I moved to Herndon/Reston, VA from Norfolk and I am having problems finding plants that will grow here, gardenias specifically. I am continually told that 'our' zone is different from Washington DC/MD etc. Can a gardenia survive my area? How do I find the best plants for my specific area?
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
It looks like your Zone is 7. Gardenias will survive there. The best way to find plants for your area is to find a nearby plant nursery. They will sell plants that are appropriate for your area and will be able to advise you on which plants will do best for your specific area.
Make sure to plant it in a sheltered location, like near a wall. While most of the time Zone 7 is fine, there will be a few days in the winter that will get too cold for gardenias. Planting the gardenia in a place that will protect it from those cold days (e.g walls retain heat which it will give back off in cold weather which protects the plant) will ensure its survival. Mulching and wrapping the plant in the winter will also help protect against the cold.
This will help you find your USDA zone:
Tags in plant pots should indicate which zones they will grow in.
Your zone may not be warm enough for growing gardenias in the ground, you can try them in containers: