The Q&A Archives: Gardenia plant suddenly dying

Question: I have a Gardenia plant that did real well for 2 or 3 months, but now the leaves are turning black and it appears to be dying. Am I watering it too much?

Answer: Growing healthy gardenia plants can be a challenge, even for seasoned gardeners. 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. Prune off the affected leaves and adjust the soil's pH and your plant should regain its health. Best of luck with your gardenia!

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