Most gardeners start gardenia plants from cuttings, but it is possible to grow a gardenia from seed. If you do want to grow gardenias from seed, though, you are going to have to be patient. Not all seeds will germinate and you can expect a gardenia that you raised from seed to grow for about three years before you begin to see blooms. If you are able to successfully grow a gardenia from seed, you will be rewarded with heavily fragrant, sweet, white blooms all summer long.
Begin by deciding where you are going to grow your gardenia. Gardenias are native to the subtropics. They grow well in hot, humid places like Florida or Hawaii. Most gardenia will not survive temperatures lower than 30 degrees Fahrenheit. If you live somewhere cold, you are going to have to grow your gardenia as a houseplant.
You can purchase gardenia seeds online or in some nurseries. Look for a variety that is hardy and will grow to the size you need. Because few gardeners grow gardenias from seed, you may need to shop around a bit before you find what you are looking for.
Whether you plan to grow your gardenia indoors or out, you are going to have to start the seeds indoors. Begin by placing them in a paper bag and refrigerating them for about a month. Prepare a covered container for the seeds with acidic soil and organic matter. After the seeds have chilled for a month, use the eraser of a pencil to make small indentations in the soil. Place a seed in each indentation and lightly cover the seed.
Water the gardenia seeds well and keep them covered in on a bright windowsill. You can expect your gardenia to begin sprouting in about six to eight weeks. If you plant to transplant your gardenia, wait until it reaches about five inches in height.