An evergreen shrub is grown for the flowers and foliage. Leaves are glossy, bright green, oval or lanceolate. Flowers are double white, very fragrant, appearing to winter. Several cultivars exist. It is also known as Gardenia grandiflora. The white flowers have a matte texture, in contrast to the glossy leaves. They gradually take on a creamy yellow colour and a waxy surface.
They can be quite large, up to 10 cm (3.9 in) in diameter, loosely funnel-shaped, and double in form. Blooming in summer and autumn, they are among the most strongly fragrant of all flowers. They are followed by small, oval fruit.