Try, Try Again

Today while shopping at Trader Joe’s, my daughter and I keep returning to the display of beautiful potted gardenia plants. I absolutely love gardenia. I love the waxy, deep green leaves. I love the bright white blooms that smell indescribably good. The smell of gardenia blooms, I’ve heard, is the hardest to reproduce. My favorite garden smell (other than lilac).

I’ve tried for years to grow gardenia, and each year, I fail. Normally, we aren’t in the correct zone to grow gardenia, but you’ll see them occasionally. One year, after I noticed the Penn State Arboretum’s beautiful potted gardenia, I decided to try to grow one in a pot outside. Fail. Then, I tried to root clippings from the large gardenia plants from North Carolina. Fail.

But I haven’t tried to grow potted gardenia inside. Should we buy the plant? Should we try again? Why would Trader Joe’s sell them here in Central Pennsylvania? Are they a special kind of gardenia that grows well indoors?

We buy the gardenia. We go to the garden store and learn how to properly humidify the indoor gardenia by setting the plant on a tray of rocks and water. We find the perfect dish and the perfect little pond pebbles. We buy a spray bottle for twice-daily misting. We find the perfect spot that’s not in direct sunlight.

We shall see. Here’s hoping for gardenia!

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