Rent Shop Volunteer Join

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - July 31, 2012

From: Southampton, ON
Region: Canada
Topic: Non-Natives, Shrubs
Title: Non-native gardenias in Southampton Ontario
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I purchased 3 gardenias this year for the garden. Now I'm told that I can't leave them out all year round here in mid/western Ontario. Is this true, and if so, how do I keep them over the winter in the house? Confused in Southampton Ontario Canada

ANSWER:

One of the first instructions we would like to give to gardeners is to make two trips to the nursery. The first one is to select plants you are interested in, write everything you can find on the label down and go home and search on the plant on the Internet. If it appears that plant will thrive without major intervention (such as building a greenhouse) then you can go back and buy it. If you are ordering from a catalog, you will at least not have to make 2 trips to the nursery; but you still need to turn away from the gorgeous pictures and glowing descriptions and research the plant objectively.

Gardenia is a genus of 143 species, native to Africa and southern Asia. In North America, it is considered a plant for the southeastern gardens of the United States. From the University of Rhode Island, here is a fact sheet on gardenias. The article mentions growing it in a pot in full sun (sunny window?) in the winter in colder areas or planting in a sheltered spot and wrapping it in the winter.

When we searched the Internet on "growing gardenias in Canada" we found this article from Top Tropicals on growing gardenias, that said their outside planting should only be in USDA Hardiness Zones 9 and 10. This Atlas of Canada Plant Hardiness Map indicates that your location in Bruce County, on the shores of Lake Huron, is approximately 3B.

Since these are not plants native to North America, which is the center of interest for the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, home of Mr. Smarty Plants, we really can't tell you what you should do with your (in-ground, we presume) plants. We do hope you plan ahead next time.

 

More Shrubs Questions

Need suggestions for plants for a bird/small wildlife refuge in Wichita Co, TX.
August 26, 2011 - With our continuing drought in North Texas, I'm planning to transform my small backyard into a bird/small wildlife "refuge". What types of native plants and grasses can I plant in dry, hot Wichita ...
view the full question and answer

Dog and kid barrier in East Wenatchee WA
October 01, 2009 - I have about a 8 foot section between my driveway and the neighbor's yard, and their kids and dogs like to run through it! I would like to plant a non-invasive 4-6 foot growing shrub/bush of some s...
view the full question and answer

Plants for southwest Louisiana courtyard
December 29, 2009 - Hi, I live in southwest Louisiana,very close to Texas. I would like to remove the grass in my townhome backyard (east sun exposure) and create a courtyard by adding pavers. However I am planning on...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen vine for wall and long-blooming shrubs in San Antonio TX
May 04, 2014 - What is a good native vine that stays green all year to plant along a rock courtyard wall? Also what are native bushes that flower for the longest period of time? Thanks.
view the full question and answer

Deer Resistant Plants for Newton Square, PA
August 25, 2014 - I'm looking for highly deer resistant plants native to PA. Thank you!
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.