The Q&A Archives: Are all Gardenia radicans variagated?

Question: Hi, I recently purchased some beautiful gardenia radicans from one of your vendors and lately I have noticed that the leaves are turning variagated. I thought there was a variagated variety as well and that I was not purchasing that variety. Do they all turn this way? A variagated plant unfortunately won't work in this garden. Do you have any suggestions (ie soil amending or substitute gardenia for low ground cover)? Thank you so much!!

Answer: There is a variegated version of the Gardenia radicans, but the species will not alter its leaf color. If you purchased a plant with green leaves but you're seeing a color variation or change, it may be due to soil pH or fertilizers, or even a result of herbicides used in the general area. The leaves of the variegated cultivar have white margins, very similar in appearance to Daphne odora. These plants are propagated by cuttings so they remain true to their parents. If you're still convinced you have the variegated cultivar, take a sample of the plant back to your nursery and see if they will exchange or replace it. If you think the coloration on your plant is more indicative of cultural conditions, check your soil's pH (gardenias prefer acidic soils - in the 5.8 range). If it's too alkaline, you can amend with sulfur. Best wishes with your landscape!

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