Gardenia leaves drying out

tonyb416(z5-6 NJ)November 22, 2008

My gardenia's leaves are now almost all crispy and falling off. I think it might be an overwatering problem. I usually mist the plant every day, but I've been holding off watering the plant's soil for close to 3 weeks. The leaves are now quite crunchy to the touch. Have I overdone it with the water? It's in a southeastern facing window that gets about 2-3 hours of direct light and 2-3 hours of indirect light. I have noticed some small leaves coming out so it's not completely gone. Any suggestions would be appreciated.


Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'm by no means a gardenia expert, so I'm going by my own murder of my gardenias. What is your soil like? Gardenias like lighter soil that is fast draining and a low ph. Is it rootbound? I finally figured out that I had killed mine because it was soooo rootbound and wasn't getting any more nutrients. I lifted it out of the pot and it was 100 percent roots! Combined with watering it too much killed it.

Also, and this is a big NOT be nice to your plant! If you talk nicely to it it will KNOW what you want it to do, which is produce beautiful fragrant flowers. Then the game is over, and it'll toy with you for awhile before it commits suicide (do a search for the 'suicidal gardenia' thread if you haven't seen it before, it's HILARIOUS!).

The way I have kept mine from dying is this:

I have it in a south facing window, it's in a big plastic basin thing, and is in a terra cotta pot. I think I just used miracle gro potting soil. I put it in a pot that is way bigger than the plant. I usually mist it every day or so. Occasionally like maybe once a week I will take it to the sink, plug the drain and fill it up with hot water and let it soak and mist it with hot water till the water starts cooling off. Just give it a good watering like once or twice a week, depending on if it's winter or summer.

Also someone here said to mix in some vinegar occasionally (just a bit) to keep the ph low. I also lightly fertilize mine with liquid iron with trace minerals. You might want to hold off doing that until your plant recovers though. I had seen some new growth in the gardenia I thought was dead. I lightly fertilized it and watered it (overwatered it I think) and the new growth died.

I find that gardenias like it dry. I avoid keeping them in plastic pots too, because of the drainage problems. Hope this helps!!

    Bookmark   November 22, 2008 at 6:55PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
tonyb416(z5-6 NJ)

Thanks for getting back to me mersiepoo. The soil I'm using is Miracle Grow's organic potting soil. It seems to be moist and doesn't seem to be drying out much. should I repot the plant now, or wait till spring? i fear by that time, it will be too far gone.

I usually have good luck with most of my plants. I'm growing two citrus plants (Meyer lemon and calamondin) and both are doing rather well and a jasmine that seems to have adapted nicely to growing indoors. But this gardenia is frustrating me to no end.


    Bookmark   November 23, 2008 at 3:31PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi another Tony!

Transplant that plant ASAP!!!! I mean it. I am pretty good at surviving dying plants! Lot's of practice. I actually revive other peoples plants! Listen if you can make the soil AL suggests do it first. The gritty one. The reasoon why I can survive plants is to Al's credit.
If you can't make this soil,
then tke the soil you already have aside from what is in the container, and amend it to make it as fast draining as possible. I personally don't like any soil that keeps a perched water table, that means I use NO FINE particles. But for the sake of your plant and timing you don't have to figure this out. Just amend yours with more perlite,charcoal if you can get some, aquarium gravel, crushed granite small size, pumice, or even just bark fines, the kind they use in orchad mix, any other stuff about the same size as the largest particles in perlite..ok
Take your plant and take out of the pot and rinse the heck out of the root until it is barerooted. I mean every last drop of old soil out. Pick a day over 40 degrees if you want to do it outside and hose it out.
Take a good look at the roots. If you see brown, rotted of mushy roots, cut them out! They should be whitish.
Then take the plant and let it sit in a bleach water solution for about 5 minutes to kill any bacteria that caused rot on your roots. Do this ONLY if there is rotted roots.
Pack new soil into root system, then put in a pot slighly larger than the root ball, and the fill in around the roots.
Then if you can,water it and water it to fill all the air pockets in the pot.
Then, throw it in the shower, and shower it untilleaves are washed too. Then as an added bonus to that poor thing if you can... Put the water in shower on hot, let it hit the shower wall until your bathroom gets steamy,then close door behind you after the water is shut off, and let that plant sit in there all day or all night.
If you can, get a plant shock preventer such as "Superthrive" or "Miracle Grow root developer". If you can't no worry.
Then stick that thing in the sunniest window you have. If you can elevate it for the sun to hit the pot, that would be great such as on small plant stand. Please, give him lots of light.
The light will help it take up water better, adjust to shock better, and dry out your soil quicker. If you can't, at least the soil will still dry quicker, beacause of the pourosity of it now.
Stop spraying it with water for now. I spray mine unless I treat it for pests and mine are growing wonderfully. If anything, if that plant is still sic, you will cause fungus and bud tip rot on it from sitting water this time of year. You have to have the perfect enviroment to leave water on the leaves.
Hope this helps. E-mail me for better info. You can bring this plant to optimal health, yes, even in the dead of winter. I have..:-)
P.S. DO NOT FEED AT ALL WITH ANY FERTILIZER until it satrts growing again.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2008 at 6:34PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Now, If you are underwatering your plant, and Gardenias do not tolerate lack of water to well either, that is a whole different ball park. Your plant may be dying of thirst with wet leaves only. Like I said, the only way you'll know is to check the roots while transplanting, which you should do anyways. Sounds like you have soil not condusive to growing gardenias indoors in the winter up north.
You should get a water meter, or a wooden dowel,and push these into the soil at least half way down. The meter will tell you what the soil is, you can feel damdness on the dowel when you pull it out. If you have neither, then push your finger into the root zone, not the top first couple of inches. You want to make sure the soil near the bottom is not wet. Hope all this helps you..:-)

    Bookmark   November 24, 2008 at 6:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
tonyb416(z5-6 NJ)

Thanks, meyermike. Can I use the type of soil mix I use for my citrus plants? I use roughly 3 parts coconut husks + 1 part peat moss.

I have a sneaking suspicion the roots are too wet so I'll get this plant out of that soil and repot tomorrow night.

-- Tony

    Bookmark   November 24, 2008 at 9:50PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
tonyb416(z5-6 NJ)

FYI, I repotted the gardenia. I found that the surrounding soil was quite damp, but the rootball itself was quite dry. In fact, I noticed the roots had not even broken free out of the original rootball -- could they have not been given the "green light" to spread out?

Well, I scraped the sides of the rootball and pulled some roots free (they were white, stringy) and repotted the plant. It's been in the shower tonight and tomorrow I'll water again and leave it in the shower. Hopefully it will stimulate some new growth.

Thanks for the feedback!

-- Tony

    Bookmark   November 25, 2008 at 9:34PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Anytime!!!!!Happy Gardenia growing!!:-)

    Bookmark   November 26, 2008 at 10:32AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
tonyb416(z5-6 NJ)

I don't think my gardenia is going to make it. it's even drier today than it was 4 days ago! :-(

Could the location be too cold? I have it in a coolish room that gets east/southeast sun. At night the temp in this room tends to drop. would it be better off in a warmer room? I usually keep the house about 69F at the most, with the temp dropping to 66 during the evening. maybe this is what is causing my gardenia to flounder?

    Bookmark   November 30, 2008 at 7:27PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
snasxs(7-8 VA)

Tony, you probably have to let her go. If Gardenia gets root rot, she declines rapidly.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2008 at 10:20PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Are you still watching this post.?
How did the roots themselves look when you transplanted?
Did you rinse all the old soil off the root ball as suggested? Did you at least cut the root ball up..Not that I would do this.....
I got a feeling it is starving for water, dehydrating itself to death still, while the outer edges of the plant is getting wet. I almost lost mine for this reason last year. It kept wilting, and turnig yellow, looked kinda weak. I thought it was staying wet because the soil always seemed damp above and around the roott ball while the root ball was never obsorbing water! In effect, the rootball was dry anyways!! I hope it is not to late.
That is why you have to wash the old soil off. Or you could, which I do not do, cut into the root ball. Not sure how to do this though. I personally think it is less stressful to just rinse old soil off the roots. You still have a chance. Then you can see for sure how the roots look. If your afraid to do this again, then get a wooden dowel, or popsical stick, and shove it into the root ball and see if it comes out dry or wet? Let me know ok!!

    Bookmark   December 1, 2008 at 3:33PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
tonyb416(z5-6 NJ)

>> Did you rinse all the old soil off the root ball as suggested?

Ummm.... err... no, I didn't want to be that radical. I removed the rootball but I found it totally dry. Do you think it's the soil that the plant was originally packed in? I guess I should remove all the soil and go bare root -- might as well -- I've got nothing to lose now, huh?

I appreciate your feedback. I'll keep you posted.

-- Tony

    Bookmark   December 3, 2008 at 11:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Tony, when you water, do you water in a circular motion, wetting the entire top? It's important you water up to the trunk, especially atop roots.
Little sips do more harm then good. Soil should feel dry, look crumbly, then a hearty drink water until it seeps out of drainage holes.

Perhaps your pot is too that possible? It could be the container is too big, and soil too heavy.
I add some black soil, along with other mediums like peat, sand and Perlite.

For the time being, shake tree and remove dead leaves. Nutrients focus on sick/dead foliage, which is something you don't want..Also, plants look unsightly.

You mentioned little sprouts coming in..That's a great sign. By spring they'll be a lot bigger, until the tree is once again compact.

I agree with most of Mike's advice..I don't think I'd remove all the soil at this time, it's possible your Gardenia is in shock now..I also am a firm believer in daily misting. The chance of rot is 1 out of a million..Since you're in NJ, unless you're a Polar Bear, your heat is on..heat causes dry air..although misting isn't going to creat a green house atmosphere, it will help it keeps leaves clean, rids dust..Dust clogs pores.

Don't fertilize, but if you can get hold of Superthrive, give it a does wonders for shocked/sick plants.

Tony, cold and heat lowers humidity..If you have a humidifer, turn it on. It's a wonderful device..for plants, pets and people. Gardenia's need humidity. They also require fresh air. It's way too cold to open a window, but if you have a ceiling or rotating fan, keep on low at least an hour a day..

It's unusal the root ball was dry, yet outer soil moist..How long have you had your Gardenia..Even if it was really potbound before purchasing, if you had the 'denia more than 6 months, added fresh soil, and a larger pot, roots should have spread out, so when soil was watered, all parts were equally moist.

BTW, if there's any foil around the pot, please remove ASAP.
Make sure the pot isn't too large, and water when soil is dry. Insert your finger in the soil to check. Good luck, Toni

    Bookmark   December 4, 2008 at 6:24AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
tonyb416(z5-6 NJ)

Hi, Toni -- was wondering when you'd chime in :-)

>> It's unusal the root ball was dry, yet outer soil moist..How long have you had your Gardenia.... I've had it since August of this year.

I did repot it, maybe the pot was too big?

At least now I know what plants to stay away from -- orchids and gardenias -- but that's probably true of lots of amateur growers!

If I give it a good shake I'm sure 98% of the leaves would fall off. I have a bad feeling about this!

I'll post pics, but I hope you don't think less of me when you see the condition of the 'denia! Really, I'm a pretty good grower -- my citrus, jasmine, and pachira plants are doing splendidly! ;-)

    Bookmark   December 4, 2008 at 8:00AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi.....I have never...never killed a plant no matter what time of year it is of shock rinsing all crappy soil off a plants root system. In fact I can hear them almost say..THANKS FOR TAKING RELIEF!!
If anything I have killed them by cutting or butchering the roots. Even by transplanting and breaking roots,especially this time of year. If it was already healthy, you could get away with doing that, especially in spring, but I will tell you, if you stick a wooden dowel into your root ball and find it is dry, even though the soil around it is too wet, you have a real problem.
You should take that unosorbale soil off your roots. If it is in old peatmoss that has dried beyong dry, then it will never osborb water right again.
I have myself killed a many plant in this caes and so has my neighbor. NOt to brag, but I have to say ever since I discovered great soilles mix and rinse the roots off any of my plants that are in cruddy soil no matter what time of year it is, I am pretty good with surviving any and all plants with this method of taking off useless soil around the roots with a stream of water until they are bare. Not one root breaks this way.
Your plant will not go into shock, infact, it will feel relief and perk right up, if the roots are not dead by now.. That is what happened to my friends gardenia. Within 3 days of changed soil, including a soil wash off the roots, hers perked right up and lived.
If your soil is so compact on the root system that the water does not obsorb into it while the soil around it is getting wet, your going to loose it anyways. That is why I suggested using a wooden dowel or even a dry popsicle stick,even a water meter to make sure. You need to see for sure if your root ball is getting watered. By the time we get to this conclusion, I am afraid it is too late to save your plant. Roots can get so DRY, that they will rot becasue they are to brittle now to take up water.
If if is going to die anyways, why not give the rinsing off your roots a try and put in gently in better soil. Then you will be able to see the health or the roots FOR SURE. At least it will give it a FAR better chance.
If your feet were so tight in a pair of shoes that there was no room for your feet to breathe, would you just shove your shoe into a better one without removing the old shoe? Well your roots could be in a very tight shoe not allowing any air nor water to penitrate, don"t just stick it in better shoe, or soil without first removing the old one... Just trying to help from my experience of failure and success....You don't have to listen. Good succes and happy Friday tommorrow. I hope it works out for you.
And by the way, Toni, Where have you been again!!!
I always miss you!!:-)
Your bug spray is the best yet I have ever had!!!
I could say that Al's soil is a miracle, and your spray is just as valuable to me too. Now I use the best soil, and the best spray!!!

Happy Friday tommorrow.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2008 at 7:47PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
tonyb416(z5-6 NJ)

Didn't mean to imply that I wouldn't listen. I just wasn't sure if I should go to such drastic lengths, but it seems my hand is being forced, so I will get to this ASAP.

Thanks for your patience and good advice.

-- Tony

    Bookmark   December 4, 2008 at 8:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Talk about lousy grammer and rushing you do take care of your plant. I'm sorry. I was too tired to proof read, and I desperately want you to save your plant...:-)
I hope you can save it.
P.S. Everytime you take a plant out from a pot it has been use to growing in, weather it is by transplant with original soil, lifted carefully and gently put into another,knocked out of it from a wind gust, or soil washed of roots, a plant goes throuh some shock no matter which way it is done. They don't know the difference. But if done right, they will respond better. So if you shock it anyways, do it thoroughly the first time, and you might save it and spare yourself from having to do it again.:-)
Let me know how it goes...I wish you sucess...

    Bookmark   December 5, 2008 at 2:08PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Howdy Tony,
You forgot to post a picture. :)
Think less of you? Are you serious? Tony, I hope you're kidding. If anyone said they 'thought less' of a person because of a plant, oh I won't even go there..
Gardenias are difficult, especially overwintering indoors. They are fussy, don't like artificial heat, stuffy/dry air, and wet soil during gray winter days/weeks/months.

I think most of us, especially we who live in cold climates have gone through a handful or more Gardenias before getting one to live. Not just thrive, but flower too. Without chilled days, nights or both, it's difficult forcing a 'denia to bud, flower, and keep more than 2 days before fading away.

I found it strange the rootball was dry, yet outer soil wet..That's weird.
Actually, I've seen something similiar..the problem being, the rootball wasn't potted deep enough, so after it was watered, it slid upward, pushing out of the soil.
Its roots were tightly wound, it was like two separate sections. Because the roots were up higher, in open air/non-sheltered, the rootball dried faster.
When the plant was repotted, soil was placed on bottom, sides and top, making no contact with roots because they were intertwined.
Some people attempt separating roots, but talk about disturbing! I don't have the courage. lol.

I don't know what you decided, but no matter which soil or soil-less medium you go with, after your gardenia is potted, place in a sink or bucket filled w/warm water, let soak until soil is wet.
Remove dead, brown/yellow leaves from stems and any that fell atop soil. Check for insects. Especially mites. Tis the Season to be la la la la la la la la :)

You asked the age of my Gardenia. It was purchased in 1994/5, so it's either 13 or 14 yrs old..The date is written in an old plant journal, but I'm too lazy to find Actually, I've been up all night, so I'm a tad sleepy. Been working on plants, soaking each in the sink, drying, then placing in their spot. The Gardenia will be last since it's bulky.

Mike, I don't want to debate soil with you, :) but I've had better luck using both house plant soil and soil less mediums. Black soil contains nutrients soil less mixes don't. I wouldnt' recommend using heavy soil w/o adding sand, Perlite or both though. That's just my opinion, what works for my plants. Soil less dries way too fast for my liking. Too much

Tony, I hope your Gardenia makes it. If you use Superthrive, add some when you water. They suggest 10 drops per gallon of water for stressed plants..Good luck, Toni

    Bookmark   December 6, 2008 at 1:07PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi toni!!
If I knew how to grow plants in a soil mixter with peatmoss and not the gritty mix I would for sure. But I have no luck in it. The only plants I have managed to grow well without killing them off with root rot is the ones in Al's gritty mix. But this I will tell you. If I am growing anything in a pot 6 inches or smaller, especially in a clay pot, I use the type soil you do. In fact I even add worm vormicompost. Here is something strange.
I actually planted 3 small gardenias in the soiless gritty mix I use and I was watering everyday in the 6 inch pots they were in. So I took one gardenia and stuck it in the same size pot, taking it out of the gritty mix and putting it into a soiless mix with peatmoss and worm compost, and that plant is double the size of the ones that I left alone. I mean much bigger. I guess I don't know how to grow anything that is not in Als griity mix in anything larger than a 6 inch pot without killing it. lol
But I think your soils are great too, if you know how to water properly in it. I look at your beautiful plants, and I envy the fact that you know how to without killing them and that you know what your doing..Hugs
Hope you are well!! :-)

    Bookmark   December 7, 2008 at 3:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
tonyb416(z5-6 NJ)

Here are some photos:

Number 1
From Gardenia

Number 2
From Gardenia

Number 3
From Gardenia

I have repotted it (again, but this time bare root -- nice white roots) and removed all dead and shriveled-beyond-recognition leaves. Now it looks like a dormant tree, however, there are very tiny leaf buds peaking out so maybe, just maybe, the roots were able to absorb some water.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2008 at 6:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi Tony,

Your gardenias have that *CLASSIC* tell-tale signs of *SEVERE* dehydration. Did you water them at all?
If they are still alive, the *FIRST AID* should be to soak their roots in water for at least 3 hours.

You probably are not watering enough your gardenias (at their roots) or the original potting medium (immediately around their roots) is probably too fast drying.

If the latter is the case, then you need to remove the still routbound plants, soak them for 3 hours (as stated above). You should consider using real garden soil mixes for your gardenia as it may work better given for your
watering habits.


    Bookmark   December 7, 2008 at 11:51PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
tonyb416(z5-6 NJ)

Hi Trop,
>> Did you water them at all?
I know it doesn't look like it, but if you read up post, you'll see that I described the surrounding soil as moist, but the plant's original rootball being dry. I removed the old soil that it was originally planted it, all the way down to bare roots, and re-planted it. I think the soil it was originally planted in was too old and ill-cared for.

Now I have to play the waiting game and see if I saved it in time -- but there are signs of promise -- white roots (when I bare-rooted it) and little leaf buds breaking through.

I'll keep ya posted.


    Bookmark   December 8, 2008 at 7:58AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

NICE!!!!!!!!! I am so glad you took all the old soil off. And better yet you saw WHITE roots!!! NICE!! HOPE!! !!
I am proud of you. Don't worry, the tree will respond better to a soil change than to what it was going through before hand. Can you here it thanking you for relief???

The key now is to give it as much light and sun as you can. Stick it in a south facing window. Put it on a plant stand if you can and let the sun even hit the pots to warm the soil up by day. Find a way to keep the roots warmer. Directly on floor tends to cool soil down in pot signifcantly and since your plant needs to strenthen, it will help. Then if you can, buy a grow light and suppliment with this two. The more light you give it, the more the growth will take off and the stronger it will become faster....Too bad you couldn't just stick it outside and it was summer ha , right. That tree would have new leaves within days like one of the gardenias I saved by way of the same process. Please let us know how it is doing ok. Keep us posted on updates and pictures. Remember, give this poor plant all the sun and light you can give it ok.
Don't foget to watch for pests too ,because it is in a weakend state, it is a pest magnet, especially for mites!
ANY, and I mean ANY irregularities in your new growth, other than smooth new leaves, spells bugs, even if you can't see them. Get a magnifyer glass, and be sure to use toni's spray every other week ok. All you need is for the only fresh new baby leaves you get to be attacked by
That will be your final straw probably and you will probably rid of it. Please don't. Just spray it regularly, don't over water, use a wooden dowel if you have to to make sure soil is still moist, if you can shower it or mist it do so. A good showering to wash the plant and soak the pot once dried is wonderful for them.
I would NOT FEED at this time. Wait until spring. And most of all, do not give up, ok. You can do it. You can be a great plant doctor for all your babies and succeed!!! You can revive any sic plant once you get the science down..:-)

    Bookmark   December 8, 2008 at 2:53PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

One more thing. If your having a drying issue for this plant or others this time of year, either because the soil is too heavy, or you used peat, or pot to big, I use a FAN in the room for circulation. For some reason moving air in the room seems to dry my soil out in the pots this time of year alot better. Stagnet air does allow evaporation as good and allows for insects.:-)

    Bookmark   December 8, 2008 at 2:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Stagnet air DOES not allow evaporation. Moving air repels mold, insects, and fresh air for vibrant plants, and dries out potted plants better this time of year!!

    Bookmark   December 8, 2008 at 3:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
tonyb416(z5-6 NJ)

Thanks, meyermike! I AM hopeful as the roots looked like they were in good shape despite the leaves being shriveled up. I'll definitely keep you posted and my fingers crossed!

    Bookmark   December 8, 2008 at 10:24PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hey Mike, and everyone else..Did you guys have a nice Thanksgiving? I hope so..
Speaking of turkey day, most who do the cooking know turkey takes hours baking..while the oven is doing its job, the house (air) dries a lot. Anyone notice? I double mist when baking anything that takes over 2 hours..

Mike, I think you've seen posts where I said, we growers should use soils/ or soil less mixes that work for us.
Back in the 70's and 80's, (at least here in Il) indoor plant growers didnt have much choice buying packaged soils. We bought what was available..soils were heavy, black soil, yet we who grow house plants managed..some died, some lived. Especially when first starting out.

Guess you get a feel when to water, especially using this heavy soil.
I would never say anyone's mix, no matter what they use, is wrong. When people ask, in general, 'what type of soil do you use?' I reply what I use..some ppl might say it's wrong, but they're wrong for making that statement. If it works, and one is satisfied with the results, then we're doing something right.

I agree adding soil=less mediums such as Sand, Perlite, Peat, bark, etc, help w/drainage..peat improves plants that need acidic soil, too. I'm not saying planting in all peat is a good idea, on the contrary, but adding 'x' amount increases acid..I tests soils using guages, so I know for a fact when peat is added to acid loving plants, the needle/s display acid. Lower pH.
So, it's up to the individual.

Mike, I'm assuming your mix is well-draining, right? If so, do you water more now than you did when using soils?
If this is the case, then your mix would be beneficial for ppl who cannot help themselves watering least that's what I get from soil less mixes..more water, more fertilizers, since soil less doesn't contain nutrients.. I'm not sure what your mix consist of.
Do you use gritty mix for citrus too?

Oh Tony..Wow! I am happy hearing your denia is sprouting little leaves..that is positive..Rid dead foliage so sprouted won't be obstructed. Allow as much light as possible.
You may or may not be with me on this, but if you have Superthrive, add some. Please.

Since you've repotted, is the rootball level? It should be level so rootball doesn't sit higher than outer soil, and all parts get watered evenly..I truly hope it works.
Tony, what type of soil did you use? Soil or soil less? If soil less, you'll probably need to water more..
The few plants I potted in completely soil-less mix, dry way too fast..
Tony, I'm not telling you what to do, but besides using soil=less mediums, I'd add a couple handfuls of real soil. If you didn't already, don't unpot poor plant will go into deep shock. Too much stress, especially this time of year. You don't want to lose baby growth.
In the meantime, fill up a container, eg, a used, cleaned out, milk container, with water. When it's time for a drink, use that water.
Keep in brightest light, and artificial light if possible.
Add Superthrive.
Do not fertilize.
Remove dead foliage, including any that dropped on soil.
Check for insects.
Mist or shower in sink. I mist daily, shower once a wk.
Allow soil to dry, (stick finger deep into soil, if it comes out wet, wait a few days and recheck. If it's dry, water.) Guages sometimes work, or lifting plant..if it's heavy, the soil is wet, if light, it probably needs a drink.
Increase humidity, and keey Gardenia away from heat. For instance, don't set directly in front of a vent.
Good luck, I hope it works out..keep us posted..Toni

    Bookmark   December 9, 2008 at 5:15PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My gardenia leaves turned dark brown, brittle and falling off. The over all leaves become sad. Please help me with the problem

    Bookmark   March 29, 2011 at 10:08AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
mehitabel(z6 MO)

Root rot is the most common ailment of Gardenias. Tip it out of the pot and check the roots. If roots are healthy, the whole rootball will come out in one big chunk, and you can just stick it back in the pot, no harm.

If that is the problem, you need to start over with a new plant.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2011 at 12:04PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


I brought my gf's baby gardenia back to life last year and it was full of green leaves. However, i recently decided to put it in a bigger pot that i bought from Walmart.

I used miracle grow potting mix for flowers and cleaned the root ball. A few weeks ago i noticed the leaves were drying out. Now it is practically bare.

Any idea what is wrong or what I should do???

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 7:22AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi Lyle,

The miracle gro mix is a kiss of death for gardenias. I know from experience because it holds too much water, as it is designed to. But in gardenias, this spells root-rot.

Click on the link below and you will learn why it is important to have a well draining medium for your plant.

I currently have my gardenia in the "511" mix and it is thriving. I've had it for several weeks and repotted it after bare-rooting it, into the mix.

You might be able to save your gardenia, good luck!

Here is a link that might be useful: container soils and water movement

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 11:35PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
mehitabel(z6 MO)

I want to comment on the gradenia that dehydrated, rootball being completely dry while surrounding soil was moist.

This happened to me several years ago with a brunfelsia. It came rootbound. It kept declining despite all my efforts, and died. Unpotting it, the rootball was bone dry in a pot full of wet soil. Reading up, I found out that when severely rootbound, the roots become *hydrophobic* -- ie actually repel water. Sounds unlikely, I know.

Here's what I found helped correct for the pproblem of getting new roots on rootbound pants:

First, I soak the plant thoroughly for an hour or two before repotting. If you have some root hormone or root stimulant like DynaGrow K-L-N, add some to the soaking water. Turn the plant upside down and swish the leaves thru the soaking water, as some root stimulant can be absorbed thru the leaves. Also add several drops of a dishwashing liquid like Ivory Liquid to the soaking water. This makes the water *wetter* and more likely to wet the roots.

Soaking it before repotting gives it a better start in its new pot.

I also cut the roots on a couple of sides. After repotting, for about a month or so, add the KLN and Ivory Liquid to the watering water. *Water the pot near the trunk of the plant*, where the roots are, not the outside rim of the pot which is empty of roots.

After a month or so, new roots have started and you can water with plain water again.

Hope this is of help to someone.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2011 at 6:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'm heartbroken! I nurtured my gardenia all through the winter in my cool, back hallway to keep it away from my kitten, because he ate some of the leaves and got sick. Recently, I brought it to my new office and it was doing wonderfully...until I was away for 6 days. No one watered it and the thing is just crispy.
I tried to bring it back w/ water, to no avail. I'll follow all the advice here about repotting, but should I also just trim the branches and get rid of the crispy leaves? I'm afraid to do it, though, it seems logical. How far back should I cut??? Thank you!

    Bookmark   April 15, 2011 at 9:00AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
mehitabel(z6 MO)

You can cut back into green wood. ie, the tips may be dead, but if further back the wood has that thin green rim at the edge, the plant is still alive and may re-prout. Start off by cutting a little and see if that yields living tissue. Leaves like those in the picture above are worthless. Iagree with the others that you should just shake them off.

Remember that a leafless plant needs much, much less water, as there is no transpiration.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2011 at 11:31AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I bought 4 gardenias from a local Home Depot earlier this week, 3 of them resembling the pics above. I brought them home, fed them a smidgen and watered them and I didn't see any improvement :( One of them has nice leaves and blooms and I thought I could save the others, if I tried. I scoured the internet and came upon your site Mike and thought, what the heck. Sounds like something my Grandma would have done. So, I set about to doing just that. Talk about root bound! YIKES! I don't think i had ever seen it so bad! I don't even see any signs of dirt. A few wood chips yes. Soon after I started the rain came down, thankfully! So i let them sit out like they were, letting the rain kiss them all over :D When its done, however long it will be, I will continue to, carefully as i can, break them apart and wash them. Any other thoughts and suggestions? Thanks a bunch! I have never had much success here with them inside so I thought to try them outside.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 12:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I am new to the gardenweb, and a novice gardener. I have read many old posts about gardenia help, and I sure could use more help. My gardenia is about one year old (don't know what variety it is). When brand new, all the buds dropped off gradually, but then it grew and tripled its size. Last August I was away and relied on a neighbor to water in our absence of about 3 weeks. When I returned, the plant was covered with white spots, and some sooty mold. I treated it with alcohol, baking soda, etc., and got it under control. Then I noticed that no matter how much I watered it, it didn't seem to drink it in. I repotted it in December in fast-draining soil (I had purchased a brand specifically for bougainvillea) but I only stretched out the roots a bit, I did not bareroot the plant. Since Dec, it has continued to grow, has started to set quite a few buds, but then over the past three weeks, many leaves have started turning yellow. As I read more GW posts, I learned that I should have barerooted the plant when I repotted it to eliminate all of the old, dry, impacted soil that was probably preventing the plant from up taking water and nutrients. Sooo, three days ago, I soaked the plant in warm water for a half-hour, then I rinsed all of the old soil away completely...scary. I had the pot and fresh soil ready (I had also added a cup of worm castings, and two handsful of rinsed and drained coco coir. I put the plant in full sun outside
(with some mid-afternoon shade). Two or three leaves yellowed the next day.
I have been using a moisture meter each day. Today, our temperature reached about 80 degrees, and when I went to check my finicky plant, many leaves were curled and crunchy. I watered it well. My questions are, is it too late for this plant? What did I do wrong? I have read about the gritty mix and the 5:1:1, but I had purchased a lot of the above-mentioned soil, and the nurseryman said that it would be fine for the gardenia. Can anyone please advise?

    Bookmark   March 16, 2014 at 1:07AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Gardenia suffering multiple ailement
Hi, I recently planted (less than 3 weeks ago) some...
What is finally being evicted this year?
Anyone finally lose patience or be so disappointed...
Maggie (Vancouver, BC 8a)
Pruning Jasmium sambac
A couple of years ago, I got a cutting of a Jasminum...
Lilac identifications
Hi all, Last year I purchased what I thought were two...
chloranthus spicatus
I gave a cutting of chloranthus spicatus to a friend...
Sponsored Products
Butterfly Ginkgo Candle - SILVER
$60.00 | Horchow
Modern Indoor/Outdoor Area Rug: Chandra Rugs Gardenia Purple/Charcoal 5 ft. x 7
Home Depot
Gardenia Faux Linen Sheer Single Panel Curtain Panel, 50 X 96
$25.95 | Bellacor
Modern Indoor/Outdoor Area Rug: Loloi Rugs Rugs Gardenia Lifestyle Collection
$69.97 | Home Depot
Gardenia Brown Rectangular: 5 Ft. x 8 Ft. Rug
$472.00 | Bellacor
IMAX Corporation Leaola Porcelain Wall Flower - 83316
$69.99 | Hayneedle
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™