On Gardening: Gold doubloon gardenia can light up your landscape

May 29, 2017

Gold Doubloon gardenia produces large flowers of tantalizing fragrance.

If you have fascinated about finding a gold doubloon Iíve got one for you, and it is a stunning gardenia variety. Like the word suggest doubloon or double this gardenia gives you dazzling color with gold and green foliage and large tantalizingly aromatic flowers.

As a child I was always fascinated with the story of Ulysses and particularly the part where the sirens would lure them to shore. In the garden it is the gardenia, perhaps one like gold doubloon that will create a detour in your path or plan, and make you linger as you fall under a magical spell of the intoxicating smell.

It is this fragrance like a rare perfume that has made the gardenia a part of American landscapes since the 1700ís. Pick a flower and set it in a shallow bowl of water and your room will soon be flooded by the sweet aroma.

This treasure is known botanically as gardenia jasminoides, often referred to as cape jasmine and is native to Japan, China and Taiwan. Many find it interesting to know that it is in the rubiaceae family with well-known relatives, coffee, pentas and ixora.

In the South, the most popular use of the gardenia is as a free standing specimen. Another great and much overlooked use is as part of an informal border combined with azaleas or other evergreen shrubs such as hollies. Gardenias are also great in large containers on a patio or deck. In our shade garden, gold doubloon stands out like beacons of light among the tall pines. We are also growing another showy variegated selection called Kaleidoscope. This one has green, yellow and white variegation.

Visiting your garden center while gardenias are in bloom is like going to a bakery when the loaves of bread just come out of the oven. Not even my treasured night jasmine can compete with the fragrance of the gardenia. Many gardeners donít realize that we have variety of choices like gold doubloon, rated to zone 7, and the extra cold, hardy crown jewel that is rated for zone 6, and frostproof that has won the Mississippi Medallion and the Louisiana Super Plant awards.

The most popular gardening may still be August beauty, which reaches a height of 4 to 6 feet. In addition to gold doubloon, I am kind of partial to one called mystery, which may reach 8 feet. Both mystery and August beauty repeat bloom off and on through fall. These are recommended for zone 8 and warmer perhaps trying in a warmer micro-climate in zone in7.

If you want shorter plants, you have two options. One called daisy reaches about 3 feet and radicans is a dwarf variety reaching only 2 feet tall. Radicans looks different with pointed leaves and smaller but just as fragrant flowers. They make a nice border similar to dwarf yaupon. Radicans is sensitive to cold damage, so severe winters make knock back or even kill it. If you will be moving plants indoors these smaller selections may be easier.

Eastern exposure is ideal for a gardenia, so they get about six hours of sunlight followed by protection from the scorching sun. This can also help protect from the blustery winter winds. I also like under the shifting light of tall pines. Though I have seen a few, it is a rare gardenia that does well on the west side in full sun.

Gardenias require acidic soil similar to that of an azalea. After planting your gardenias in an, organic rich, well-drained bed, be sure to keep them well watered to get them established. Prolonged dryness will play havoc on many newly planted trees and shrubs. If your gardenia needs pruning, shape as desired after the main spring bloom. If you donít have a gardenia, take time to get close and personal with a blossom this spring for a sensory experience you are not soon to forget.



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