The Q&A Archives: My Gardenia plant is dying. Help....

Question: Last April I planted a Gardenia. I have given it the acid base neutrients that it requires, the soil is moist, and it is on the west side of my home so it doesn't get to much sun. Until the past six weeks or so it has grown and given me beautiful flowers. The plant now is losing it's leaves and what leaves it doe have are discolored a dark brown color on the edges and sort of turning up. I am a new gardener so I read everything I could get my hands on so this wouldn't happen. In the past I have killed everything I touched. I don't want my black thumb to come back. If you can help me save this plant I will be a very happy woman. Thank you for any information that you can give me.


Answer: Gardenias are difficult plants to grow, so don't blame yourself for your plant's failure to thrive. They need afternoon shade, rich, moist soil (but don't over-water!) and high humidity. I think your plant is reacting to the hot, dry summer weather. Over-fertilizing plants can cause brown, crisp leaf margins, but hot dry air can do the same. Although your gardenia is stressed out now, it should recover and begin to develop healthy new leaves in a few weeks. You might take this opportunity to prune your plants back a bit. Pruning with encourge healthy new growth and new flower buds. When the temperatures cool later this month and next, your gardenia should releaf and look nice. In the meantime, try hosing the plant off each morning to increase humidity and make the environment more hospitable for it.

Good luck with your gardenia!

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