The Q&A Archives: Winter Care of Potted Gardenia

Question: We have a gardenia bush in a pot that we baby from year to year by bringing it into the house in the is now about 4 feet tall in a LARGE pot and we have brought it in...some of the leaves are yellowing. Should prune it back? It still has hugebuds on it that have been there for over a month! Any help you can give us about this plant and its proper care will really be appreciated.

Answer: It can be very difficult to transition the plants to indoor growing after they have been used to being outdoors. The dryness and extremes of indoor heating tends to cause the leaves and buds to drop. The best you can do is to locate your plant away from heaters and heating vents spray your plant daily. Gardenia are very susceptible to spider mites, which cause tiny webs on the undersides of leaves and where the leaves join the stems. Use an insecticidal soap to bring them under control. Gardenias need at least a half day of full sun to bloom. Buds that turn black or drop and bottom leaves that are yellowed are sure signs that gardenias aren't getting enough light, or that the room temperature varies more than 15 degrees F beween night and day.

The only pruning required is removal of ungainly and crowded shoots, and spent blooms. It may be time to propogate new plants from your prized gardenia in order to keep it a manageable size. Take a few cuttings 4-5" long and place them in a pot of 1/2 peat and 1/2 perlite, kept slightly moist, in a bright place, out of DIRECT sun. Hopefully they'll take and make keeping your gardenia alive a simpler process! Hope this helps!

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