The Q&A Archives: Azalea, Gardenia, and Hollyhock

Question: My azalea does not bloom nor my gardenia. My gardenia has yellow leaves. My hollyhock has yellow powdery tiny spots on the leaves. How can I control those bugs. Please help me. Your website is really very helpful especially to beginners. Thank you very much.

Answer: Glad you find our site helpful! Azaleas can fail to flower if they are not getting the sunshine they need (or are getting too much sunshine). Each variety has its own preference for sunshine. Or, if they are pruned at the wrong time of year they will not bloom.

Gardenias grow outdoors in mild climates, and as an indoor houseplant in other areas of the country. If yours is outdoors, place it in a spot that will be shaded from hot afternoon summer sunshine. If it's indoors, give it bright light, but not direct afternoon sunshine. In order to bloom, your plant needs a nighttime temperature of 60F - 65F degrees and a daytime temperature about 10 degrees warmer. Without an even temperature and careful watering, gardenias will drop their flower buds while they're still unopened. Keep the soil moist using tepid, soft water, and mist the plant every day to keep the plant happy. It's natural for the older leaves of gardenias to turn yellow and drop off. New leaves will grow in their places. To keep your plant tidy, and to encourage new growth, pinch back the growing tips of the stems. Gardenias don't like to be repotted more often than every 2-3 years. Do so in the spring, using a good commercial potting soil, and putting the plant in a new pot that's only slightly larger than the old one.

Hollyhocks can get a fungal disease called rust if the plants are over crowded or they don't get enough sunshine. There's no cure once your plants have developed the little fungal spores. I would suggest removing the plants and replacing them with healthy new plants.

Good luck with your garden!

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