Gardenia vs. Jasmine – How Are These Two Plants Different?

Deciding on your next houseplant isn’t easy, especially considering that there are so many different houseplants that come with unique traits of their own.

Factors such as how the plant looks, how it smells, and when it blooms are vital when deciding on a new houseplant, and as a result, not all plants are suitable for everyone.

Fortunately, it’s often possible to find houseplants with similar needs but different traits, making it possible for houseplant lovers to find a plant that they will enjoy caring for in the conditions their house can provide.

Gardenias and Jasmines are two of such plants, known for their white flowers and their great scent. While both of these plants have similar needs to each other, they also have plenty of differences to separate one from the other.

So, what are the differences between a Gardenia and a Jasmine?

  • Family – Gardenias belong to the Rubiaceae family, Jasmines belong to the Oleaceae family.
  • Type – Gardenias are shrubs, Jasmines are vines.
  • Leaves – Gardenias have long leaves, whereas the leaves of a Jasmine are short.
  • Scent – Gardenias have a creamy scent, whereas a Jasmine smells more earthy.
  • Blooming Season – Gardenias bloom between late spring and early summer, whereas Jasmines start blooming during spring, and they can bloom until early fall.
  • Flowers – Jasmines are single-flowered, whereas Gardenias can be single or double-flowered. In general, Jasmines produce more flowers than Gardenias.

Moving on, let’s take a deeper look into these differences and the factors they impact to really understand how these plants differ from one another, as knowing these things in better detail will help you make a more informed decision.

Differences Between Gardenia and Jasmine

While the differences between Gardenias and Jasmines can be subtle, there are a fair amount of things to separate these two plants if you pay close attention.


Gardenias belong to the Rubiaceae family, which is also commonly known as the coffee family. This family contains a very large amount of plants, including the Coffea genus that grows coffee beans.

Plants that belong to the Rubiaceae family can be found in most regions of the world. That being said, tropics and subtropics have the highest concentration of plants that belong to this family.

On the other hand, Jasmines belong to the Oleaceae family, also known as the olive family. While this family doesn’t contain as many plants as the Rubiaceae family, a plant that grows a fruit that we all love belongs to this family, the olive tree.

Plants that belong to the Oleaceae family are native to Mediterranean Europe, Asia, and Africa.


Gardenias are shrubs, which are woody plants with multiple stems and heights between 6.5 and 33 feet. That being said, the height limit isn’t set in stone, as some definitions consider 20 feet to be the maximum.

Common plants that we all know, such as lavender, thyme plant, hibiscus, and lilac, belong to the shrub type.

Indoor Gardenias usually grow to a height (and width) between 2 and 6 feet, depending on the growing conditions. Since these heights are shorter than what is described for shrubs, a Gardenia that is grown indoors would be considered a subshrub (shrubs that are shorter than 6.6ft).

On the other hand, Jasmines are vines, which are climbing plants. Vines are known for reaching exceptional heights, with certain vines going up to 80 feet in length if left unpruned in the wild.

Cucumber plants, passionfruit plants, and grapevines are some widely recognized examples of vines.

Indoor Jasmines can grow to heights between 10 and 15 feet, which is quite large for a houseplant – and certainly much more than how much a Gardenia can grow.


Gardenias have long leaves between 2 and 20 inches in length and 1 to 10 inches in width, depending on the species. These leaves are often dark green in color and have an ovate shape. It’s possible to see between 2 and 4 leaves originating from a singular point of the stem.

On the flip side, Jasmines have shorter leaves, with lengths that are roughly 3 inches. The leaves of a Jasmine plant have a grayish, pale green color with an obovate shape, and they are often arranged in a pinnate structure.


Despite both of these plants smelling great, contrary to popular belief, Jasmines and Gardenias smell completely different than each other. Both of these flowers are heavily used in the production of perfumes.

Gardenias are known for a more creamy scent that can be quite loud for some.

On the other hand, Jasmines have a more earthy and floral smell that isn’t as loud as the smell of a Gardenia.

As the scents are very hard to explain in text, as you may appreciate, we highly recommend smelling each of these flowers to see which one you like best!

Blooming Season

The blooming season of a Jasmine lasts quite long, starting in early spring and lasting until well into fall.

On the other hand, the blooming season of a Gardenia is much shorter, which starts in late spring and ends in the summer.


Gardenias can be single or double-flowered, depending on their cultivar.

Double-flowered is a term that is used for flowers that have extra petals, and they often look as if two flowers were growing inside of each other. Roses are a great example of a plant that is double-flowered most of the time.

On the other hand, common Jasmine is always single-flowered.

That being said, Jasmines grow a lot more flowers than Gardenias, with at least three flowers growing on each branch, whereas the flowers of Gardenias are more scattered and lesser in number.

Are Gardenias and Jasmines Related?

Even though both Gardenias and Jasmines have white flowers and exceptional scents, they are not related to each other.

The confusion related to this subject is mostly caused by the fact that the common Gardenia plant is called Gardenia jasminoides (Cape Jasmine). Even though this plant has the word “Jasmine” in it, it’s actually a Gardenia plant that has nothing to do with the Jasminum genus.

On that note, Cape Jasmine isn’t the only plant that has the word “Jasmine” in it despite not belonging to the Jasminum genus. For instance, Mandevilla sanderi (Brazilian Jasmine) belongs to the Mandevilla genus despite being called Jasmine.

Wrapping Up

Both Gardenias and Jasmines are white-flowered and great-smelling plants that can grow under similar conditions, with a few differences that set them apart and make them unique.

As you can’t really go wrong with either plant, the decision comes down to personal preference, mainly in terms of how tall (and wide) of a plant you want and which scent you like more.

If you can’t decide, you can always pick one of each plant up to bring an even higher amount of beauty to your house, as both of these plants will surely contribute to the overall look of the spot you place them in.