The Q&A Archives: Gardenia Buds Dropping

Question: I recently planted a Gardenia bush in a whisky barrel. The flower buds turn yellow at the "stem base" and drop off before blooming. I planted it using acidic soil. The leaves and growth look great, but no flowers.

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. I also recommend sinking a few small containers of water into the soil around the plant. As the water evaporates, it will humidify the air immediately around the plant. Hope this helps!

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