Frost Proof Gardenias black leaves - when/how prune?

wynswrld98(z7 WA)February 22, 2011

Here in zone 7 (Puyallup, a Seattle/Tacoma Washington suburb) I have five Frost Proof Gardenias planted around various locations on my 1 acre property. As winter has progressed the gardenias have gotten worse and worse. Most of them have all of their leaves black, a couple of them have a tiny amount of green leaves with the rest black. None of the plants have dropped the leaves. The plants are 12-18" tall.

Anyone know when I should prune these back and how much to prune them back to give them some vigor to find out if they leaf out to see if any of them didn't die?

I've tried other varieties of Gardenias that advertise them as "hardy" and all have been failures so this is my last bunch...

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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

They have frozen out on you. Pull them up and try something else in that spot.

Something hardy.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2011 at 9:29PM
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wynswrld98(z7 WA)

Any suggestions of alternative fragrant small evergreen shrubs that are hardy to zone 6 (I'm in zone 7 but I want a pad since things that have said they're hardy to zone 7 aren't hardy where I live), hoping for something 2-3' tall evergreen and fragrant.

Any suggestions?

    Bookmark   February 26, 2011 at 8:11PM
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mbuckmaster(7B/NC)

Abelia might work...no where near as fragrant as gardenia, but it has a slight scent and some varieties fit the 2-3' and evergreen bill.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 12:33AM
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butterfly4u

Wynswrld,
Don't pull them out.
Leave them alone and thee is a good chnce they will be jsut fine. Is this their first winter planted in your garden?
It's very early, give them til the end of April, and see if you don't notice a lot of new geen leaves on them.
Don't be impatient, they are just babies.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2011 at 1:25AM
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wynswrld98(z7 WA)

butterfly4u: thanks for the feedback I really have nothing to lose to see what they do this spring. If they are truly dead I should know as we get into May and can replace them with something else (not a gardenia). It's a shame because I do love the smell of them and it's difficult to find many evergreen summer blooming small shrubs. I already have summer blooming daphnes around, was trying to give variety to landscape with other varieties - gardenia foliage sure looks a lot different from daphne foliage so it gives variety.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2011 at 10:38PM
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