Do's Don'ts For Potted Gardenias

luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)March 22, 2007

I am going to try growing some gardenias in pots (overwinter inside or in the garage) and would like to hear any information you guys have on the subject. I have never grown any potted plants before; I always plant in the ground. I am hoping this will allow me to grow a greater variety of gardenias.

Some topics that I would like to hear about: how big should the pot be, what material should it be made of, what should I use in lieu of soil, how often should the potting soil mix be changed, when should I transfer the plant to a bigger pot, how & how often do you water in pots, how/when do you overwinter, etc etc etc.

Thanks in advance,


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I don't have to overwinter, so I'm no help there. I have one in a pot, Miami Supreme,it is about 3 feet tall and wide. I have it outside and water twice a week, it's in a 7 gallon pot, in miracle gro soil. I used the acid fertilizer once in the fall and will use it again soon. Only problem I had was scales, which I spray off with the hose once each week.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2007 at 8:16PM
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luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

Thanks for the info, silverkitty777. Let me ask you a few more questions.

Are you suggesting that Miracle Gro Potting Soil provides an acid medium that gardenias like so little acid fertilizer is required?

Does the pot need to be of a certain size relative to the size of the shrub? Why did you choose a 3 feet tall pot for your plant? What type of pot material should I use? Plastic? Something else?


    Bookmark   March 23, 2007 at 11:28PM
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Hello again!

I used miracle gro potting soil because I had some left from a large bag, it doesn't provide the acid medium though. I just use the acid fertilizer that is labeled for azaleas, etc.. and so far haven't had a problem but I have only had this gardenia since the fall. I have it in a plastic pot because it is grafted and I will have to bring it inside if our temps go below freezing(plastic being much lighter to carry in). So sorry to not be clearer on the pot, the pot is 7 gallons, and the plant is 3 feet tall. I purchased it in a 5 gallon pot and put it in the 7 gallon when I brought it home from the nursery. I wanted to give it a little room to grow. I wish I could help you more but my others are planted in the ground.


    Bookmark   March 26, 2007 at 8:29PM
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I'm planning on getting a gardenia to kill, I read that a good soil mix is 1/3 peat moss, 1/3 coarse sand and 1/3 regular potting soil. That is what I will try.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2007 at 9:07PM
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luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

Thanks, and wow! You only fertilize in the Fall/Spring??? I thought that, with all the frequent waterings, the fertilizer nutrients would easily leech out the bottom of the pot and force one to fertilize as often as monthly!

    Bookmark   March 27, 2007 at 4:48AM
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I'm sure your right to fertilize a potted one more frequently, my experience though is with ones planted in the ground which get needed nutrients from the soil. I am just lazy about feeding my few potted plants more frequently. Hopefully someone will answer your questions better than I can. This will be the first rain season my potted gardenia goes through so maybe I will have to fertilize during the summer, I 'll wait and see how it looks in July or August. Good luck with yours- they are just wonderful when blooming! Wendy

    Bookmark   March 27, 2007 at 8:50PM
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grwleye(z9/Sunset 22/CA)

Try this and other old posts you can find via the "search":

I've killed my share of gardenias. Make your potting mix very quick draining and only water when dry. Most of the deaths are due to drowning.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2007 at 12:15AM
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I've heard that fertilizing in the fall causes the buds to drop off. But, this is what I heard. I haven't ordered the poor victim plant yet however.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2007 at 8:48PM
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luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

Thanks for the info so far. Here are a few unanswered questions:

1. How do you know it is time to replant in a bigger pot?

2. How often (and how much) do you have to water YOUR Gardenias that are in pots?


    Bookmark   April 7, 2007 at 7:52AM
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Hi Luis,
I only grow a couple of standard Gardenias in pots and I bring them in over the winter and have them grow indoors (yes, I almost lose my mind over this...LOL). I don't pot them up to larger sizes because the pot is already a large diameter. If you're growing the smaller Gardenias, you can look for roots coming out of the bottom drainage holes, or lift the plant out and look for the roots circling the pot. They don't seem to need a lot of repotting.
I water my gardenias almost daily (or every other day) in summer when they're outdoors. I rinse off their leaves, too. I think I just like playing in the water, though. I do feed them monthly during the warm season.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2007 at 9:39AM
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What would cause some of the flower petals to turn brown when opening. Too much late day sun?

    Bookmark   May 14, 2011 at 5:14PM
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A HUGE change in it's extremely comfortable situation. If the leaves are green and staying that way it should be fine. No late day sun ever hurt a gardenia.

Good luck


    Bookmark   May 15, 2011 at 5:56PM
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luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

Gardenias are very temperamental. Petals can turn brown if the plant is grown in too little light, if the plant is not kept moist (try keeping the soil constantly moist -not wet- as best as you can), if temperatures fluctuate too much (they prefer mid-to-lower 70s during the day and lower nights by night) or if they have an infestation by aphids (common this time of year) or thrips.

However they develop, these brown spots are areas were fungii are developing so dispose of the flowers in the trash, not the compost pile. Pick up plant debris around the base of the plant and also dispose of it in the trash. Do not touch the petals much as they easily bruise and infections can then get into the plant.

Always water the soil, not the leaves or flowers, in order to minimize the chance of fungal infections in flower petals (they turn -of course- brown). Mulch lengthens the times between watering and that is always good.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2011 at 5:22AM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

Splashing water on the petals will turn them brown.

Keep in mind that Gardenias are shrubs not annual flowers so their fertilizer requirements are much lower even in pots.

They do often get iron chlorosis which appears as light green/yellow new leaves with dark green veins. MirAcid has chelated iron in it and will correct the problem.

Gardenias will rot out if they stay too wet in pots. I lost four in my greenhouse two winters ago because I used Miracle Gro Moisture Control potting soil. It did not drain well and I lost almost everything in my greenhouse. I will never use it for anything but hanging baskets of annuals again. Even my fuchsias rotted.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2011 at 12:25PM
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I always wondered why the sell that MG soil crap?

It has been the death of means for everyones plants I know, and they still sell it.

Shame isn't it? Maybe that stuff would be great for indoor bamboo trees. I am sorry you lost so many plants.


    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 3:45PM
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My potted gardenia plant blooms but the blooms turn brown dry and die before opening. Why?

    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 10:20PM
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Your gardenias have bugs.
Look online under gardenia pests, they will show you pics
and mabey you can ID what is ruining your blooms.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 11:55PM
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Actually, MG Moisture Control Soil is crap. Regular MG, amended with a few other ingredients, (coarse sand, peat, bark and tiny pea pebbles) does great. My Gardenia was purchased 1994 and alive and compact today.

If a plant is watered properly, there shouldn't be any reason it dies.

Of coarse there are other factors keeping Gardenia alive and well.
Sun, humidity, fresh, circulating air, cool temps, fertilizer and if suspected Chlorosis, Iron needs to be added.

Potted Gardenias are not the easiest plants to grow in the first place, despite soil/medium.


    Bookmark   July 11, 2012 at 3:04PM
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I would never allow my Gardinia's to grow outside during winter or temps lower than 65 degs. I live in hawaii so will never have to contend with that. But I do know that my Aimee's and my Native hawaiian Nau's thrive in Pots with Potting soil and Perlite, covered in bark topping with time released fertilizer, 10-30-10. I also have irrigation sprinklers and misters which gives them a cool bath during these hot summer months. Or you can use a few Pine needle sprigs, we dont have that in hawaii, so hense the use of the acid Fertilizer. I use epsom salt and soil acidifier fertilizer to maintain ph, Garedenia's love an acidic environment.
This produces HUGE Blooms and Awesome smelling flowers. My Nau (Native hawaiian Gardenia) has the smell of the gardenia, but with a hint of coconut oil, fantastic plant. Oh yeah, my Tiare Gardenia's (Tahitian Gardenia)
have been blooming since May and keep blooming every night. Incredible Plant

    Bookmark   July 15, 2013 at 6:49PM
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Ok...So where is the pics please??? I would love to see them and good to see you:-)


    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 9:36PM
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Don't do, do don't
in a pot, thanks a lot

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 3:00AM
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Now that is a ryme you made in no tyme..:-)


    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 7:46PM
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I have been a lucky one! A friend sent me a gardenia from a florist. I live in Upstate NY and so it's potted and indoors. It begins blooming in November and through January. It also bloomed this summer. Granted, I have babied it with distilled water and pebbles (for humidity).

    Bookmark   October 1, 2013 at 1:39PM
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I want to add that it's amazing to see it at my sliding glass window in the dead of winter - blowing snow and cold outside - and blooming like crazy. It seems to like the SW exposure.

This post was edited by cupakathy on Tue, Oct 1, 13 at 13:52

    Bookmark   October 1, 2013 at 1:40PM
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