The Q&A Archives: caring for gardenias

Question: I have 2 gardenias. They both did really well and had tons of flowers. Now one of of them has started to grow flowers but they appear to go brown and fall off before they bloom. The other is doing really well on the otjher side of the walkway. the ailing one has yellow leaves. They are on ocne a day sprinklers in San Diego early am.

Answer: If the plant develops flower buds but they turn brown before opening, the problem is most likely lack of sufficient humidity. Although your plants are getting enough water, the yellowing leaves may need a dose of iron (you can feed with a special gardenia fertilizer which has all the elements these plants crave - look in the fertilizer section in your local Home Depot). Try misting the plants once a day by sprinking the foliage with a garden hose. Between the feeding and the sprinkling, your gardenia should perk right up.

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