The Q&A Archives: How do I get gardenias to bloom indoors

Question: I've been trying to grow gardenias indoors, but they rarely bloom. What's the secret? Dalla Uebel Santa Rosa, CA

Answer: The secret is light. Without a greenhouse, skylight or grow lights, your gardenias won't bloom indoors. Even a sunny southern window won't do, says Julius Nuccio, of Nuccio's Nursery, which grows more than 75 varieties of gardenias in Altadena, California. 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. Your best bet is to grow them in containers outdoors or in the garden. They should be hardy in your area, as they survived 15_F temperatures here last year, says Nuccio. Plant them in well drained soil and fertilize with an acid based fertilizer such as Miracid once every two months from May to September. Thebest gardenia variety for indoor use is 4 Seasons, while I recommend Mystery for outdoor growing, adds Nuccio.

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