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. I even tried injecting water into the buds with a syringe (which I read about), but had no success. Gardenias are finicky, and any change of location or humidity or sun can set them back. They are also very susceptible to spider mites, which can distort the buds. Look on the undersides of the leaves for tiny black specks and whitish webbing. If your plant isn't too big, dip it upside down into a sink full of soapy water to wash off the insects. Routine misting with water also helps raise the humidity and control mites. Good luck.
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