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GARDENIA taitensis

Image of Gardenia taitensis

James Burghardt

Family

Rubiaceae

Botanical Name

GARDENIA taitensis

Plant Common Name

Tahitian Gardenia, Tiare

General Description

The floral emblem of Tahiti, the large fragrant white blossoms of tiare beautifully dapple the glossy dark green foliage in the warm months of the year. A frost-tender, broadleaf evergreen shrub, it is native to extreme southeastern Asia. Archaeological evidence leads experts to believe it is native to New Guinea and the Solomon Islands and was spread eastward across the South Pacific by admiring native peoples, eventually reaching the Society Islands (Tahiti).

The broadly oval leaves are thing and glossy and amazingly dark green. In light flushes from spring to autumn, when temperatures are warmest and rainfall ample, large white fragrant flowers appear at branch tips. The blossom typically has eight petals and rotate as they unfurl from bud; sometimes petals are lightly twisted.

Grow tiare in full to partial sun in a fertile sandy soil that is moist but well-draining. It tolerates alkaline soils surprisingly well, especially if copious amounts of organic matter are used. Protect from frost and drying chilly or hot winds. It may be selectively rpuned back and allowed to regenerate leaves in a lower, more compact shape. It can be grown near the coast as long as saltspray does not reach the foliage. It is terrific in a container for use on a tropical patio or as an accent shrub in the mixed border alongside palms and crotons. Although rounded in form, with age it becomes more spreading and upright allowing it to be used as an informal hedge or screen. Flowers are lovely as festive table ornamentation or to create a lush, royalty-quality lei necklace. Selection 'Heavenly Scent' has semi-double to double (extra petaled) flowers.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 9

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    10 - 15

  • Sunset Zone

    H1, H2, 24

  • Plant Type

    Shrub

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    8'-18' / 2.4m - 5.5m (10)

  • Width

    6'-16' / 1.8m - 4.9m (12)

  • Bloom Time

    Late Spring, Early Summer, Summer, Late Summer, Early Fall, Fall

  • Native To

    Southeastern Asia, Melanesia

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Oval/Rounded

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White

  • Fruit Color

    Green, Orange

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Dark Green

  • Bark Color

    Sandy Brown, Gray

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    Yes

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Coarse

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Smooth

  • Usage

    Container, Cutflower, Feature Plant, Mixed Border, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    No