The Q&A Archives: Mystery Gardenia Leaves Yellow

Question: Just planted 6 gardenia's in a partially shady area in my yard. Put in the extra acid fertilizer that the seller suggested. I have good drainage and have watered 2 times a week. Are the yellow leaves saying that it's getting too much water? Any suggestions? Thank you.

Answer: Growing healthy gardenia plants can be a challenge, even for seasoned gardeners. You're lucky, though, because your mild weather makes it possible to grow gardenia's outdoors. Many gardeners must winter them over indoors.

Since you've recently installed your gardenias, I suspect they're just going through a little transplant stress. As soon as the roots become established, they should begin to look healthy and grow happily. Just for general reference, gardenias require a rich, very acid soil (pH 4.5 to 5.0). An abundance of moisture and high humidity is the most important factor in successful gardenia culture.

Unfortunately, gardenia is often a disappointment to gardeners because it can be very, very demanding. For flower buds to form and thrive, night temperatures need to be between 60-65F. During the day, temperatures should be 70-75F. A very constant, even temperature is required or buds will drop. Bright light is essential, but avoid direct mid-day sun in the summer. Best of luck with your gardenia!

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