Ask a Question forum: Help! My beloved gardenia is on death's door.

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Santa Rosa, CA
JenniferCoker
Mar 30, 2018 10:23 AM CST
Hi all, I'm looking for some help here in hopes this bush can be saved. I had it in my little greenhouse all winter, just waiting until the nights here in CA wine country warmed up enough for it to go back outside. Well, we had a few days in the 80s while I was out of town, and I came back to the saddest sight: crispy, curled, yellowish/tan leaves. The soil was moist when I left, but I think the sun's rays, intensified by the plastic of the greenhouse, just fried it. I'm heart broken. Do you think this poor gardenia can be saved? If so, please tell me how. I watered and misted it yesterday, when I discovered the carnage, but I think it's too late.
Name: Lin
Florida Zone 9b, 10a

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plantladylin
Mar 30, 2018 11:55 AM CST
Hi Jennifer, Welcome!

Is it possible to upload a photo of your plant? I'd venture a guess, that if your Gardenia still has viable roots, it may begin to show new growth in the coming weeks as long as the soil is kept moist.

Here in Florida, Gardenia's are grown as landscape shrubs but even with our year round humidity, if no supplemental water is offered during droughts, the leaves will dry out and turn brown and crispy.

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Name: Will Creed
NYC
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WillC
Mar 30, 2018 1:55 PM CST
If your Gardenia was outside while you were away, exposure to any direct outdoor sun may have caused that damage. Likewise, Gardenias do not tolerate dry soil at all so that could be the problem.

The damaged leaves will not recover and should be pruned off. In fact, with the onset of spring, this is a good time to prune the entire plant back by a third to a half anyway. As Lin pointed out, it should recover as long as the roots are okay, which they likely are.
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Name: Suzanne/Sue
Sebastopol, CA (Zone 9a)
Sunset Zone 15
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Calif_Sue
Mar 30, 2018 9:00 PM CST

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I leave mine outside year round, I don't think you need to bring it in. Those cold nights we had didn't hurt it. I keep mine on my patio in 1/2 day morning sun. Mine is currently blooming.

Prune back as Will suggested and hopefully the stems are still green.
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Santa Rosa, CA
JenniferCoker
Apr 3, 2018 11:49 AM CST
Thank you so much, Lin, Will, and Sue, for your helpful replies. You have given me hope that I *might* be able to save my poor gardenia. Sue, I am especially astonished to hear that you keep your gardenia out all winter long! Mine seemed stressed by the temperatures in the 30s and 40s, which is why I started bringing it into the greenhouse. I still got lots of yellow leaves, though. I adore these plants but must say that they sure are finicky!

Thanks again, everyone, for your help!

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