Why You’ll Want To Think Twice Before Pairing Gardenias With Roses

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Why You'll Want To Think Twice Before Pairing Gardenias With Roses

Gardenias and roses are both stunning flowering shrubs that can add beauty to your garden and produce lovely fragrances. While it may seem like a good idea to pair them together, they have different requirements regarding the soil type, sunlight exposure, and water intake. Combining them could make it challenging to keep both plants healthy and produce the most blooms.

Furthermore, planting them together could result in an overwhelming floral scent since both gardenias and roses have strong fragrances. If you enjoy the sweet smell of your flowers, it might be best to plant them separately to appreciate their distinct scents. Depending on the varieties you choose to plant, gardenias may also grow taller than your roses.

Sunlight and water needs for gardenias versus roses

Pink roses growing

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In many places, roses do best when they receive full sunlight throughout the day, though in some hotter areas they may need some shade in the afternoon. While roses can handle having just five to six hours of sunlight, they likely won’t bloom as well. On the other hand, the best spot to plant gardenias is somewhere that’s shaded on hot summer afternoons, unless they’re grown in a cool climate. When they receive too much sunlight, gardenia flowers can wither. If you plant roses and gardenias together, it could be hard to ensure they are both getting the correct amount of sunlight to thrive.

Though these plants have similar watering needs, roses tend to require a little more water. Gardenias need at least an inch of water per week, while roses should have the same amount a few times a week. You could simply give more water to the area with your roses, but the plants’ differences in soil preference are another reason to think twice about pairing them.

Best soil types for gardenias and roses

Hands holding soil

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While gardenias love soil that’s more acidic, between a pH level of 5 and 6, roses prefer their soil to be a little higher on the pH scale, around 6.5. Both of the plants could grow and blossom in a slightly acidic soil, but they also prefer different types of dirt. While roses do best in loose soil with loam, gardenias prefer an organically rich dirt. Gardenias and roses are capable of growing as companions, but it is likely that one plant would do better than the other because of their different needs with soil, sunlight, and water.

Instead of struggling to care for paired roses and gardenias, you might want to consider finding better companion plants that will still nicely complement your flowers. Azaleas and rhododendrons are great to pair with gardenias because they also like acidic soil, and primroses are also a wonderful companion as they also enjoy partial shade. When paired with lavender, purple catmint, and dianthus, the roses growing in your garden will flourish.

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Dr Heidi Parkes

By Dr Heidi Parkes

Senior Information Extension Officer QLD Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries.