Gardenia mutabilis (Golden Gardenia)


  • TropPlant Accession Number (TPAN): 0225
  • Botanical Name: Gardenia mutabilis
  • Common Name: Golden Gardenia, Long Necked Golden Gardenia
  • Cultivar: N/A
  • Family: Rubiaceae
Gardenia mutabilis 
Photo by Matthew Gaston

  • Native To: Malesia (Biogeographic region including Indonesia, Philippines & Malaysia) 

Landscaping Information

    • Plant Type: Tree
    • Texture: Medium and Dense
    • Form: Round-Headed to Upright-broad
    • Height (on average, in landscape use): 8'-15'
    • Height to Spread Ratio: 1:1
    • Growth Rate: Medium
    • Landscape Values: Accent, Background, Border, Color, Edging, Facer, Framing, Mass, Patio, Quick Effect, Screen, Space Division, Specimen
    • Outstanding Quality:  Flower Color, Fragrance, Bark
    Gardenia mutabilis at UH Manoa
    Photo by Matthew Gaston

    Botanical Descriptions

    • Flowers: emerging as cream to yellow and as the flowers mature it become yellow-orange to medium orange. Petals are asymmetrical, slightly curved, and spathe-like. Usually 8 petals. Calyx is usually 4.5"-5.5" making it appear pendent-like. Slightly fragrant: warm honey, slightly caramelized ,jasmine-like fragrance. Very pleasant. G. mutabilis is often confused with G. sootepensis and G. tubifera, but the flowers make the distinction clear. For comparisons of flowers click here. For the literature on the distinction and clarification on systematics, click here.
    Gardenia mutabilis leaves and flower with its long calyx.
    Photo by Matthew Gaston

    • Fruits: -Will be Updated-
    • Foliage Color: Young/immature: Medium Green to Yellow Green. Mature: Bright medium green 
    • Foliage Tip: Apiculate
    • Foliage Base: Acute
    • Petiole: 0.1"-0.3"
    • Stipules: Interpetiolar (Characteristic of Rubiaceae)
    • Margins: Slightly Undulate
    • Leaf Arrangement: Opposite
    • Leaf Shape: ovate to elliptic
    • Leaf Type: Simple
    • Leaf Texture: Waxy, smooth, shiny, somewhat thick.
    • Leaf Special Notes: Handsome, thick, and relatively large leaves for Gardenia. 
    Gardenia mutabilis developing flower (bud) and leaf arrangement
    Photo by Matthew Gaston

    Gardenia mutabilis Leaf
    Photo by Matthew Gaston

    • Bark and Trunk: Smooth, silver to gray bark. 
    Gardenia mutabilis bark
    Photo by Matthew Gaston

    Horticultural Information

      • Light Preference: Full Sun
      • Light Tolerances: Near-Full Sun
      • Soil Preferences:  Moist, Well-Drained
      • Tolerances: Humidity, Regular Watering
      • Water Requirements: Requires slightly more water than what is termed moderate watering. 
      • Notes on Maintenance: Loses its density, becomes elongated, and will not flower if shaded.  Ensure that this plant is in full sun.
      • Propagation: Seeds, Cutting.
      • Minimum USDA Hardiness Zone: 10a
      • Weed Risk Assessment Score (WRA): Not yet evaluated, but other Gardenia are rated between -4 and -1 being Low Risk.

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