My Big Gardenia Bush Died.

sweetannie4u(midOK_z6b/7a)May 30, 2010

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.

~Annie

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fluffyflowers(z8 GA)

Woo hoo! It's nice to see a plant come back to life after it seems to have been lost :)

    Bookmark   May 31, 2010 at 6:04AM
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organic_kitten(8)

I was not going to read this, since I didn't want to read about a gardenia bush dying. Of course, I did, and bless goodness, it wasn't a sad story after all.

Hooray! I'm so glad your gardenia lived. My big one has startes blooming now, and I do love the fragrance, so I'm glad you didn't lose yours.

Yes, 7you'll have to figure a way to cover that baby.
kay

    Bookmark   May 31, 2010 at 2:32PM
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cyn427 (zone 7)

Yippee!

The same thing happened to one I have in a pot-put it out too early and thought it died. Maybe I will try planting it like you did this fall. It came back gangbusters and I would love to have it in the yard. Would probably have to cover it, especially if we get another winter like the last!

SO glad yours survived, Annie-and now you have two more to add-what fun!

    Bookmark   May 31, 2010 at 4:12PM
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newyorkrita(z6b/7a LI NY)

I am glad that your gardenia is not dead. I could never have anything that I had to fuss with and wrap or protect. Or even bring inside for that matter. My neightbors wrap all their figs and have offered me figs trees so many times. I tell them I would leave it outside to die, not into wraping.

I will have to look for those gardenias you said are hardy to minus 20. It rarely gets to zero here so they might do very well.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2010 at 4:33PM
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aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

Great news Annie, I didn't know there was a hardy Gardenia, I'll be looking for one too.

Annette

    Bookmark   May 31, 2010 at 4:38PM
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sweetannie4u(midOK_z6b/7a)

Once again, Annie flubbed it.

The tag I was recalling must have been for another plant, not the gardenias. I am so sorry about that mistaken info.

BUT, it is cold hardy for 10 to 0 degrees (Zone 7), not just zone 8-10, so that is still pretty good.

I went out and got the tag off one of the Gardenias.
Here it is:

Gardenia augusta, 'Crown Jewel'

Crown Jewel Gardenia from Garden Debut
A low-growing, spreading-to-prostrate Gardenia with double white, medium-sized flowers in early summer. Bright green foliage is medium to small sized for the species. Prefers well drained, moist soil.

Campanion plants:
Twist of Lie Variegated Abelia
Golden Dream Boxwood
Bunny Blue Sedge grass (shows images of each)

Use:
Used as a focal form in small landscapes and gardens

Care:
Newly planted landscapes require more frequent watering than established plants. Wind, temperature and soil tpe are factors to consider in determining watering. Mulching holds moisture and cools in the summer, and insulates in the winter.

Hardiness: (already stated above)
Cold Hardy to 10 to 0 degrees, (Zone 7)

Flowering (already stated above)
Double white blooms in early summer

Exposure:
Partial Shade for best performance

Watering: (already stated above)

Average size:
2 feet tall and 5 feet wide.

Fertilizing:
Feed early spring and early fall with an all-purpose fertilizer.
----------------------------------------------------------
Apparently this is a small company that breeds winter hardy plants for this region, located here in Oklahoma. That is why the Farm Center buys some of their plants from them.

From plant descriptions, it sounds like their plants are guaranteed hardy for Zones 6b to 9.

Check out their other plants. I love their daylilies, and their 'Twist of Lime Abelia' and the 'Crystal Falls Mondo Grass', especially.

Once again, sorry for my misstated facts about this plant.

Some of the flower buds began opening today and they smell so wonderful!

~Annie

Here is a link that might be useful: Garden Debut

    Bookmark   May 31, 2010 at 10:33PM
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deanna_in_nh(5a/4b)

I am so glad your gardenia lived. They are such a fabulous plant. It's one of the few plants I miss way up here. When blooms finally come (not till next year, maybe?) you'll have to take in several whiffs for those of us who can't enjoy gardenias unless it's a Yankee Candle!

    Bookmark   June 1, 2010 at 4:58AM
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armyyife

Good news! I love gardenias too. A friend gave me one that someone gave her and she never got around to planting it but put it out and left it for dead at the back of the yard for a year. She asked me if I wanted to try and save it and I said sure. Well it was looking rough, very few leaves left and those weren't looking to good either. I took it home cut it back to a few stems and watered and fertilized it. Now it is growing back very nice and healthy and waiting to be planted.

I'm happy for you that your original plant has come back to life and now you have your new ones to add to it and boy will it be smelling good in your yard next summer!:O)
~Meghan

    Bookmark   June 1, 2010 at 8:43AM
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