gardenia questions!!

mboney88(5-6)June 10, 2011

hi! i was wondering why my gardenia is still losing buds and getting yellowing leaves! i got rid of a spider mite problem and it is outside on my porch and gets mourning sun.should i give it fertilizer? i have some orchid fertilizer but it says also for acid loving plants too. any respose will be greatly appreciated!! thanks!! matt

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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

How long have you had this plant?

Another extremely important element in growing healthy container plants ( besides the amount of light/sunlight) is the quality and consistency of the potting medium. Your potting mix can be THE determining factor as to the health of your plant.

That potting mix determines water availability, soil oxygen, soil gas exchange, dissolved nutrient availability, and root development, just to name the things I can think of quickly. SO! If your gardenia is having problems, then you need to look at the potting medium.

If a potting mix is too mucky, peaty, or dense, or hasn't been changed in a very long time, it can be a problem for the plant. So can under or over watering. Yellowing leaves, for example, one of the primary symptoms of over watering (among other things). Oftentimes, the stuff that our plants come already potted up in is pretty awful.

And, yes....ALL containerized plants absolutely require that you give them fertilizer. They won't have a source of those essential elements unless you do.

It seems like most orchid fertilizers have more nitrogen in their analysis than your gardenia will like. What is the analysis of what you have? It may be perfectly fine, but we need to know those three magic numbers.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2011 at 11:39AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

If you are in 5b and this plant is only getting morning sun, I would think the problem is insufficient sunlight. The one in the ground in my yard is in full sun. Next door is one that receives sun until about 2 or 3 pm. They are both 6 ft. tall, stiffly upright. My Mom has a couple in shade until about 2 pm and they are sprawling things that don't flower profusely or as often. Direct sun at higher latitudes is much weaker than it is at the latitudes where these plants would grow outside. You have to take that into consideration when coddling plants from warmer climates and lower latitudes.

LOL to this... Rhizo, you recently reminded me that store-bought potted plants can have slow-release fertilizer in the soil, so I'm passing that on to mboney. Check before adding more fertilizer if you've recently acquired this plant. And, as rhizo mentioned, I suspect this plant has been overwatered from the symptoms.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2011 at 12:24PM
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well the fertilizer is 30-10-10 and ive had it since 2 days before christmas this year and when i got it it was pot bound so i repotted it about 1 or 2 months after that i think and it has never bloomed but has gotten close and it has the round little fertilizer things in the soil but i dont know how much it has now and i thought that if you fertilize the gardenia when it has buds that it will lose them??

    Bookmark   June 10, 2011 at 5:59PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Good one, purple! Mboney should be conservative with any fertilizer application while there are still some slow release prills in the soil. And the 30-10-10 analysis is a bit heavy on the N (first number) for gardenias.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2011 at 11:46PM
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mehitabel(z6 MO)

Yes, I agree with everyone above.

1. Gardenias thrive in more sunlight. Mine get full sun all summer on a pantingly hot deck. With more light, there are more buds formed and the growth is thick and tighter. With less sun, fewer flowers and looser, floppy growth.

The other advantage of more sun is that they need lots more water to cope with the increased sun, so they are more forgiving of not-perfect watering. What kills most gardenias is a root rot/too much water cycle. Sometimes it starts with getting too dry, then too wet.

2. Fertilizer. Never fertilize an ailing plant is the #1 rule of fertilizer. Fertilize when a plant is happily growing and getting lots of light. That's when it can use the fertilizer for further growth.

The 30-10-10 formula is too heavy on the nitrogen. It's more like a grass or green-plant formula. Too much nitrogen produces weak growth that's more susceptible to every kind of disease and pest. It's also easy to overdose with nitrogen this high. I've killed a couple of plants with too much fertilizer, a hard-learned lesson.

What I use for everything is a more balanced formula like 10-10-10

3. Leaves yellowing -- a leaf yellowing now and then is normal. Lots of leaves yellowing at once is how plants suffering from root rot (and possibly dying) act.

A plant in a lower light situation needs lots less water than one out in full sun and wind. Be careful to water only when the top inch or so is dry.

I would take it out of its pot and look at the roots, see if they are okay. Gardenias do much better in a clay pot, so I would then repot into a clay pot just big enough for the roots. Then I'd very gradually start acclimating it to more sun over a period of a week or so, til it's in the most sun you have.

The rule is: more light, more water, more fertilizer. Less light, less water, less fertilizer.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2011 at 11:55AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

Here's a pics of my Mom's sad, and mine in , a SW corner. It looks a little sparse because I pruned it like that a few months ago. It had a lot of dead growth in the center holding bunches of leaves and it just looked ill, like it couldn't breathe. Some of the leaves had some kind of black mildew or fungus and aphids - maybe from the aphids. It's making a lot of new growth at the bottom, the blackness and aphids have left the leaves, and it bloomed well a few weeks ago.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2011 at 4:59PM
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hey everybody!!! sorry about not responding!! ive been busy with band but anyway my gardenia now has 3 open blooms and more are swelling!!! and all i did was give it a little bit of fertilizer and moved it to the south side of my house!! the picture is of my gardenia!! not completly up to date but close!!

Here is a link that might be useful: my gardenia!!

    Bookmark   June 18, 2011 at 9:07AM
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