Ask a Question forum→Frost proof gardenia - leaves turning yellow

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Savannah, Georgia
Jun 9, 2020 6:47 AM CST
Good morning. I seem to be having a problem with a few of my frost proof gardenias. These were recently replanted (~4 months ago) because the previous gardenias in these areas died. I can't seem to figure out what is causing it but I'm thinking it's overwatering or lack of nutrients.

I run the irrigation on this area every other day for about 12 minutes. We have been getting a lot of rain lately and when we go without rain I will take a hose to the plants that looked like they were struggling. As far as fertilizing, I have applied ironite and a general 10-10-10 fertilizer to all of my gardenias. I have around 20 gardenias total and about 5 are having this problem. Any ideas what this sounds like or looks like from the pictures?

Savannah, Georgia
Jun 9, 2020 6:52 AM CST

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Savannah, Georgia
Jun 9, 2020 6:54 AM CST
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Name: Luis
Hurst, TX, U.S.A. (Zone 8a)
Dog Lover Region: Texas Salvias Roses Hibiscus Plumerias
Jun 9, 2020 7:22 AM CST
I would monitor the soil moisture using the finger method. Insert a finger into the ground to a depth of 4" or so and see if it feels dry, moist or wet. If it feels dry or amlost dry, there is no need to water. If it is wet or soggy, you may need to turn off your sprinkler until things dry out enough. After each watering to the plant, the soil should feel moist toa depth of 8" approximately (use the finger method to see if you watered enough but check to a depth of 8").

It is normal to see some yellowing leaves in Spring, anytime that you change the location of a gardenia and anytime that you disturb the roots by transplanting. The more you disturb the roots, the more yellow leaves you can see.
King George, VA (Zone 7a)
Region: Virginia Canning and food preservation Seed Starter Annuals Deer Hostas
Composter Vegetable Grower Bulbs Peppers
Apr 11, 2021 4:55 AM CST
I have the exact same problem with a few of my gardenias. Did monitoring soil moisture improve your plants?
Savannah, Georgia
Apr 11, 2021 11:00 AM CST
JLO111 said:I have the exact same problem with a few of my gardenias. Did monitoring soil moisture improve your plants?

I wasn't able to figure out the problem. I'm actually getting ready to pull them up and switch to loropetalums. Seems like every other plant is dying while ones right next to them are doing perfect. 🤷🏼‍♂️🤷🏼‍♂️
Name: Luis
Hurst, TX, U.S.A. (Zone 8a)
Dog Lover Region: Texas Salvias Roses Hibiscus Plumerias
Apr 11, 2021 9:53 PM CST
Loropetalums may be ok although barely. They are typically good up to 0°F only. They -barely- escaped my -2°F temperatures on February 2021 but had injuries and it took over month and a half to get "some" leaf out (very limited not in large enough areas) or to produce new growth from the base. I still have not pruned them out; waiting to see if they leaf out some more as good chunks (> 90%) still lack new foliage. These were more than 10+ year old plants that had mulch and were watered the night before. I should replace them but there is a lack of plants in the state after all the plants that died and I do not want to spend that much money on plants with covid in the area.

Your lowest cold temperature was a few years back around 3°F so, with current weather extremes, it is possible that you may hit that low again or hit a little further below. That may be bad news for loropetalums. If you want less hassle than I am going through, get something a tad hardier. Abelias performed well, for example, but, they have different color foliage, blooms, etc. When researching, do not just check the USDA Zone as that is a collection of averages ('real life' may have lower temps). Sometimes, sources may have some info about approximate "terminal" temperatures for some plants, which can of course vary for many reasons too. There is no perfect source of information but, it helps to know all this before buying if you can.

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