The Q&A Archives: Gardenia Bush

Question: I don't know if this is considered a bush or flower but planted the bush about 2 weeks ago the bottom leaves are turning yellow and the buds that were on the bush never bloomed they just turned brown. This is my newly planted gardenia bush. Someone told me I needed an acid fertilizer. Can you help me. Barbara

Answer: Gardenias are finicky, and any change of location or humidity or sun can set them back. I suspect the fact that it's newly planted is the reason for the yellowing leaves and browning flower buds. Just for general information, gardenias need at least a half day of full sun to bloom, but at the same time, the hot afternoon sun can be tough on them. Morning sun is best, so an eastern location would be ideal. You might also try a southern or western exposure with some filtered shade. Buds that turn black or drop and bottom leaves that are yellowed are sure signs that gardenias aren't getting enough light.

Leaf drop can also be caused by improper soil pH (gardenia require 5 to 5.5pH - on the acid side.) Yellowing and leaf drop are also signs of various soil nutrient deficiencies such as nitrogen, zinc, and iron.

Finally, if the air is too dry, your plant will drop buds and leaves. Try sprinkling the plant every morning to increase humidity (and also discourage spider mites!).

Hope these suggestions help!

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