Gardenia with brown edged leaves

mudrnner(zone 4/5 NY)May 13, 2008


My gardenia was looking absolutely gorgeous this entire winter and then recently it began to develop yellow leaves. I added some iron, but they kept getting yellow and falling off. I have been fertilizing with Miracid on a regular basis, have added epsom salts and added more iron. Finally, the weather warmed up so I put it outside. The yellowing has stopped, but now the leaves are getting brown along the edges, just a few at first, and now at least half. I am letting it get dry before watering, because I thought maybe it was too wet. Now I just don't know what to do. It looks horrible. Any ideas?



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Hi...I am curious..What type of soil are you growing your Gardenia in? My here at work was doing the same exact thing as yours is doing. I had it outdoors all last summer, it was beautiful. Within a month of being in doors in full sun, it started turning yellow too. I lost alot of leaves and the buds started getting hard and falling off, turning a brown. Just last week, the leaves went fron yellowing to browning from the tips of the leaves and then further. I was also watering perfectly fine, since the pot dried out faster than most ,because of full sun, even in winter. I too fed it what you did except for Iron, still looking for a good one to use.
I just put it outdoors in the shade yesterday to let it adjust to the outside, but it too looks horrible.
I am going to do a big transplant to it, into Al's mix!
Now it is the only one of a couple of plants I have growing in peat moss, and I have a feeling the entire enviroment in the root zone is working against our plants ,because I am getting the feeling our plants roots are suffocating from lack of oxygen, poor nutrition, and poor drainage due to the rapid breakdown and compaction of the peatmoss. Gardenia roots love fast draining soil and lot or air exchange which I never knew before . I am going to be transplanting it into Al's soil formula this week and see if this makes a difference. I think I will have nothing to loose at this point.
I have been noticing since I have been on this forum, that what ever is happening on the top of the plants, almost always is a sign of something poorly happening in the soil to the plant.
Maybe if my Gardenia roots breathe better, grow in a much better fast draing mix, then regenerate new roots to be able to take up nourishment, it just may take a turn for the better. If your roots are being suffocated, your plant is not going to take up any kind of nutrition, including the iron use tried. I will let you know ok. I will use my plant as a guinni pig for the benefit of helping yours..:-)
That is why I am curious as to what your Gardenia is growing in.
My mother had one doing the same thing, I put it into Al's soiless mix a couple of months ago, and it looks 10 times better than mine. The fertilizer she uses seems to work better for her now. I will let you know how mine does...;-)
Remember, if the roots are not able to do their job, the first place your going to see a sign of poor health is on the plant above the soil.
If your feet are in a bad pair of shoes, the first place your going to see the effects is in your back.
Don't cover the problem with all kinds of fertilizers, but get to the ROOT of the problem.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2008 at 10:56AM
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mudrnner(zone 4/5 NY)

I have the plant in a mixture of 1/3 peat moss, 1/3 perlite and 1/3 vermiculite. I have never heard of Al's mix, what is it? I think you are correct though, I think it is a root problem, but I got this mixture from a supposed "expert" in gardenias. I am open to suggestions.


    Bookmark   May 14, 2008 at 12:40PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Stop with all of the fertilizing! Unless you've been using extremely dilute amounts of everything that you've been adding, the chemicals could be the source of the burned leaf edges.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2008 at 12:57PM
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mudrnner(zone 4/5 NY)

It has been with 1/2 strength fertilizer, but I am stopping even that for now.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2008 at 1:04PM
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snasxs(7-8 VA)

When a Gardenia is happy, her leaves radiate light. Check out my post at

I agree with meyermike. Traditional peat-moss-recipe breaks down and compacts over time. The corrupt mix will eventually suffocate the tender roots of Gardenia. When roots are happy, the plant is brilliant.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2008 at 12:17AM
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mudrnner(zone 4/5 NY)


That is one gorgeous plant. So what do you use as a planting medium?


    Bookmark   May 17, 2008 at 11:44AM
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Dyhan, my 13-yr-old Gardenia tree sometimes loses leaves during winter months.
I agree holding off on fertilizer..too much and your tree will/could develop root and leaf burn. (brown edges)
The soil mix I use is All Puprpose soil, Peat, and Perlite (for drainage) I also add 1-2 cups of Builder's Sand, sold at Home Depot. (Not beach sand)

Gardenias love cool and humid conditions. If a room is too warm/hot, chances are, 'denias will attract mites or worse.
Have you checked for pests? Are leaves sticky? Webby?
Mine are sprayed daily, (except when buds/flowers form) and a weekly shower.
Soil should dry between waterings, not kept soggy. (moreso in winter, when days are short and dark)
After Oct, stop fertilizing..begin when days lenghten, around Apr/May. Azalea/Rhodo fertilizers works best.
A dose of Iron 1-3 times a year as a preventative keeps 'denias from Chlorosis, but you mentioned adding some, then re-adding when leaves remained yellow. If you use the proper dossage, there's no need for a second application soon after the first.
Since you're in NY, in winter, place plant in the brightest window, south or west. During summer, if possible set outdoors. Start with shade, then work its way up to bright/medium light. Gardenia's love rain, but if your tree is in a pot w/saucer, dump excess water after half hour or so.
Last summer I killed one 'denia tree for this very reason. Never again.
Pruning isn't necessary unless a warward branch gets in the way. In fact, I avoid pruning altogether. It cold cost flowering.
Good luck, Toni

    Bookmark   May 17, 2008 at 7:21PM
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mudrnner(zone 4/5 NY)

Thanks Toni,

I was spraying daily and then stopped when I put it outside, just kept forgetting, but will get back to it. I have it on a bed of pebbles in the saucer and will be sure not to let it stand in water. I am hoping it will come back in time. I haven't seen any new yellow leaves and the brown edges seemed to have leveled off. No buggies on it, I've checked very carefully. I think I was going a bit heavy handed with the iron and have stopped that. I guess time will tell.

Thanks for the tips.


    Bookmark   May 17, 2008 at 8:33PM
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I am just another hobbyist who grows Gardenia for enjoyment. I am not here to agree or disagree but only to offer another opinion. Gardenia is like many other tropical plants that will certainly adapt if given a bit of time and other ideal growing requirements are meet.

In the hot Arizona desert a good number of my Gardenia are grown outdoors. The temperature easily rises over 110 and the Gardenia endure this weather just fine. I can not imagine that anyone out there keeps the temperature that high in their home. ;-]

Deficiency symptoms of a plants strength and health are commonly known as an open invitation to diseases and pests.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2008 at 9:53PM
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Dear All,

My Gardenia Jasminoides leaves are turning brown in a strange way, even the buds, and they are dropping when touched..

The brown color starts at random parts of the leaves (edge, side, base) and spreads to cover the whole leaf area.

I really need help in this.

Please check the photo link that clarifies the situation by showing some of the leaves that I took off.

My plant is indoors, it receives bright light (No direct sunlight) I water it regularly and it does not get wet feet.


Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   November 25, 2011 at 7:09AM
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