How to care gardenias - Knowledgebase Question

Temple City, Ca
Question by lilylee98732
May 21, 2010
I had submitted question on how to care for gardenias, but never got an answer: I just purchased a 3-gallon gardenias and planted in the ground. Leaves are already turning yellow and not healthy looking even though I have been watering daily. Why? What type of fertilizer do you suggest I use when the flowers bloom? I should not fertilize until the blooms appear, correct? If not, when?

Answer from NGA
May 21, 2010


We're very careful to answer questions within 24 hours of submission so if you didn't get a reply, we probably didn't get the question. Things sometimes get lost in cyberspace - who knows where they go?? So, sorry you had to submit your question a second time!

Since you've recently planted youre gardenias I suspect they are just pouting a little until they adjust to their new surroundings. Some wilting, yellowing leaves and even dropping of flower buds should be expected for the first 3-4 weeks. Once the roots establish themselves, your gardenias should perk right up. They like moist but not soggy wet soil. Daily watering might be excessive. You might want to probe the soil between waterings to see how moist it is. If it is still moist a half inch beneath the soil surface, you won't need to water for another day or two. If it seems dry, go ahead and water. It's normal for the oldest (innermost and lowest) leaves to turn yellow and fall off. The plant quickly replaces them with healthy new leaves. If the new growth is yellowing, it can indicate overwatering or a need for fertilizer. Gardenias prefer acidic soils. If you did not amend the planting area with peat moss, you can mulch over the soil surface with peat moss or compost and then feed your gardenia with an acidified fertilizer such as Miracid. You can feed every 4-6 weeks (or as recommended on the package). Hope this information provides some reassurance.

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