The Q&A Archives: Unhappy Gardenia

Question: Hi, I hope you can help!!!
My beautiful gardenia does not look good this spring at all. It has yellow leaves with black spots on the leaves. I am not sure if this is a fungus or if the winter was too harsh this year in N. Carolina.. Please let me know what you think...
Thank you,

Answer: It sounds like a bacterial leaf spot disease, especially if this description fits what you are seeing on your plant: Bacterial Leaf Spot (bacteria--Pseudomonas gardeniae, Xanthomonas campestris cv. Maculifolium-gardeniae) Small, round ovoid spots on young, tender leaves are the first sign of bacterial leaf spot. As the spots enlarge, the center is at first pale yellow and later becomes reddish-brown surrounded by a yellow halo. Margins of the lesions are thickened and water-soaked in appearance. Spots may coalesce to form large, irregularly shaped spots. Severe infection may cause defoliation. You can try cutting your gardenia back to remove the affected foliage and to open the plant up to better air circulation. You'll also want to avoid overhead watering. Best wishes with your gardenia!

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