Gardenia thunbergia is a hardy evergreen tree or shrub characterised by shiny leaves. It reaches a mature height of 2 to 5m. It is a slow growing tree common in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape. This tree is usually found growing naturally in evergreen forests, forest margins, woodlands and bushveld.
Leaves are glossy, dark green with rounded or pointed tips and taper at the base. The pale grey bark and the tree’s angular structure makes it an interesting plant. Wild gardenia bears heavily scented, saucer-shaped white flowers in summer (from October to February). The scented flowers attract a variety of moths and birds thereby making this tree suitable for wildlife gardens. Unfortunately the flowers do not last very long. Fruits of this tree are egg-shaped, up to 10cm long, grey-green with scattered raised white spots. They are very persistent.
Gardenia thunbergia prefers compost rich soils and grow equally well in full sun or semi-shade conditions. Although this tree is drought tolerant, drought stress can cause buds to fall before opening. It can tolerate low winter temperatures of up to -1˚C. Gardenia thunbergia can be planted as a single specimen in the garden or to line a pathway creating a formal hedge. It can also be used for bonsai. It also makes a good container plant.
You may find stock of this plant at Random Harvest.