The Q&A Archives: Mystery Gardinia

Question: I received a Mystery Gardinia bush when my husband passed away in Oct. 2004. I have been trying my best to keep it alive. I fertilize with Miracle Grow for Azaleas and also try to keep the soil moist as stated on the web site. It is now begining to have yellow leaves and looks droopy! Am I watering too much? Not enough for the heat? It didn't bloom this spring as I wished it would have. Please help me keep my memory alive! The silly bush has some sentimental value to me. Thank you so much for your time.

Answer: Yellowing leaves may be a normal thing for your gardenia. Although these are evergreen plants, the oldest leaves eventually do turn yellow and fall off. This is the time of year that it happens most. As long as your plant is putting out new growth, it is healthy.

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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