Gardenia thunbergia - Forest Gardenia
This giant gardenia tree comes from Southeast Africa. A magnificent shrub with glossy dark green leaves, it produces 4" creamy pinwheel blossoms that open from elegantly furled buds. They look like giant jasmine blossoms and are heavily perfumed, particularly at night. The flowers are abundant all summer.
Gardenia thunbergia is a magnificent shrub-like tree that grows slowly to 10' tall. It's handsome all year, with glossy leaves and a lovely form. Its speckled egg-shaped fruits are ornamental and can remain on the bush for years.
Forest Gardenia makes a fine showpiece in a large container and a spectacular bonsai. Hardy in zones 8-11, it likes filtered sun, rich, well-drained soil, deep regular watering and plenty of mulch. It loves heat and is fairly drought tolerant.
The huge blossoms look like gigantic spiraling jasmine blooms. They smell even better.
Forest Gardenia grows easily from seed. Sow them in spring to early summer, even in late summer where winters are mild. Or in your greenhouse. Germination takes 4-6 weeks.