My Gardenia is dying, plz help!!!

discusmanAugust 5, 2006

Hi guys,

I'm a new member here. Please help me. I have a pot of Gardenia that I bought it 3 months ago. Now all the leafs are gone, I only see a pot of branches.

The leafs started turn black (look like it has been burned)at the tip, then it soon goes to the whole leaf, then it gets crispy and drop.

I don't know what is going on. Today I repotted it with mixing soil with peat moss.

I think I overwatered it before because the leafs turn yellow. Then I leave it on the south window. The outside temp is almost 100F in New York City. I thought it needs strong light.

The gardenia is mostly indoor. I have A/C on at night. The plant is dying. Please help.

I appreciate your help.

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jenny_in_se_pa(USDA7 Sunset 32)

There was a thread on I think the Fragrants Forum about 7 years ago here called "Suicidal Gardenia". A copy of the text of that thread is posted in the FAQ section of the California Forum here and includes the follow up thread that continued the discussion.

The Fragrants Forum has a FAQ answer on growing gardenias here.

Basically, gardenias like bright conditions (and not necessarily full blown south sun) but with plenty of humidity around their leaves. If indoors, you need to put it on a pebble tray as the A/C tends to dry out the air (same applies in winter with the heat on which can dry out the air as well). The temps as of this weekend have cooled thankfully.

The soil needs give excellent drainage as they can succomb to root rot. When potted, the pot needs to be right-sized (not too big) when using conventional soiless mix. Tip burn is often a sign of fertilizer burn. Gardenias, like azaleas, rhodendrons, camellias, etc., are acid-loving plants, where the pH needs to be below 7. Gardenias can often get away with a pH up to 6 and do okay. The peat that you mixed in should help in that instance.

Not sure what to tell you at this point except perhaps move it back away from the window where it is still bright but not blazing, keep it out of any drafts, and make sure the soil doesn't dry out completely, but don't let it get water logged where it stays wet more than a couple days (ie., keep it somewhat damp). In winter, they seem to do better when it's cool, and although still requiring a humid environment, would need less water.

Hopefully the links to the FAQs will help. It may or may not recover - ie., sometimes if their conditions stablize, they will resprout new leaves and start a new flush of growth on the bare stems.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2006 at 10:54AM
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andy_e(SF Bay CA 9/14)

Gardenias are notoriously difficult plants. Unless you want endless frustration, I would advise you to move on to a different kind of plant.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2006 at 2:50AM
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I have 5 large gardenia plants out in the yard and never do any thing to them except in early summer spray thim to kill the white flies. Growing them pots ,just dont over water them, and inside you should not have the flies. They are avg, feeders so dont overdo it. Water only when the soil is dry down 3 inches and then dont over water them, maybe just a small amount at the time till you learn how much it needs. Dont give up and GOOD LUCK.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2006 at 11:54AM
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andy_e(SF Bay CA 9/14)

Hats off to you dangsr2 for getting them to work. But I would still advise newbies to give up and move on. No joke!

    Bookmark   August 7, 2006 at 4:12PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

dangsr2 is missing the point about the important limiting factor.....discusman is attempting to grow his gardenia INSIDE. Growing these plants outdoors in containers is not a challenge. Keeping them happy inside the typical home or apartment is very difficult.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2006 at 4:28PM
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Thanks guys. I will keep you guys updated. I think I fertilized it too much, what should I do now? Repot it and put fresh soil mix? no more fertilizer at this point? Thanks.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2006 at 9:30PM
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jenny_in_se_pa(USDA7 Sunset 32)

At this point, it might be fastest to repot. Usually with overfertilization, it is recommended to flush the soil with alot of water, however since it is leafless, I'm afraid a water flush may end up causing some of the roots to rot away. I think you might just try starting over and let it try to recover. Water when it just starts to dry and don't fertilize until it starts sprouting new growth.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2006 at 10:40AM
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Hi guys,

I have repotted my gardenia using fresh soil and peatmoss (40-50%). Is there anything else I need to add in the soil mix? I saw people add some wood chip, but I dont have them.

Can you guys tell me the exact mixing? I let my gardenia sit on a pile of pebbles with water in a dish. I hope it can survive. Thanks for all your help.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2006 at 7:05PM
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jenny_in_se_pa(USDA7 Sunset 32)

If you have already repotted, you could just wait and let the plant rest, giving it water as needed. It is often recommended to mix some drainage material into the soil mix if it has none (eg., perlite or fine gravel, etc). But I think the actual recommended ratios are going to vary from person to person and is often dependent on their natural watering practices and other conditions. You do want to make sure that when you water, that water comes out the drain hole relatively quickly and the mix doesn't stay wet for more than a few days.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2006 at 8:33AM
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You need to do a few things. First off, lose the peat moss. Peat draws moisture away from roots drying them out. Perlite in the soil will give the drainage necessary without pulling the water away which will not only rob the plant of water but will cause some mold and mildew over time.
Gardenia are magnesium loving plants so mist with about 3Tablespoons of Epsom Salt per gallon of water every few days. Mist daily with bottled water and do not water the plant for about a month if you think you may have some root rot happening. You may want to repot and root prune the gardenia to check on the root health.
do not fertilize the gardenia but DO use a mixture of shredded oak leaves and some dried pine needles which will give the plant some wonderful acidic nutrients. You can use an acidic fertilizer next spring. (not miracle grow as it has a tendency to develope weak roots)
Make sure you remove any water from the drainage tray under the pot after every watering because you do not want that sitting there since the gardenia will not like wet feet.
Gardenia are also very sensitive to chemicals so if you have it sitting in front of a window, move it back away from the window before cleaning the window. If you smoke, the gardenia may not be a great houseplant for you because they are sensitive to pollution.
Try these and feel free to Email me if you have any questnions.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2009 at 11:20PM
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