Gardenia vs Magnolia (Key Differences)

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Gardenia, as well as Magnolia, can be described as two well-known flowers that are found in homes around the globe. Although they may appear identical, but there are subtle differences. In specific ways, both species are similar to each other. Both are large-flowering trees that flowers that are massive in dimension.

You’ll also notice that the distinctions between gardenias and magnolias are not much more than this. Both plants are remarkably different from each other and it’s crucial to comprehend what differentiates them.

Read on to find out more about the differences between magnolias and gardenias. This will aid you in identifying the two, and you might even be able to decide which one you’d like to put in your garden in the end.

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Gardenia vs Magnolia – Differences

The major distinction between the two species, Magnolia or Gardenia, is the flower. Magnolia flowers come in different shapes and colors based on their variety and species. Gardenia flowers only come in yellow or white. Additionally, Magnolia is much larger than Gardenia.

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The Size of Each Plant

Most gardenias grow up to a height of between 4-6” (1.2-1.8 meters) on average. There are also gardenias that can grow to 12 feet (3.6 meters) tall in the form of a tiny tree in the market.

Dwarf Radicans Gardenia is among the smallest gardenia cultivars available today. It has heights that range from up to 2 feet. (60 centimeters) and lengths of 3-4 feet and two feet. (60 centimeters) in the diameter (1-1.2 meters). The flowers of this variety appear white in the winter.

Magnolias stand taller than other trees, growing as high as 8-10 feet tall. Their maximum size is 70 to 100 feet (20-30 meters) tall with a width of 45 feet at the widest point (13 meters).

Magnolia grandiflora, with an elevation of 90 feet (27.5 meters), is among the biggest magnolias in the world. It also spread over 50 feet (15 meters).

One of the tiniest kinds of gardenia is Dwarf Radicans Gardenia. It can reach 2 feet (60 centimeters) tall and can reach 3-4 ” wide (1-1.2 meters). The flowers are white and snowy. flowers.

Gardenia and magnolia develop at different rates and also their different sizes.

Gardenias are slower growing than other plants because they are mainly plants. Their annual growth is around one foot, on average. The plants which grow 1.5-2 feet annually are rarer than those that are more than that.

However, Magnolias can grow at an average speed of two feet or more. Plants that are young (2-3 three years of age) could be an exception, as their annual growth could not exceed 1 foot for many years following plantation, depending on conditions.

It’s the Yellow Gardenia Flower Blooming after the rain.

You might also want to read this article: Gardenia vs Jasmine

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The Size of the Flower

Magnolias can grow to be bigger than gardenias in terms of dimensions. The width and height of magnolia are a tad greater than Gardenias. There is no comparison between them.

A mature magnolia could increase from eight to 70 feet tall, depending on the type of magnolia. The size will determine the variety. mature magnolias will grow from four to forty-five feet wide.

Gardenias are only ages of four to twelve feet in their current state. Once fully mature, they could grow twelve feet.

If you’re searching for an enormous tree, a magnolia would be the best choice for your particular situation. Gardenias look gorgeous in your yard and would be ideal to be planted in areas that don’t have much space.

The Scent

Although gardenias certainly have a delightful scent but their flowers are more aromatic than magnolias. It is possible to enjoy the fragrance of many different flowers in your garden all at once, as opposed to one magnolia flower that is not as appealing as other types.

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Magnolias are more resilient than gardenia. Some gardenias endure frost, but the majority of magnolias are not. Gardenia is hardy in zones 8-11. Very few species can tolerate temperatures as low as 16 F (-9degC). The hardiest is Kleim’s Hardy, which is cultivated in zones 7.

Some gardenias cannot withstand frost. Certain varieties can only thrive in warm zones of 10 and 11. Magnolias can be found in 4-10 climate zones. But not all are tolerant of frost.

Varieties and Colors

The taxonomy of the magnolias is broader than the gardenia taxonomy. Since magnolias are grown throughout Europe and the United States, the number of magnolias is massive. Gardenia contains around 150 species, and there are 200 different varieties.

This means that you can choose from a more comprehensive selection of magnolias available that come in different sizes and colors of blooms.

The most adored variety of magnolia is Magnolia grandiflora, another term used to describe the Southern magnolia. It is a native of the United States in the wild and is adorned with stunning white flowers.

Magnolia grandiflora Little Gem is small with dark-green leaves that don’t drop until winter. The form it has is columnar and is white with flowers.

A magnolia species that is unique includes Magnolia Soulangeana. It is a hybrid that was developed in France. The flower’s color can differ according to the species.

The most well-known the most popular is the Magnolia Soulangeana Susan. Its flowers have pink, their dimensions are large, and they bloom around the start of the time of year. There is another species that blooms in red. It’s known as Magnolia Rustica Rubra.

Magnolias differ from gardenias not only in hue but in their shape. Magnolia Stellata has thin, long petals, which makes the blooms look like stars. It is the Jane Platt variety has light pink flowers that look stunning!

You might also find this article interesting: Cat Palm vs Majesty Palm

Gardenia varieties typically feature white flowers of various dimensions (except for certain types). But, this doesn’t render them less attractive.

Gardenia jasminoides, often called Cape jasmine, are among the most well-known gardenias. The flowers of this plant are generally white, similar to the roses’ flowers.

Golden Magic is an impressive flowering variety. Its flowers are bright yellow colors; however, they are white. They gradually turn yellow towards the start of the blooming. Its flowers are up to 3 inches in diameter.

Gardenia taitensis is the only species in the Genus. The flowers are long and slightly twisting petals. The amount of petals isn’t huge (6-7). This makes the flowers stunning.

Gardenia carinata is also unique. It has a beautiful design of the petals and a white color that slowly turns orange.

Gardenia flowers in the latter part of spring or in early summer; this characteristic distinguishes gardenias and the magnolia (magnolias bloom in the latter part of snow or the beginning of the spring).

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Growth Rate

It is also evident that the rates of growth of the plants differ from each other. Magnolias are famous for their speedy growth.

Although they are fast-growing, however, they can also be able to grow at a moderate rate. Magnolia is an excellent option for people who are looking for to grow to become a massive tree quickly.


Magnolias are more costly than gardenias. Their prices vary from $ 30 to $100. Flowers with unusual colors (such as Blue Opal) are usually more expensive and can exceed $200.

Gardenia prices start at just 19$ and are as high as $50. Of course, these are just average prices. Prices can fluctuate, but generally, the trend is that gardens are somewhat less expensive.

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Certain factors could explain the cost difference.

It’s various kinds. As I stated at the beginning of this article, most gardenias come with white flowers. On the contrary, magnolias are available in yellow, pink, burgundy, and blue flowers.

Hybridizing different varieties is difficult to work that needs a lot of resources.

The third reason is the method of propagating. Gardenias are propagated through cuttings and is a straightforward procedure. Magnolias are mostly propagated through transplanting, which takes more effort, resources, and time.

Growing a magnolia available for sale takes longer and is more costly than an annual gardenia.

Life Cycle

Gardenias are evergreen, meaning they don’t lose leaves in the fall like other plants. The leaves are falling off in certain areas (2-3-year-old foliage) however, the majority of the foliage is still in place.

Some varieties of magnolias are not evergreen. Certain plants shed their leaves towards the end of their growing season, while others maintain their green hue throughout the entire year. New leaves sprout from the magnolias’ buds in the spring, which signals the start of their growing season.

Since deciduous magnolias bloom before their leaves begin to open, they have the edge over evergreen magnolias. Therefore, the flowers appear on tree branches as there isn’t foliage on trees resulting in a beautiful view.

Magnolia virginiana, for instance, is a semi-evergreen type of magnolia that blooms in spring. In the colder climates of this kind is a magnolia that sheds leaf leaves (hardiness zone 6 or above). In warmer climates, the leaves of magnolias remain on their branches all through winter.


Magnolias are great specimen plants due to their size and flowering, which come in different shades based on the plant being grown. It is vital to have a lot of space required for the magnolia to blossom fully.

Gardenias are ideal for small spaces near the home. They can be planted as a low hedge or an edging plant together with other plants. However, Gardenias are unique because they have creeping varieties such as Gardenia jasminoides “Radicans.’

This variety can be used to create a lush garden around your house. Beautiful white flowers make it stand out from other varieties of its Genus.


In terms of soil and lighting These two plants are very alike. Both gardenias and magnolias thrive in part shade or full sun however they thrive best in full sunlight.

Be aware that this is vital since it offers you many choices for where to plant the trees in your yard. If your yard isn’t totally shaded, the trees will flourish in the surroundings.

Also, you will notice that both plants’ soil requirements are similar. It is important to keep the soil wet when planting magnolias and gardenias since they thrive when planted in well-drained soil.

The soil’s acidity levels in the range of 5.0 between 5.0 and 6.0 is suitable for animals and plants. Another reason that people connect magnolias and gardenias with one another is due to the similarity of their appearance.

Gardenia vs Magnolia Final Verdict

It all comes to personal preferences because both of these are amazing. The gardenia and the magnolia are beautiful plants that work excellently when planted in gardens. But, they differ in some significant ways. Magnolias are larger flowers. They’re easily found in summer but not in winter. Gardenias come with smaller flowers and larger stems, which means they are more attractive at any time of the year.

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