The Q&A Archives: gardenias

Question: Transplanted my gardenia from your pot to a larger one.Put it outdoors when the weather was warm enough. It isn't doing anything, it's buds are falling off and leaves are turning yellow.

Answer: Gardenias have a well-earned reputation for being difficult specimens for even the experienced gardeners. Gardenias thrive on bright light, high humidity, and an even supply of moisture and nutrients. First, make sure you give the plant plenty of bright light, preferably direct sunshine for at least half a day. A healthy, blooming gardenia will need to be nurtured with a steady supply of water and nutrients, but don?t overdo. The goal is to provide the proper balance of water, air and nutrients. If soil is kept constantly wet, the roots will be starved for air. Too much fertilizer can lead to damaging salt accumulation. Monitor the soil frequently for moisture content, and water thoroughly as the top inch of soil dries. Use a fertilizer that is formulated for acid-loving, blooming plants, such as an azalea-type product, according to rates listed on the label. Don?t be afraid to prune the gardenia; in fact, blooming will be more prolific on younger growth. Though the responsibilities of gardenia care are daunting, if you persevere, you?ll be rewarded with elegant white blossoms and sweet fragrance that simply cannot be matched by other plants.

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