The Q&A Archives: Gardenia's

Question: I have 14 of them. Planted 3 months ago. They look sad. Some leaves(many) are yellow and smoe(many) are dark at ends--dry. for such a beautiful plant' they should not be looking like that--HELP.
gave them little fertilizer(azalea' camelia type). Water regularly. They look unhealthy for gardenia's. thank you.


Answer: There are many things that can cause yellowing leaves and leaf drop. One is common - gardenias are very susceptible to spider mites, which cause tiny webs on the undersides of leaves and where the leaves join the stems. Another way to detect them is to take a sheet of white paper out to the bush, tap a few branches on to the paper, fold the paper in half and press/rub together. If you see little red, blue, or brown smears, those are spider mites. You can spray them off with a strong blast from the hose (do this daily until they're under control). A product called Neem can also be used to treat for spider mites. Follow product instructions for application. Gardenias need at least a half day of full sun to bloom, but at the same time, the hot afternoon sun can be tough on them. Morning sun is best, so an eastern location would be ideal. Leaf drop can also be caused by improper soil pH (gardenia require 5 to 5.5pH - on the acid side.) Yellowing and leaf drop are also signs of various soil nutrient deficiencies such as nitrogen, zinc, and iron. Finally, if the air is too dry, your plant will drop buds and leaves. Try sprinkling the plants every morning to increase humidity (and also discourage spider mites!). Try pruning the plants back, both to get rid of the unsightly foliages and to encourage the production of healthy new stems. Hope these suggestions help!

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