The Q&A Archives: Gardenia Leaf Color

Question: We have just purchased three 3 gal. August Beauty Gardnenia in a local nursery to be planted. They are healthy looking enough except the leave color seems to be a paler green (tint with yellow)- especially the new growth - than the Gardenia shrub we had at our old house. Is this caused by nutrient deficiency. Should I add a particular kind of soil amendment when planting them in the ground? Or will the leaves mature to a darker green? Thanks.

Answer: The leaf color may be normal (new leaves are often a paler green than mature leaves), or it could indicate a nutrient deficiency. Gardenias like an acidic soil so what you might try first is feeding it with a liquid fertilizer such as Peter's or Miracle-Gro. Liquid fertilizers work faster than granular fertilizers. You should see a change in 10-14 days. If your garden soil is on the alkaline side, you might want to amend the planting bed with some peat moss prior to planting. When you feed your Gardenia, either use an acidified liquid fertilizer or one formulated especially for Gardenias. Either will help the leaves maintain a dark green color.

Best wishes with your new gardenias!

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