Gardenia-Wilting Buds--WHY?

frenchygirlMay 27, 2007

My newest indoor plant, a Gardenia tree (about 3 feet tall), had two flowers which bloomed the day after I brought it home from the nursery. They both were pure white, smelled lovely, and died off about 3 days later. I pruned them off, looking forward to the next blooms, since this tree is just loaded with buds of varying sizes. I have not yet repotted it (still in the nursery container) since I wanted to look online and make sure I buy the right container for it. Tonight, as I went to the sunporch (southern facing windows), I'm noticing that a lot of the branched which have the un-bloomed "buds" seem to be drooping and almost "rubber-like" in texture. Also I see a few yellow/yellowing leaves, which I immediately pinched off. Am I killing this beautiful specimen already??

Help me if you can...Thanks!

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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Is your sun porch enclosed in glass or screen? These plants are notoriously difficult to grow inside the typical home.

Attached is a 'search' within this forum for some shared experiences with other successful and not-so-successful growers of gardenia.

Here is a link that might be useful: Click here!

    Bookmark   May 28, 2007 at 2:27PM
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Frenchy, I notice many gardenias are sold wrapped in decorative aluminum foil..if your pot is wrapped around this foil, remove it..immediately.
Gardenia's are not the easiest plants to grow indoors.
I wouldn't repot just yet. Give it time to adapt. In fact, unless it's completely rootbound, I'd leave in its orignal pot.
It's common for newly purchased gardenias to develope yellow leaves, mainly change of environment are the cause. Remove yellow leaves.
If you can set tree outside, do so..they love a summer outside. Gardenia's prefer cooler temps..I notice my 'denias do best in early spring and fall..
In winter, dry, stale air will attract mites. Though some ppl here don't believe in misting, I do so religiously. Also, a trip to the sink/shower and hosed works wonders..I try doing this once a wk.
Do NOT allow soil to stay soaking wet..
In winter I keep my gardenias in a cold room, in south windows and additional artificial light at night. Good luck w/your new plant..Toni

    Bookmark   May 28, 2007 at 4:42PM
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thanks much for your info, i did repot it yesterday, in a clay pot, with a saucer full of small-ish polished river rocks; to aid in the humidity that I'm reading gardenias love.
I have it in a southern facing window on the second floor--(took it out of the sunporch, as I think it was too stuffy and dry in there). How long should I let it adapt before I try a new location? I just hate to see it not faring well, and feel so helpless.
do you think the wilting/rubbery-like buds are from too much or not enough water? I;ve read a lot of the forum's comments, but don;t see anything specifically mentioning this phenomenon.
thanks, FG

    Bookmark   May 29, 2007 at 9:51PM
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Frenchy, can you open the windows on porch? Also, which direction do these windows face?
What about winter? Is the porch heated?
All types of problems occur when we repot plants bearing buds..for instance, loss of bud/flowers, yellow leaves, etc.
I've never repotted gardenias in clay, so please let me know how it works.
Yes, plants should adapt before moving to a new location..give it a chance..Why are you thinking of moving it?
As for watering, give enough water so water seeps from drainage holes..(be sure your saucer is large enough to collect excess water) Clay dries out faster than plastic or ceramic..what size pot did you use? The smaller the pot, the faster soil dries.
Check soil by sticking your finger at least 3" into soil..if soil feels a bit crumbly, it's time for another drink. Water guages are sold at most nurseries, but to be honest, the finger test works just as well.
Though some ppl will disagree, I believe in misting leaves. (especially during winter months) If your plant is of managable size, take to sink and hose. Both help w/humidity.
Humidifers work wonders. They're not only great for plants, but people too..So, this fall, if possible, invest in one..Look around..choose one that holds at least 10 gallons of water. 3 gallons run out of water, way too fast. If you work, water will evaporate before you get home.
Good luck, Toni

    Bookmark   May 30, 2007 at 3:48PM
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Hi, Toni-
Thanks again for the advice.
The sunporch is windowed on the west, east and south sides, I had the gardenia in windows facing the south. The sunporch has 10 windows (I haven't put any screens in yet) and a screen-door, and I leave the other door which leads to the dining room open during the day, to keep it cooler on the porch; so it is getting some air circulation with the doors and overhead fan. It still seems too "tropical" in there, too hot and stuffy. That's why I moved it upstairs, to a new, less-tropical location, but still in southern facing windows. I do have some other plants on the sunporch, but they seem to be lavishing in the temps.
I guess I moved it since it seemed to be declining rapidly, and I couldn't bear to come home everyday only to find it in worse condition. I'll give it a chance in it's new surroundings for a couple of weeks.
I wish I had read your response about not repotting it so soon, but thought I was helping it. It's repotted in a 12" clay pot, just a bit bigger than the plastic container it came in. (enough room to grow, but not too big).
Will keep you posted and hope that my efforts to try this new plant work out well!
Oh---i did buy a spray bottle and have misted the leaves often, once a week, or just every time I water it?

    Bookmark   May 30, 2007 at 9:00PM
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Hi FG, How's your Gardenia doing since you've move it? Is there any way you can set outdoors?
Remember, the problem w/this plant isn't your fault; Gardenias are plain stubborn..especially when they're first brought home..They have to acclimate to our conditions which they don't like..To be honest, imo, I think 'denias don't like change..Especially when brought from the perfect environment to our dry, hot homes.
Actually, I mist daily..I've 3 'denias, two trees, and one dwarf variegated..If my trees were smaller I'd take to sink once a wk to hose foliage, but they're too tall..last time I did, 3 wks or so, water spilled all over the kitchen floor..LOL. And because the hose is only so long, it didn't reach top leaves. So, I have to resort to misting. Because 'denias are mite magnets, I also add a couple drops of grapefruit dish soap..But this is something I do, it's not written in stone..LOL..Hope your plant is doing well..when it's time to fertilize, use any Azalea fertilizer. Sprinkle pellets atop soil and water. Toni
Wanted to ask, your 'denia isn't wrapped w/foil is it? Don't know why they place foil around pots, all it does it kill our plants. So, if there is, remove fast.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2007 at 4:14PM
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notanatural(z6 NY)

French, gardenias are very temperamental as I'm sure you know. Everytime I've got a new one, and re pot them, they drop buds and have a few yellow leaves. I think that's normal for them.

Hopefully your gardenia is doing better in the new location. Mine was in our bedroom at first, right in front of a south-east window. It was there all winter and did just about 'ok'. I just moved it to the livingroom, slightly off to the side of a southern window, where it gets dappled afternoon sun, and now it's loaded up with buds. So a small change like that can definitely help.

Air circulation will definitely help so try to keep a window open where the plant is.

If your gardenia is still yellowing, then there is something else wrong I guess- maybe the amount you're watering or check for bugs.

How often are you watering? I just re potted mine into an unglazed 8" clay pot (was in a 6" plastic before) and I'm noticing in the last month or so that it's needing a LOT of water. I don't know if it's the new pot or the weather change or perhaps a combination of both but it's doing really well since I've increased watering.

I agree with Toni- gardenias love misting. You can use just plain old water if you wish- but like Toni, I am paranoid about mites and use drops of neem oil in the water when I mist.

I don't think you can mist too much (unless you get really gung-ho and do it multiple times a day)- so mist as often as you can. I used to do it every day but now I'm too lazy and maybe 2-3 times a week. It doesn't matter if you do it when you're watering or not. Just, in the winter, remember not to do it in the evenings when it starts getting cold and remember not to put them in direct sun right after misting.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2007 at 7:34AM
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