My Big Gardenia Bush Died.
I dug it up in a swamp down near Houston about 6 years ago. I kept it in a big pot for several years and then finally set it out in the garden. It bloomed like crazy and oh, the heavenly fragrance in my garden.
I was afraid it wasn't really hardy enough for this zone, so every fall when threat of freeze was given I would put a large tomato cage around it and stuffed the cage full of hay. Then put a trash bag over it. On sunny winter days, I took the bag off so it could get fresh air. It worked just fine for two years. Well, last year I was not feeling too swift, so didn't get it done. All the leaves dried up and it looked bad. I left it hoping it would eventually come out of dormancy. I have done that with roses that died to the ground, and they came back from the roots. In fact, my Angel Face has done just that this year.
However, this spring, no new leaves came out on the branches. I waited until last week. Still no leaves. Surely there would be leaves by now. So, I figured it had given up the ghost. Last week I bought two small Gardenia bushes at the farm center. Both are small but heavily budded. These are very hardy, to - 40 the tag says. WOW! I think they will be more than hardy enough for Oklahoma where the coldest it can get but seldom does is -20.
They have been sitting in their pots out in the shade waiting to be planted. I was walking around thinking of where I might set them out and thought I might put one where the old one was. And guess what I saw? Tiny leaf sprouts coming out on the stems of my old Gardenia!!!!
I couldn't believe my eyes. I did a double takes and got very close to make sure it wasn't some kind of insect larvae or fungi growth, but it was indeed leaves starting to grow out of the branches on one side.
I will not put her through another winter without ample protection ever again, if I have to crawl out there to do it. I am so glad I didn't rush to pull it up and toss it in the rubbish pile.
BTW, that Angel Face rose that came back from the dead has new growth and three bloom buds. It is only about 8 inches tall, but the growth is very vigorous and healthy looking. The darned voles got to it early last year, but I guess they didn't eat all of its roots. Glad I didn't give up on it and left it and continued to water that dead stump.
I am posting this so that you might learn from my experience to never give up hope for your plants to recover.
Give them a chance to recover anyway.