Dying Gardenia

h0wir0nic(Zone 9)May 6, 2010

Okay, I know from reading all of the previous posts that gardenias are extremely hard to grow. I've searched and searched on what to do with mine, but I haven't quite found what to do about it, because my problem must be rare. So, I'll start from the beginning.

Okay, so my boyfriend and I moved into a new house where they had a bunch of plants. I've never had to take care of any because my mom has a black thumb. lol but, they had a pair of trees/bushes planted very close to our palm trees, so my boyfriend dug them up, because he said they were too close. When he asked his great aunt what they were she said "Oh! Those are gardenias, and you've probably killed them." :[[[ This was probably late February/early March. I know now that that was the wrong time to transplant them, but what can ya' do?

Well, we planted them in a sunny spot, and they've just been going downhill from there. They slowly started wilting, and now a lot of the leaves are brown. BUT, I have hope for them! Because, some of the leaves are still green, and they even have some new growth. I'm just not sure if I'm killing them more, or what. How often should I water them? Should I pull all of the dead leaves off? I don't know. I've read of gardenias giving people headaches and stuff, and I can see what they mean. I know it's going to take some time for them to get better, but I don't think they're quite dead yet, so I'm trying until they die. So could you guys give me some advice?

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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

Gardenias are a lot harder to grow as houseplants than they are in the garden provided you live where they will actually grow in the garden.

Depending on where you are, they may not take full sun. They may be frying.

Palm trees typically have very shallow small root zones so they probably weren't hurting anything.

IF you are in Southern California, Florida, Arizona or Vegas (where I picture palm trees), Gardenias need more shade not sun.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2010 at 3:01PM
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I have no idea where you live.
You stated there were some trees, bushes close to your palm trees.
The gardenias were probably older and well grown in, that is why you are calling them trees.
Your soil is probably good for them if they grew nice and big, but the palm trees were probably shading them, gardenias don't like full sun, especailly zone 9.
He probably yanked them out of the ground, not careful with roots, so if you can't plant them in a spot with afternoon shade, they don't have a chance.
Don't feel bad, everyone makes mistakes in gardening.
You didn't really like them anyway, that's alright.
They aren't hard to grow in the ground if you have the right climate.
Now, in a little pot overwintering in a hot house in the winter, that is a whole different story.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2010 at 12:15AM
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h0wir0nic(Zone 9)

I live in Florida, and the more attention that i've paid to the gardenias, they're in morning sun, but after about 12 they're shaded. they don't get FULL shade, the sun shines a little through the trees. my boyfriend didn't yank them up, he was careful with them, he just didn't know what they were and didn't want them right next to the palm trees.
I do like it, that's why i'm trying to save them. :[
But, here's a picture, you can see the green, not much though.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   May 13, 2010 at 6:35PM
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I am not sure if you know this, but Gardenias DO NOT like their roots disturbed..

You will never believe how long it took for mine to fully recovere after a transplant..Almost 3 months! Sure your climate and growing conditions are a perfect match, but these plants don't care about that.
I have an Aunt who transplanted one of her's from one side of her garden to another in Daytona, and it took 5 months to fully recover..It held on though, and that is the key.

It may take a while for it to fully recover, but eventually it will if you give it the proper care. You have a far better chance than any of us here who have to grow them in pots.

Just make sure your trees are in FAST draining good composty acidic soil....Do not feed at this time until the leaves perk up when they are drinking properly. Can you give it a root stimulator? I think MG makes a product to help the roots along and prevent shock..

Are you watering it well, as the new roots are trying to form? Have you checked for insects, using a magnifying glass looking for spidermites, since they are notorious for attacking weak plants?
You might have a a water uptake problem, while at the same time a sucking bug problem on your leaves, sucking what ever moisture there is in your plant.

If you don't want to spend the time looking for insects, then I recommend you spray for them to be safe after the sun sets, or way before it rises. If before it rises, spray, wait an hour or two, then spray your tree off with just plain water.

Also, direct afternoon sun in your area is a no no, but doable...From the sounds of your description, they should be happy with the amount you provide.

If your BRANCHES are dying, then you have a whole other issue...If not, don't be too concerned if your taking the proper steps to help it along..


    Bookmark   May 14, 2010 at 8:30AM
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h0wir0nic(Zone 9)

the branches aren't dying, that's one of things my boyfriend checked. he said "I think it's time to give in, they're dead" and i told them they weren't and he went and broke off a branch! he said "I guess you're right, the branches are still green". i couldn't believe he did that!
how do i know if the soil is acidic? is there things to buy to check it? and, how do i make sure it's "composty"?
i haven't fed it, i know that while it's in shock, that'll shock it more. :]
how often should i water it? because, i don't want to water too much...
do i just need to check for spidermites, or are there others who will attack it also?
sorry about all of the questions. like i said in my first post, i'm new to this.. :]

    Bookmark   May 15, 2010 at 12:19PM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

From what I see in the photograph they got way too dry after being transplanted.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2010 at 9:06PM
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I am going have to agree with buyorsell888..

One needs to transplant into a FAST draining soil so you can continually water it without fear of rot, while the roots try to put out new ones into the new soil..

You can buy a tester at any garden store to check Ph.

Composty, meaning very good organic soil, rich in nutrients and beneficial bacteria..Sort of like adding peat, dehydrated manure, maybe a root stimulater, or a good top quaility compost bag at any hardeware store you can mix in with your garden soil.

Spidermites "ARE" the usual suspects in dehydrating of leaves and flowers on weak and suseptable gardenias..It wouldn't hurt to check for mealy bug, aphids, scale and the like which I doubt are there...

Are you spraying water on your plants leaves daily, and is your plant in a lot of shade for awhile? If not I would device a plant to keep the hot sun from hitting it until the roots can hydrate your plant properly..


    Bookmark   May 16, 2010 at 12:24PM
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You don't have to test the soil, or add compost, your gardenias were happy where they were.
You have great soil for them if they got a nice size like that.
They look dry.
MULCH, MULCH, and MULCH. Pine mulch not up to the trunk.
Water them when you stick a finger next to the trunk down about an inch and it's dry.
You are right, do not feed them at all.
Next spring feed them.
They will probably be alright. They are just complaining.
May take a little while, but as long as you have nice green leaves on it, and remember to water it when you do the water test, it will be fine.
If you can buy pine needle mulch, they like that too.
Mulch is your friend. LOL!

    Bookmark   May 17, 2010 at 12:54AM
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That is the best advice anyone could of givin you!!!

Butterfly should have lifted a weight off your shoulders, and has simply stated what might work! Butterfly has never disappointed me in keeping mine alive..


    Bookmark   May 17, 2010 at 1:05PM
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h0wir0nic(Zone 9)

thanks so much for the advice.
what ya'll said is really helpful.
i'll do the water test and get some pine or pine needle mulch. once again thanks so much! :DDD

    Bookmark   May 17, 2010 at 9:38PM
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