The Q&A Archives: everblooming gardenia

Question: I purchased an everblooming gardenia. A lot of buds are forming but then drop off before opening.

Answer: 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 within these ranges is required or buds will drop. Simply moving the plant can cause buds to drop, as can any imbalance in the growing conditions. Keep the soil evenly moist (but not sopping wet) at all times except in winter when watering should be reduced slightly to compensate for the seasonally slower growth. Fertilize regularly but lightly during active growth periods (spring and summer) with a water soluble fertilizer for acid loving plants, according to the label instructions. Check the label also to make sure it includes micronutrients or "minors" to assure a broad based supply of minerals. Gardenias are very susceptible to spider mites, which can distort the buds and cause leaves to yellow and drop. Look on the undersides of the leaves for tiny black specks and whitish webbing. If necessary, use an insecticidal soap spray according to the label instructions to control these, be sure to repeat to control subsequent generations and treat all surfaces of the plant. Washing the plant with a spray of tepid water can also help rinse them away and will also increase humidity which may help those flower buds to open.

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