The Q&A Archives: August Beauty Gardenia

Question: I have this gardenia planted outside in the ground. It gets full morning and early afternoon sun. Late afternoon it is in the shade. I have kept the soil moist and mulched around it. The leaves are turning yellow in the middle of the plant and new blooms are turning brown before opening. What can I do to stop the discoloration?

Answer: Gardenia's grow best in filtered shade, so find a spot that provides some morning sun, but is protected from hot sunshine from noon on. A northern or eastern exposure will suit it just fine. Plant in loamy, but fast-draining soil. The roots grow near the surface so mulch around the plant to keep weeds down, rather than cultivating around the stem and roots. To keep the plant healthy and happy, sprinkle water on the leaves in the early morning during the summertime. Pick off faded blooms to encourage additional flowering. Yellowing leaves at the center of the plant is normal; these are the oldest leaves and will be shed but quickly replaced with healthy new leaves. The flowers prematurely brown because of low humidity and too much sunshine. Mist or irrigate your plant, move it to a place where it's protected from hot sunshine, and it should perform well for you. Enjoy!

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