Ask a Question forum: Indoor gardenia -tips on making the soil more acidic?

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Nov 20, 2016 7:39 PM CST
I have been growing gardenia with grow lights indoors and I bought a soil tester and the reading says it is pretty alkaline (level 7). I have been adding 1tsp of vinegar when I water the plant, but the acidity level doesn't change. I'm afraid to add fertilizer and mix it into the soil to because I heard that gardenias don't like to be moved, so I just put in fertilizer spikes in the soil. It seems to be growing new leaves and budding, but the buds dry up and fall off and never get to fully bloom. Any tips on getting it to bloom? Thanks!
Thumb of 2016-11-21/Lshih/283199

Name: sy
Northern Ireland (Zone 8a)
Region: United Kingdom Native Plants and Wildflowers Enjoys or suffers cold winters Birds The WITWIT Badge Container Gardener
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Nov 21, 2016 8:52 AM CST
I don't know how to make it bloom! but flushing your medium with clean fresh water or rain water should help, id go with rain water because it is slighly acidic and if it doesn't help in changing the ph it will help flush out any salts that have built up! So say its a 2 litre pot then use 4 litres of water.
Other than that you could try adding a little bloodmeal or bonemeal which will lower the ph but I don't think its a good idea to add fertilizer at this time of the year.
Heat zone 1-2
Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
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Nov 21, 2016 9:04 AM CST
Vinegar is a weak acid and is not good for plants--in fact I use it as a herbicide on pathways. Soil that contains peat will be acidic, or add some Aluminum sulphate.
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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Nov 21, 2016 9:05 AM CST
Have you tested the pH meter with anything else to make sure it's accurate? From the picture I'm not seeing much in the way of interveinal chlorosis, which is what one would expect if the pH was too high. When I've used vinegar to lower soil pH for an individual plant in the ground it has been one teaspoon per litre of water, which is a bit over 4 US cups according to my conversion app. I only tried a gardenia once and found it rather temperamental, and that was outdoors.

There are some suggestions for flowering a gardenia in a Q and A on this NGA site here:

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