The Q&A Archives: Non-Blooming Gardenia

Question: I recently purchased a gardenia, it had many blooms on it but only about 5 blooms opened in about a weeks time. Now it is turning yellow and the soil and leaves are drying up. I re-potted it to a larger pot and it looked like it was root bound. The blooms are still there but have never opened. I watered it from the bottom by placing it in a sink filled with water and letting it sit for about an hour or so. it gets full sun during the day about 5 hrs and night time temps around 56-60 degrees. The tag says not to fertilize when there are blooms on it.Is there any other recommendations you can give me to get a healthy looking green gardenia???

Answer: It sounds like your plant is protesting its move from the greenhouse to the home environment as well as the shock of repotting. Gardenias are notoriously difficult (nearly impossible) to grow as houseplants and the simple shock of moving from the greenhouse to home can kill them. (Stress can also cause the plant to stop blooming and even die back.) These plants require an acid soil mix and plenty of bright light with ample humidity and a moist but not soggy soil; they will tolerate a short stay in the house but then need to be returned to the optimum conditions of a conservatory or greenhouse in order to rebuild strength to bloom again the following year. In my experience it is really best to enjoy a gardenia as a "bouquet" without trying to keep it as a houseplant -- unless you have a greenhouse.

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