The Q&A Archives: Gardenias

Question: My gardenia potted plants have lots of buds which never open. What should I do?

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. Spider mites can also cause bud distortion, and mites also thrive in dry conditions. Look on the undersides of the leaves for tiny black specks and whitish webbing. If you find the mites, use insecticidal soap or a neem-based insecticide to control them. Routine misting with water also helps raise the humidity and control mites. You might try placing your gardenias on a pebble filled tray to which to add an inch or so of water. As the water evaporates, it will humidify the air immediately around the plant. Hope this helps!

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