Gardenia vs magnolia are two different types of flowers that have many differences. Gardenias are white and fragrant, while magnolias are pink or purple and not as fragrant. Gardenias grow in tropical climates, while magnolias can grow in any climate.

Magnolias have larger flowers than gardenias and the petals are more spread out. Gardenias have smaller flowers and the petals are more compact. This post will explain the differences between gardenia vs magnolia to enable you to better appreciate these two types of flowers.

The Differences between Gardenia vs Magnolia

The Differences between Gardenias and Magnolias

Gardenia and Magnolia both are the most popular flowering plants, but there are some differences between these two plants. The following table will show you the most important distinctions:

Sizes of the Plants

In general, Magnolias are generally taller than Gardenias, and they can reach up to ten feet in height. Depending on their size, they can reach 70-100 feet long at their widest point and 40-45 feet wide. Magnolia grandiflora is the largest magnolia on earth, growing to a height of 90 feet. It also spreads to 50 feet in width.

However, Gardenias are a bit shorter in height and can only grow up to 6 to 8 feet in height and to a maximum of 12 feet in length and 2 feet in width.

The Size of the Flower

Magnolias boast flowers that are far more impressive in size than Gardenias. While the average Magnolia flower is around 8 inches across, some can measure up to 2 feet in diameter. On the other hand, Gardenia flowers are typically no larger than 3-4 inches wide.

The Color of the Flower

Magnolias flowers come in shades of pink, purple and red. Some have white petals with a blush of color on the tips, while others are solid dark colors. Gardenia flowers are pure white in color.

The Scent of the Flower

One of the most notable differences between Magnolias and Gardenias is the scent of their flowers. Many people say that Gardenia flowers smell much sweeter than Magnolia flowers.

Petal Length

The petals of Gardenia flowers are about 1.5 inches long, while the petals of Magnolia flowers are 2 to 4 inches long.

Climatic Conditions

Gardenias are tropical plants, so they require warm temperatures and high humidity to thrive. They will not tolerate cold weather and will wilt and die if the temperature drops below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

Magnolias, on the other hand, can grow in any climate they don’t require as much warmth as Gardenias, but they do need at least 6 hours of sunlight per day.

Soil Type

Magnolias prefer well-drained, acidic soil with a pH of 5.0 to 6.0 while Gardenias prefer slightly acidic soil with a pH of 6. Gardenias can tolerate more soil moisture than Magnolias.


Gardenias have evergreen leaves that are two to four inches long and an inch or so wide. The leaves are shiny, dark green on top and paler green underneath.

Growth Rate

Growth Rate

Magnolias grow much faster than Gardenias. They can add two to three feet of growth per year, while Gardenias only grow about a foot per year.


Gardenias require very little pruning, just a light trimming after they bloom in late spring or early summer. Magnolias also require very little pruning, just enough to remove any dead or damaged branches.


Magnolias are generally more expensive than Gardenias, but the price difference is not significant. The cost of planting and caring for either plant is relatively low.

Life Cycle

With proper care, Gardenias have a life span of approximately 50 years, while Magnolias have a lifespan of approximately 80 to 120 years.

Landscaping Uses

Gardenias are commonly used as foundation plants, hedges, or specimen plants. They can also be grown in containers.

Magnolias are often used as shade trees or specimen plants. They can also be grown in containers, but they will need to be repotted more often than Gardenias because of their rapid growth rate.

Similarities between Gardenias and Magnolias

Similarities between Gardenias and Magnolias

Even though there are some significant differences between Gardenias and Magnolias, there are also a few similarities.

  • Both plants are relatively easy to care for and require little pruning.
  • They both grow best in acidic soil with a pH of 6.
  • Both plants have evergreen leaves that are dark green on top and lighter green beneath.
  • Depending on the variety, they both have a life span of 50 to 120 years.
  • Landscape plants of both kinds are beautiful.

Benefits of Growing Gardenias and Magnolias

Gardenias and Magnolias are both beautiful plants that can add a touch of elegance to any landscape. They are relatively easy to care for and can grow in a variety of climates.

If you are looking for a plant that will provide you with beautiful flowers, evergreen foliage, and low maintenance, then either Gardenias or Magnolias would be a great choice.


Does Magnolia Smell Like Gardenia?

Does Magnolia Smell Like Gardenia

Some magnolias have a fragrance that is reminiscent of Gardenias, but the scents are not exactly the same. The fragrance of Magnolias is not as strong as that of Gardenias.

Can Gardenia and Magnolia Be Grown In the Same Area?

Gardenias and Magnolias can be grown in the same area, but they require different soil types and moisture levels. Magnolias grow much faster than Gardenias, so they will need to be pruned more often.

Is Gardenia Jasminoides Indoor or Outdoor?

Gardenia jasminoides is an evergreen shrub that can be grown indoors or outdoors. It prefers warm temperatures and high humidity, so it is best suited for growing in a greenhouse or conservatory.

Which Gardenia Is the Most Fragrant?

The most fragrant Gardenia is Gardenia jasminoides, also known as Cape jasmine. It has white, double flowers that are intensely fragrant.

Are Gardenias Low Maintenance?

Gardenias are relatively low maintenance, but they do require some care. They need to be watered regularly and fertilized twice a year. They should also be pruned after they bloom to keep them shapely.


Gardenias and magnolias are both beautiful plants that can be grown in many parts of the world. Gardenias have a delicate, sweet fragrance, while magnolias are known for their robust and woodsy smell. Both plants are easy to care for and make a lovely addition to any garden or landscape.