Gardenia – Winter Prep

Q: What is the best way to protect a three-year old gardenia plant from the winter elements? If I wrap it in burlap and leave that around it until spring would it help?

A: Generally speaking, gardenias don’t need to be protected unless temperatures are going into the teens overnight. On the other hand, some varieties are hardier than others. ‘Kleim’s Hardy’ and ‘Daisy’ are reputed to be more cold hardy than most. ‘August Beauty’ is a bit less cold tolerant but it has more attractive flowers. If you decide to protect your shrub, buy some floating row cover, which is also known as frost cloth. When temperatures are forecast to be low overnight cover the plant to the ground on all sides, anchoring the edges with stones or firewood. Leave the material in place until the weather moderates. Do not keep the cover on your shrub all winter.

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