Did I kill my gardenias?

isho538(z7/ga)April 15, 2009

I have three gardenias, probably August Beauty, forming a 8' by 5' by 3' hedges in my back yard. In the past 7 years they have provided excellent blooms every June. However they did start looking leggy and not so healthy from 2 years ago. Last November, against my yard person's advice, I decided to cut them back because they have grown too tall that are blocking the view. I did not prune but maybe 2 inches off. But over the winter I notice all the leaves turned brown and eventually all fell off. Now there are only 1 or 2 branches still have leaves at the one side that is protected from wind. What a sorry sight! Would they come back at all? If they will, can I cut them down more since I would like them to be no more than 4 feet high. My family love the sweet scent that are always there every June. If these three won't come back, I need to replant soon.

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jay_7bsc(8a)

Dear isho538,
If your gardenias have been looking ill for the past couple of years, do you think their decline may be related to the Easter Freeze of 2007 rather than to your own act of gardeniacide? The Easter Freeze killed our 'Chuck Hayes' gardenia outright, including its roots. Likewise, our 'Kleim's Hardy' gardenia was defoliated, and the plant experienced severe twig burn. Unlike the dead 'Chuck Hayes' gardenia, the 'Kleim's Hardy' gardenia is making a slow, but steady recovery. Along with 'August Beauty,' these two gardenia cultivars are among the most cold-hardy gardenias in the nursery trade. Our two 'August Beauty' gardenias were hurt by the Easter Freeze of 2007 but are well on the way to full recovery, after having their damaged twigs and limbs removed. Maybe your problem is due to that abnormal cold snap. Maybe not. I think you should be able to cut back your 'August Beauty' gardenias to re-invigorate them.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2009 at 3:42PM
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jeff_al

agree with jay and the extremes from the 2008/09 winter did not help. gardenias can do very well for many years until a "real" winter comes along. they are always going to be like that for zone 7 in particular.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2009 at 5:02PM
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cyrus_gardner(8)

There are gardenias in my niece's back yard which are about 10 years old. I take care of them by trimming and feeding.

Like the starter's Gardenias ny relatives gardenias have been doing very poorly for the last couple of years. Last year one of them died and few had a lot of brown leaves. This year more of them are almost bare and not green. My relatives asked my about it. I said "I don't know, I am not a tree expert".
So here we are, reading the above posts I gather what has happened.
Interestingly, the ones next to the house (west side) are ok but the other ones further away are not doing well.
Tonight I am invited for dinner at their home. I will tell them what has happened.

AS we all know, Gardenias are not frost hardy evergreens.
That is why I have never seen them up north in New England,
except as house plants.

So ladies and genlemen, take a deep breath. You cannot tell the mother nature what to do(hehe)

    Bookmark   April 15, 2009 at 7:31PM
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satellitehead(z8 ATL Metro)

trimming can work wonders for gardenias, when done properly. my neighbor was blown away - they have a full sized gardenia on their side yard that Urban Gardener's contracted people planted - not sure the variety. it looked sad as could be, and was growing totally sideways on 2-3 twigs starting at the crown, and those twigs were sparsely populated with leaves. i asked them if i could trim it back to try to get it to shape up, since it'd been in this poor, leggy condition for the entire couple of years they had it. i trimmed it back heavily on those two twigs, and it went from a couple 2' long sideways slanted twigs that stuck our 6" off the ground to a 3' tall, 16" wide beaming, shiny-leafed green beauty in one growing season. since that happened, i've been religiously pruning my gardenias with great results - i prune them back, and they spring back to life with new growth.

(is this normal, gardenia lovers?)

we have several dwarf gardenias in front of the house ("saidy" gardenias, if i remember right). the leaves yellowed a few times during the drought, but they're doing quite well and shaping up nicely. i probably pruned them a little late this year (early february), but they've stayed green as can bee all winter long (as did the neighbors, and it has a lot of new growth this year!)

i hear direct sunlight controls the volume of blooms.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2009 at 12:46PM
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