Gardenia Bloom Question

jnine(z9 AZ)June 19, 2005

I have a Gardenia planted in a pot. It's under a covered patio so gets mostly shade and a tiny bit of sun. The plant looks great (really, nice green leaves, grows very slowly though) - I haven't gotten any flowers (only had them right after taking it home from the nursery). How do I get the gardenia to bloom?

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tomatofreak(Z9 Phx USA)

This is not a gardenia's favorite place (think Southern US), so be glad it is healthy, green and growing, however slowly. It will bloom when it's good and ready. Do *not* put it in the sun thinking that will help. I think you have it in a good spot now.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2005 at 2:32PM
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Pagancat(Phoenix, AZ)

I concur - sounds about perfect. I seem to remember people feeding it fairly regularly too, that might prompt it to bloom.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2005 at 3:02PM
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frangipaniaz(z9 Az)

Ok... A question I think I can answer... I've got a gardenia in a pot right now under the eve of my house in the front, it gets filtered sun most of the day... at this time of year it is way to hot and you won't get a bloom off of it... I had a huge bloom season in spring (probably 50 blooms)... when it cools off some it will bloom if given adequate water and fertilization... It's optimal temperature is around 75-65 degrees, that's when it blooms the most... Is it trying to bloom, such as putting on blooms that die and fall off? Either way if it looks good and is nice and green then you're taking good care of it... It's just too darn hot for it to bloom right now... just remember it likes moist-ish soil and fertilization... but don't freak out if you don't get blooms this summer...

    Bookmark   June 19, 2005 at 5:53PM
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fertilization is the key here to the blooms.

I like osmocote(timed release), won't burn.

Gardenia's esp. like bone, or blood meal.

good luck

    Bookmark   June 19, 2005 at 6:26PM
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frangipaniaz(z9 Az)

Yes... I use osmocote... I couldn't remember the name...

    Bookmark   June 19, 2005 at 6:34PM
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jnine(z9 AZ)

I'm guilty of not fertilizing it enough. Sometimes I give it Miracle Gro - for acid loving plants (I think it's the blue box???). I guess I should fertilize it more often and I will pick up some osmocote. It's on a drip line now (in the pot) on our covered patio. It has grown very slowly but has always looked good (i.e. glossy green leaves). Can I use osmocote and the bone or blood meal or is one of those sufficient? Thanks!

    Bookmark   June 19, 2005 at 8:25PM
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AzDesertRat(AZ 8b Sunset 12)

One of the problems you will have in getting gardenias to bloom here is that they have to wait for the correct temperatures to "set" their buds. Generally, they need nightime temperatures in the 50's to set buds. Once the buds are "set", then they will mature and turn into flowers. Brittany had mentioned when she had blooms on her gardenias and I am just expounding on what she said.

I would not recommend using bonemeal to increase the phosphorous (the middle # in NPK) because it would increase the ph of the soil too much. The ph of bonemeal is generally high because it also contains calcium carbonate which is another component in bonemeal. It is hard enough here to lower the ph of the soil here so that they can survive. Bat guano would be a better alternative if you decided to go this route. Look around for different types, some are higher in nitrogen, others are higher in phosphorous (great stuff, btw).

Using a fertilizer to acid loving plants is not something I would suggest except once in long while---maybe every couple of months or so. Generally these types of fertilizers have a high N component which makes the leaves nice and green (which you noticed), but will often be at the expense of the flowers. In addition, except for the small amount of sulfer present in these types of fertilizers, they do nothing to lower the actual ph of soil. All they do is make some of the nutrients available for them which they could not do for themselves in alkaline soil.

Since you are growing it in a pot using potting soil I assume, the ph of the soil should already be to its liking--if you want to lower it a bit, just add some regular peat moss when you transplant it. I think using that particular type of fertilizer may be a waste unless you like really green leaves. A more rounded fertilizer would probably be a better choice (15-15-15)

My suggestion is to ignore them for now. If you want to add a safe fertilizer, pick up some cottonseed meal at a local nursery. The NPK of cottonseed meal is approximately 7-5-2 and will actually acidify the soil while breaking down. If your plant looks nice and healthy now, let it go. Trying to induce the gardenia to bloom may change the conditions enough to actually harm the plant. Wait until fall and spring when the blooms occur naturally. Ignorance is bliss with these plants.

GL and HTH

    Bookmark   June 19, 2005 at 9:57PM
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jnine(z9 AZ)

Ignorance is bliss is true. I haven't done anything with the gardenia except give it miracle gro (about every other month or two)and it looks like it's doing pretty well. Thanks for all of the advice. I'll wait until fall and see what happens.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2005 at 12:24AM
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Does it have buds on it? If you don't get blooms this summer due to the high heat you will probably get plenty of buds growing over the winter that will bloom next spring. Mine all bloomed in the spring and then one of my plants put on a ton more buds and just when they were about to open in the last couple weeks it dropped all the buds. It otherwise looks healthy except for some yellow leaves with yellow veins. I'm wondering if it is the heat. I cut back on watering thinking it was yellow from overwatering but then it got droopy and some leaves were still yellowing. If the yellow leaves had green veins I would suspect chlorosis but it doesn't. Another one of my plants dind't grow a second set of buds after the spring bloom. Strangely, my "First Love" tree gardenia had a flush of blooms this spring and has a bunch of buds right now that are starting to open. They are picky plants in the desert. I just baby them and hope for the best.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2005 at 12:27AM
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RdRnnr(z9 AZ)

My mom's always did very well here in a north side border with part sun, fertilized regularly, and a bit of iron applied every couple of months. My little one in a container is still blooming right now. It's on a north patio with early morning and late afternoon sun, fed weekly and kept evenly moist in a fast draining mix. They seem to take a rest from blooming when they care to, lol. Yours sounds healthy and I'm sure it will bloom for you after resting. :)

    Bookmark   June 20, 2005 at 9:53AM
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frangipaniaz(z9 Az)

If you get a slow timed release fertilizer remeber that it works best if worked into the soil... I also use miracle gro and it loves that too... again, it's too baby the daylights out of it now and when it cools off I think it will reward all of your effort :)

    Bookmark   June 20, 2005 at 5:12PM
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jgee(7a BC, Can.)

Epsom Salts will solve your blooming problems. One tablespoon per gallon about once a month. Works for me.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2005 at 12:18PM
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