13 Popular Gardenia Varieties

Determine Which Gardenia Fits Your Needs

Tahitian gardenia (Gardenia taitensis)
Tahitian gardenia (Gardenia taitensis)

miniloc / Getty Images

Gardenias are an evergreen shrub with spectacularly large, extremely fragrant white or ivory flowers. The most commonly cultivated gardenia species is Gardenia jasminoides, which is native to southern China and Japan. 

In climates where temperatures don’t drop below 60 degrees Fahrenheit, gardenias can be grown outdoors. Everywhere else, they are overwintered indoors and brought outside for the summer. Although gardenias are tropical plants, they don’t tolerate too much direct sun and do best in dappled sunlight to partial shade

There are more than 200 gardenia varieties, ranging in size from dwarf and groundcover cultivars to shrubs reaching eight feet in height and spread. Depending on the cultivar, the flowers can be either single or double and range from two to four inches in diameter. Some bloom only once a year, others bloom repeatedly. All gardenia varieties have fragrant flowers. 

The hardiness of the cultivars also varies, but even the hardiest gardenia varieties cannot be grown outdoors year-round below zone 6

Here are 13 of the most popular gardenia varieties:

  • 01 of 13

    Gardenia jasminoides 'Aimee'

    Gardenia jasminoides 'Aimee'

    joSon / Getty Images

    This is one of the largest gardenias with double, four- to five-inch flowers. The variety is also referred to as ‘Aimee Yoshida’ or sold under the trademark name ‘First Love®’.

    • USDA Growing Zone: 8 to 11
    • Height: 5 to 8 feet height, 3 to 6 feet width
    • Bloom Time: Late spring through early summer
  • 02 of 13

    Gardenia jasminoides ‘August Beauty’

    Gardenia jasminoides ‘August Beauty’

    Pilot / Getty Images

    This moderately growing variety is a heavy bloomer with double three-inch flowers. It can be grown in containers.

    • USDA Growing Zone: 8 to 11
    • Height: 4 to 6 feet height, 3 to 4 feet width
    • Bloom Time: Mid-spring through fall
  • 03 of 13

    Gardenia jasminoides 'Buttons'

    This is a dwarf variety with a bushy growth habit, which makes it a perfect choice for containers. The two-inch semi-double flowers have a button in their center, hence the name.

    • USDA Growing Zone: 8 to 11
    • Height: 24 to 30 inches height, 24 to 30 inches width
    • Bloom Time: Late spring to early summer
  • 04 of 13

    Gardenia jasminoides ‘Crown Jewel’

    This dwarf variety stands out by its cold-hardiness. It has a spreading habit which makes it an excellent container plant. The three-inch double flowers appear on old and new wood. This variety blooms heavily and repeatedly, which can be encouraged by a light pruning after each bloom.

    • USDA Growing Zone: 6 to 11
    • Height: 2 to 3 feet height, 3 to 5 feet width
    • Bloom Time: Spring through fall
    Continue to 5 of 13 below.
  • 05 of 13

    Gardenia jasminoides ‘Fortuniana’

    This is one of the larger varieties but also one of the most profuse bloomers. Its double four-inch flowers are often compared to camellia flowers.

    • USDA Growing Zone: 8 to 11
    • Height: 6 to 8 feet height, 6 to 8 feet width
    • Bloom Time: Mid-spring through mid-summer
  • 06 of 13

    Gardenia jasminoides ‘Frostproof’

    True to its name, this variety is more tolerant of late spring frost than others. It has an upright growth habit and grows slowly, which makes it suitable for container planting. The double, two- to three-inch flowers start to appear in early summer. It may bloom sporadically during the rest of the summer.

    • USDA Growing Zone: 7 to 11
    • Height: 5 feet height, 4 feet width
    • Bloom Time: Summer

     

  • 07 of 13

    Gardenia jasminoides ‘Jubilation’

    • This is another one of the hardier gardenia varieties. It has a compact growth habit with double flowers starting in the late spring and re-blooming during the summer and into fall.
    • USDA Growing Zone: 7 to 11
    • Height: 3 to 4 feet height, 3 feet width
    • Bloom Time: Late spring through fall
  • 08 of 13

    Gardenia jasminoides ‘Kleim’s Hardy’

    Gardenia jasminoides ‘Kleim’s Hardy’
    Gardenia jasminoides ‘Kleim’s Hardy’

    Scott Zona / Flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0

    This especially cold-hardy gardenia is also more tolerant of direct sunlight than other varieties. It has a mounded, semi-dwarf growth habit so it’s a great container plant. The single flowers appear in the late spring and with good care and a bit of luck, you might see another bloom in the fall.

    • USDA Growing Zone: 7 to 11
    • Height: 2 to 3 feet height, 2 to 3 feet width
    • Bloom Time: Late spring to summer
    Continue to 9 of 13 below.
  • 09 of 13

    Gardenia jasminoides ‘Pinwheel’

    Gardenia jasminoides ‘Pinwheel’
    Gardenia jasminoides ‘Pinwheel’

    BruceBlock / Getty Images

    The special feature of this prolific bloomer are its pinwheel-shaped flowers. The shrub grows moderately quickly yet it is on the larger side so it is best planted in the ground near a patio where you can fully enjoy the fragrant flowers. It is one of the hardier gardenia varieties.

    • USDA Growing Zone: 6 to 11
    • Height: 4 to 8 feet height, 3 to 6 feet width
    • Bloom Time: Late spring to early summer
  • 10 of 13

    Gardenia jasminoides ‘Mystery’

    Gardenia Mystery

     symtrnr / CC BY-NC 2.0

    Its upright growth habit makes this variety a particularly good choice for container growing. The flowers are double and large.

    • USDA Growing Zone: 8 to 11
    • Height: 5 feet tall, 3 feet width
    • Bloom Time: Late spring through early summer
  • 11 of 13

    Gardenia jasminoides ‘Radicans’

    Gardenia radicans

    Stefano Pagnoni / Flickr / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

    This mini gardenia has a low-growing, creeping growth habit. In the right climate, it can be planted in the ground for a wonderful fragrant groundcover with double flowers.

    • USDA Growing Zone: 8 to 11
    • Height: 6 to 12 inches height, 24 to 36 inches spread
    • Bloom Time: Late spring to early summer
  • 12 of 13

    Gardenia jasminoides ‘Veitchii’

    One of the oldest gardenia cultivars with a low, dense growth habit so it’s a good choice for containers. Its double flowers cover the plant during a long bloom period.

    • USDA Growing Zone: 8 to 11
    • Height: 4 feet height, 3 feet width
    • Bloom Time: Spring through summer
    Continue to 13 of 13 below.
  • 13 of 13

    Tahitian gardenia (Gardenia taitensis)

    Tahitian gardenia (Gardenia taitensis)
    Tahitian gardenia (Gardenia taitensis)

    Green Pea Design / Getty Images

    This rare tropical gardenia species is the national flower of Tahiti, that’s why it is also called the Tahitian tiare flower. The flowers can be pinwheel- or star-shaped, and there is also a cultivar named ‘Double’.

    • USDA Growing Zone: 10 to 11
    • Height: 4 to 6 feet height, 4 to 6 feet width
    • Bloom Time: Spring through fall

When shopping for gardenias plants, you might come across grafted gardenias, which are pricier. These plants have a different rootstock for better nutrient absorption from the soil, higher tolerance of poor soil, and better resistance to nematodes. 

Also, you might notice that some of the varieties have a (registered) trademark sign or “PP” and a number after their name; this indicates that the patent for the variety is pending.