The Q&A Archives: Yellow Leaves

Question: I bought your first love Gardenia plant, had it put in the
ground, I have gotten beautiful flowers, but I notice towards the base or bottom of the plant, the leaves are half
yellow, and some are all yellow. I was told to buy soil
acidifier plus iron, should I use it now on the plant?
I don't want to lose my plant.

Answer: Yellow leaves can be caused by many things including lack of nitrogen, insufficient light, water-logged soil (plant roots need oxygen to thrive), dry soil, or iron deficiency. If the older bottom leaves are yellow, but new growth is green, it's usually a lack of nitrogen. If new leaves are yellow, with green veins, it's usually a lack of iron. (Lack of nitrogen is a more common problem than lack of iron.) Soil should be kept moderately moist (but not wet). Finally, transplant shock can contribute to yellowing. If new growth shows up as green, that might be the problem. Try to isolate each of these possibilities one at a time to determine the problem. Finally, gardenias do prefer an acidic soil and our soil is highly alkaline, so they do not thrive here. You will probably need to have a regular maintenance program of soil amendments to keep the leaves green.

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