The Q&A Archives: Wilting And Browning Leaves On Gardenia

Question: I recently brought a beautiful green gardenia tree from Navlets and than purchased 50 dollars of supplies to make sure I transplanted this wonderful tree just right. I love gardenia's smell, reminds me of home (Hawaii) I put love and blood behind transplanted this small tree and now it looks like its dying. Leaves are falling off very rapidly and they're brown and dry. Please help me save my tree. What could possibly be happening to it? Could it possibly be going thru this until it gets new leaves and comes back beautiful????
thank you so much, Nannette

Answer: Transplant shock may be causing the problems you describe. Over-exposure to sunlight might also cause the leaves to turn crispy brown. As beautiful as they are, gardenias can be a real challenge to grow. They're very picky about their surroundings. They 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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