The Q&A Archives: Gardenia Care

Question: I was given a gardenia plant that my Mom had for a few years. Lately some of the leaves have begun to turn yellow. It needs to be repotted and I don't know what type of soil to use. It was so beautiful and green with shiny
leaves when she gave it to me, and now about 12 of the leaves are turning yellow. Is is too much water or not enough? What are the best ways to re-pot this plant? I don't want to lose this plant. How can I make it thrive?

Answer: 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.

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