Answer: You've pinpointed the most difficult part of growing gardenias: getting those buds to open. The plants require high humidity and lots of water. Gardenias are finicky, and any change of location or humidity or sun can set them back. Routine misting with water will help raise the humidity around the plant. Once your plant is in the ground and experiences daily misting or sprinkling with a hose, it should hold onto and open those beautiful buds.
Best wishes with your gardenia!
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