Gardenia Care

vikingboy2013March 21, 2011

I've had two gardenia 'veitchii' and they have both died. I am going to buy a new gardenia and i need to know how to care for it. How do i keep my gardenia from dying and how do i make it bloom indoors?

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Like the solar system works, so does Gardenia.

All things have to line up perfectly and in harmony to function just right. All things have to line up in order for nothing to get thrown off balance. Miss just one thing, and the whole plant suffers.

There are many limiting factors than can cause a Gardenia's decline, and many that will help it grow to its best ability.

Start off with a very good mix, and I can not stress this enough, very good mix. I have to say in all my years of growing these. this is the MAIN limiting factor.

One that drains well, dries out rather rapidly, allows you to fertilize all times of the year, and one that does not compact, collect salts, or inhibit fine healthy root growth.
A mix that stays evenly moist through out and dries out evenly. A mix that does not harbor insects, and allows you to water copiously. One that encourages very healthy root growth prompting a plant that will be ablt to handle any stress put upon it which is most likely to happen with most folks.
I can think of two that I personally use that do just that.

Other limiting factors?

Watch your watering practices since they are easily suseptable to root rot.

You will need good sunlight, an acidic fertilizer or vinegar, a good fertilizer since they are heavy eaters.

They like cool nights and warm days.

They are NOT tolorant to salts that collect in most bagged mixes, especially through the winter if in containers, which I assume you will be growing in.

They should NOT be allowed to dry out to a wilt, like many suggest.

They should be closely examined for pest occasionaly, especially in winter. Spider mites in particular. have a good bottle of insecticide spray on hand ahead of time.

They should be washed off at least one a month.

Make sure your fertilizers provide Mg and Ca.

Pick off old and discolored leaves.

Make sure you keep the top soil clean of all debris.

Make sure you do not sit them in FULL HOT day sun in the summer.

Make sure you do not let the pot, if black bake by the sun.

Make sure to never let the roots rise to levels unsuitable for healthy growth.

Did I miss anything? If so, someone will chime in.

If you are willing to take the time to provide these plants what they love, then they will grow and work in harmony with you as the solar system does in space for us.


    Bookmark   March 21, 2011 at 7:01PM
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Mike, hello! That is a very comprehensive list! If I keep reading your posts and looking at your pictures I just know I'm going to have to get one of these! And prolly start stalking you for advise lol.
Good luck with your new plant Viking !

Take care, Amy

    Bookmark   March 22, 2011 at 7:33AM
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After seeing Mike's lovely gardenias, I know exactly who I'm going to stalk for advice if I ever get one! ;-)

Mike grows the most beautiful, healthy, vigorous gardenias I've ever seen! He uses the same medium I use, which is comprised of a larger particulate than is generally offered at retail. I build my own mediums, as Mike does, using ingredients such as fir bark, turface, granite chips, and perlite.

The recipes and information for the medium we use can be found in the Container Gardening Forum, in the thread called "Container Soils - Water Movement & Retention". I don't currently have a link handy to paste in, but I'm sure someone will oblige... or, it's easily found by visiting the Container Gardening Forum.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2011 at 8:13AM
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Here is the information for the medium we use linked at the bottom by a very well respected man by me and hundreds of others!

Jodik, I would be willing to help you anytime! In fact, I would send you a small one since I am so confident that you could succeed growing this, since you have been able to grow just about anything that most people find difficult to grow.

Thank you for the kind words about my gardenias, since they are probably one of the most difficult, yet beautiful and precious things that I grow after years of failure in anything but the mixes we use.
You got the ingredients in my mixes spot on!

A couple of gardenia pics taken over the weekend just for you:-)


Here is a link that might be useful: Container soils- Water retention by Tapla

    Bookmark   March 22, 2011 at 8:43AM
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Mike, your Gardenia is a beauty, especially this time of year.
I'm sure you mentioned which direction that lovely window faces, but I forgot..??

Last wk, I placed my guy was nearing 70F degrees..then temps dropped, so in it came..Warmed up again, so outside it went..
Well, lastnight temps dropped below freezing..what's worse, we had severe T-Storms, so while it stormed, not to mentione freezing, my poor plant was outdoors.
I forgot it was out, been busy watering this week. WML. lol..Toni

    Bookmark   March 22, 2011 at 5:02PM
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I just bought a gardenia "tree", about 3 feet high from Lowe's (at 1/2 price, since it looked in need. I've never had a gardenia. I live in Iowa, so the gardenia is in my kitchen until the weather warms up to what I've read that they like....55 -70. Northern exposure right now, by the patio door, but bright light, no direct sun coming in. I've put it on a bed of rocks, so it doesn't sit in water, I've been misting it. I've talked to it, and I'm watering when it feels almost "less wet" like it needs it....not too much, not too little. I'm FRIGHTENED of this plant since most website conversations call it the devil's plant; very hard to keep alive. But I SO love the smell, and want it it live, and live and flourish. Help !!!

    Bookmark   April 25, 2011 at 10:00PM
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Janet, if you read and follow MeyerMike's advice above, your Gardenia should flourish beautifully.

Mike said don't keep your Gardenia in full sun, during summer.
Indoors, especially this time of year, Gardenias need all the sun your brightest window provides.

Do you have a west or south window? North windows are fine for shade or medium light plants..Gardenia is a sun lover.

The only difference between Mike and myself regarding Gardenia care is, soil..we use difference mixes..
There is no 'definate' w/plants...use whichever you prefer. Toni

    Bookmark   April 25, 2011 at 10:29PM
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Toni: I never saw your compliments.

We sure do use different

Janet, many people talk to their plants, nothing wrong with that. Heck I have kissed mine a few times, just don't tell anyone..:-)

Thank you


    Bookmark   April 30, 2011 at 8:45PM
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Mike...Your plants deserve compliments. You know I love looking at plant pics..Especially yours, Pugs and Josh/Greenman.

I talk and sing to my My son asks, 'Ma, who's here or are you on the phone?' My reply. "I'm talking to Mr. Mandarin or Mrs. African Violet." lol..he shakes his head, but I see the grin. :)

There have been studies done. Apparently, plants that are talked to or in a home music is on do better than those that don't. Toni

    Bookmark   May 1, 2011 at 8:26AM
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Help! I am new to gardenias. I was given one as a gift in May and have managed to keep it alive and blooming through the summer! My kids think I'm touched as I am constantly "saving" it from the rain or delighting in the newest blossoms. But I live in New Jersey and it's getting cold at night so I can't leave my baby out and it's not getting as much sun light as it should. Can I keep it alive indoors through the winter? And how? The room which gets the most sun gets the least heat and the room with the most heat gets little sun. Any advice?

    Bookmark   September 17, 2012 at 11:23PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Hi, kcofnj. Welcome to GardenWeb. If you scroll up and look at the previous entries in this discussion, I think you'll find the answers to your questions. The more sun/less heat room would be my choice. If you still have questions, (or in the future with a different question,) feel free to start a new discussion to make sure people know a new question is being asked and not just an older discussion being continued.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2012 at 10:01AM
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Once upon a time, I had a gardenia. It died. Fast forward a number of years: 3-4 months ago I was sent a gardenia by mail. It, of course, is not going great guns and I confess to feeling quite intimidated by the darn plant! It has flowered 3 times although it came with a gazillion buds, most of which have dropped off. The soil does not look terrific, but I am hesitant to change it now.

I am totally confused by a post suggested by Mike (2 years ago?) regarding proper soil for a gardenia. Can somebody enlighten me? I am in the peculiar position of living in a retirement community and do not have the ability to start making up my own soil mix. I recognize that commercially available mixes may not be the best choices, but are there one or two that are better than acceptable?

I have the proper conditions except for the possibility of too warm a temperature at night in the winter (my husband is always cold). North, east and southern exposures - too dry in the wintertime so I have the plant on pebbles. I would never remember to mist daily. We live near the ocean and therefore have high levels of humidity in the summertime. By the same token, summertime really lasts just 3 to 3-1/2 months: June, July, August and usually the first half of September.

I do not know under what conditions the plant may visit the out-of-doors. Once outdoors the shade takes over in the afternoon, probably good lighting for the plant. However, I might forget about it leading to drying out...

Any and all suggestions are more than helpful! Thank you.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 12:27AM
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Hi Sandy:-)

Do you have access to any Fafard mixes?

How about pine bark fines and or perlite?

Mike, and yes. still around.


    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 8:40PM
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jujujojo_gw(6b 7a)

Mike, wow, I worship you. For me, the key for household gardenia is watering, especially the newly bought ones. Over-watering causes the plant to fail. Water from bottom and in very small quantities. Use soft and acid water. There are products for this. After the Gardenia is established, it can take much more water in hot weather. Always be cautious in cool seasons.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2013 at 1:34PM
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jujujojo_gw(6b 7a)

Mike, I just notice how thick the trunk is. Is yours a grafted plant?

    Bookmark   April 27, 2013 at 1:36PM
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I just bought one (after finally killing my old one that never bloomed). I want to plant it outside. How much sun is optimal, and how much should I water it? Thanks

    Bookmark   June 1, 2013 at 1:18PM
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Hello, I recently purchased a Gardenia, which was beautiful and blooming at the store. I had it outside but it's now inside due to the weather. It's facing a west window where it gets lots of afternoon sun. I'm feeding it and not over watering it (I think), about once a week. It has to fat buds ready to bloom but the leaves are turning yellow. I think I read somewhere that this is "normal" in the Spring??

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 5:54AM
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