to be particularly suited for the PNW. This may be because it tolerates the hot dry summers better, or it may be it is able to grow a bit better in the cooler earlier part of the growing season, perhaps because it's one of the few hardy varieties that's not dwarfed in growing habit.

    One person in Alabama commented their Frostproof gardenias did not survive in their zone 7/6b climate. (Perhaps she should have covered them with a bag and mulch to protect them)

    I read that hardy gardenias can make it through the Winter in Southern New Jersey, zone 7, if planted in a somewhat protected site close to a wall and out of the wind. Frostproof, Daisy, variegata, and Chuck Hayes have all survived there.

    Someone in East Tennessee, zone 6b/7a, said that their Frost Proof had been hit hard by two Winters in a row, wasn't doing well, and from the looks of it he expected it would not survive the next Winter. He claimed it was growing right next to a Mystery which was 8 feet tall, and he also said Daisy and Chuck Hayes did well for him. This could be a fluke because obviously Mystery is not [supposed to be] as hardy as Frost Proof. There are several potential explanations, like maybe it was mislabeled, or maybe what was killing it was the Summer not the Winter.

    Houzz garden forum - Newer Gardenias for zone 6? (post #4)

    These reports are from the South and I haven't read any reports of gardenias surviving in anything less than zone 8 in the cooler PNW.

    Some comments said that the wet rainy cold Winters can cause the roots to rot, so they should be planted in a very well drained location. Perhaps covered with a plastic sheet over the Winter to prevent the soil getting too wet.

    Someone else commented that they planted a Kleim's Hardy in Tacoma up against a house which was growing fine outside for 5 years.

    Someone else in Oregon, zone 8, said they had three Kleim's Hardy gardenias that had survived a Winter outside in pots, and then after being planted in the ground they did great and put out many flowers.

    Mark Clipsham commented on *******.com (P-e-r-m-i-e-s) : "I visited Seattle about two years ago and was surprised to see gardenias that had been hacked back because they had gotten overgrown among other things." Not sure how much truth there could be to that, it does sound a little bit exaggerated, or could be possible he misidentified the plant.

    Someone left this comment: " Some of the Gardenias that we use in the Pacific Northwest are the following Kleim’s Hardy, Frost Proof, and Chuck Hayes. ... I have a number of clients growing gardenias successfully in the Seattle area "

    Ask-a-Dave's-Gardener:Can I grow Gardenia in the UK?

    Someone else commented he read a post from a member in this forum who has gardenia Veitchii growing in the ground in Bremerton.

    Houzz garden forum - Pittosporum tobira (post #6)

    (Veitchii is not a hardy variety, and if the variety was actually Veitchii it was probably surviving due to luck)

    A comment by someone else in Olympia, WA: "Really bad winters only happen about every 5-7 years. I try not to grow anything more than a zone warmer than my location (8a) and I protect plants to made sure they don’t have foliage damage. I don’t get depressed when a plant dies, I look at it as a new opportunity to try a new plant or better variety. I did some experimenting with foliage hardiness this time around. For example its taken me years of trail to finally fine the best gardenia for the PNW and (for the right one to come along). That gardenia is called ‘frost proof’. With just a cardboard box over it I was able to save two flower buds left over from summer."

    post by Palm Crazy, Dec 11, 2013, Winter weather
     
  2. Georgia Strait

    Georgia Strait Generous Contributor

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    Interesting to read your post - I don't think I've ever noticed any around the older neighborhoods in Vancouver BC and coastal areas - it's usually - forsythia, rhodo, camelia and magnolia, lilac, philadelphus and the pink one called Quince, kiewitzia (spell?) flowering trees (cherry, plum) - and then wiegelia (spell?) - followed by the "rose of sharon" (looks like hibiscus flower of Hawaii) -
     
  3. SoCal2warm

    SoCal2warm Active Member

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    I can provide an update, July 23, 2020.
    My two small little 'Crown Jewel' hardy gardenia plants are both blooming abundantly. The flowers are bigger and more multi-petaled than the typical hardy gardenia, Kleim's Hardy.
    Maybe I am just being a little picky, but unfortunately the flowers also do not smell quite as nice as regular gardenias. I mean, they smell pretty similar, overall, but they smell a little more tropical fruity, tea-like, and a little in a strawberry direction.
     
  4. wcutler

    wcutler Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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  5. SoCal2warm

    SoCal2warm Active Member

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    can provide a picture now

    crownjewelgardenia.jpg

    bloom from gardenia variety 'Crown Jewel' growing in Olympia, WA. Gardenias cannot normally survive the winters here (USDA climate hardiness zone 8a) but this is a recently developed more cold tolerant variety. Unlike regular gardenia, it smells very strongly of wild strawberry. I'm not really a fan of strawberry fragrance so I prefer the normal gardenia smell but many other people would probably prefer this smell, I think.
     
    wcutler likes this.
  6. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Interesting. I find the smell of gardenia to be pungent and overpowering. Perhaps this is a pleasant alternative.
     

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