Cold-hurt Gardenia-- is it really dead?
I posted this question in the "fragrant plants" forum, but didn't really like the answer I got, so I'm gonna give it a go with my fellow southerners!
I have a beautiful "Mystery" gardenia that I bought last summer. It has the biggest, most beautiful fragrant blooms! It thrived in a pot through the summer, then I decided it would winter-over best if I put it in the ground.
Everything was going great until mother nature decide to send the "polar vortex" down south. We had a couple nights of single-digit temps and I didn't even think about covering her up. A few days later, all of the leaves started to turn crispy (as you can see in the photo.) My other two gardenias (August Beauty and one that I don't know the name) fared great and are still green and shiny.
When I scrape the stems I can see green under the bark-- which I thought meant the plant is still alive, but some one else that doesn't matter because Gardenia's aren't deciduous and don't go dormant-- and that my plant is probably dead.
So my question are: Is is *really* dead? Should I trim off all of the leaves and the part of the branches that are dead, or leave it alone? If so, when? Now or wait until spring is officially here ( mid-March/ early April)? If it *is* still alive, when should I start fertilizing?
I really don't want to lose this gardenia-- the flowers smell like heaven!