wintering gardenia tree

littlem_2007November 17, 2007

I need your help: I brought my 4 feet tall gardenia inside the sunroom for the winter end of Oct. the sunroom is kept at temp. of 45F to 50F at night and about 50F to 60F during the day. I have not watered it since I brought it in because the soil is still moist. I have sprayed it with FE and a couple of weeks later with neem oil because of thripe (?) on one of the orchids in the same room. ever since it has been in the sunroom, the leaves have been yellowing and falling. there are still alot of flower buds and the flowers are opening up. there are new growth at the ends of all the branches. this is the first gardenia i have managed to keep for about 6 months. are the yellowing leaves normal for this time of the year? am I doing/not doing something? TIA.

Sue

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snasxs(7-8 VA)

The yellowing may not be normal, given your ideal temperature and light. Just to play it safe, you might make it a little warmer 60 at night, 70 during the day. If necessary, you will have to pull the whole root ball out, carefully, and let it breathe.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2007 at 3:57PM
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littlem_2007

hello, Snaxsx, thanks for responding. I will try the temp. thing and see if the yellowing slows/stops.
sue

    Bookmark   November 18, 2007 at 5:53PM
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snasxs(7-8 VA)

Sue,

The leaves with some yellowing will continue to "yellow out" completely. Don't worry about them. But it normally takes a few weeks before an aged leaf turns yellow completely.

Just two more things: use a soil-moisture meter. For now, keep it on the dry side. If root-rot occurs, the plant will look dehydrated in a wet pot. Check the back of leaves for mites. They are tiny but move. You can buy mite spray from Wal-Mart, etc. The spray is effective and clean. I like them. Gardenia has no toxin what-so-ever, so every insect feeds on her.

Would you share some pictures of your plant?

C

    Bookmark   November 18, 2007 at 8:29PM
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littlem_2007

hello, C, after I emailed you yesterday, I did spot check some of the leaves for mites etc. did not see anything but will check again. I used a bamboo skewer and pushed it down the side of the pot to "loosen" the soil a bit. I did see some of the roots which were close to the surface and they were white. it was directly under the ceiling fan which is on 14 hours a day; so i moved it away from there. I also put it on a plant stand without saucer so that some air can go underneath the pot. I will post some pictures once my son comes by with his camera and show me how to do it. What about using a systemic on it? thanks lots for your advice.
sue

    Bookmark   November 19, 2007 at 5:03PM
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jimshy

Spider mites hide on the underside of leaves and in the crotches between stems and branches.

A gardenia is always going to go through some leaf yellowing and dropping in response to going indoors, the question is, how much healthy growth is left? It needs at least 4-6 hours of direct sun up north, less light, more leaf drop and general fussiness.

I'd hold off on a systemic until you have proof you're dealing with bugs, you don't want to shock those sensitive roots any further.

Good luck!

Jim

    Bookmark   November 19, 2007 at 10:18PM
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snasxs(7-8 VA)

Sue,

It sounds like that your plant is doing fine. Follow the instructions of Jim the expert, especially on light.

I use a Wal-Mart leaf-spray called Houseplant & Garden Insect Spray (Brand Name - Garden Safe). I find it safe for Gardenias.

Enjoy the fragrance! I look forward to your wonderful pictures.

C

    Bookmark   November 19, 2007 at 11:52PM
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charlottelily

Hi
I have a gardenia standard about 5' high. I bring it inside every year around Sep. I don't leave it so late as the house is not heated yet and there is not such a big difference between indoor/outdoor conditions. Still, my tree usually goes thru a cycle of yellowing and dropping of some leaves. My advice is to leave it alone - no spraying or fertilizing. It needs to adapt to the new environment.

Oh, before I bring it indoors, I give it a thorough bath with the garden hose followed by a spray with insecticidal soap and an inspection to make sure I've cleaned off any insects. Again, this is easier on the plant when it's not too cold yet.

I keep a fairly cool house and I believe this is preferable to hot dry conditions. I use a humidifier as well.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2007 at 4:04AM
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jimshy

Charlottelilly, that's excellent advice on the bath and spray!
I second her on giving gardenias time to adapt to coming indoors for the winter, and keeping them cool, bright and humid.

snasxs, if you think I'm an expert, you should see how badly my Kleim's Hardy gardenia is doing, for reasons that have me completely baffled! ;>)

Jim

    Bookmark   November 20, 2007 at 8:51AM
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littlem_2007

hello, everyone, thanks alot for all your advice. I will hold off doing anything. and will post pictures as soon as I can.
sue

    Bookmark   November 20, 2007 at 9:23AM
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birdsnblooms

I agree with Charlotte..I too hose my 13 yr old gardenia tree before bringing indoors..I spray Fish Emulsion, 2-4 drops of dish soap, ground garlic and ground citrus..this is done once before bringing inside.
I don't use chemicals for insects or fertilizers once the plant is inside, going through a semi-dormancy.
My Gardenia sits in a south window, in a semi-unheated room..I mist leaves daily w/plain water, and keep a humidifer in an adjacent room running while gas heat is turned on.
I'd let the tree be, Sue. Please don't add systemics or any insect sprays unless you know for sure your plant has insects. If you happened to find insects, ID the type, then apply whatever insecticide is used to kill that perticular bug.
It's important soil isn't kept soggy. Toni

    Bookmark   November 21, 2007 at 4:56PM
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littlem_2007

hello, Toni, i had actually followed your advice from another thread and I did spray it with FE but i did not add the rest of the stuff because it was not mentionned before. however, i did it twice and also with neem oil a week later. I was trying to cover all bases. I don't think there are bugs - i keep on checking the leaves - there seems to be some dirt but nothing moved and no webs or stickiness. the dirt was barely moist before i watered it again. i hope that it is just "spoiled and fussy" (like my children).
sue

    Bookmark   November 21, 2007 at 5:39PM
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dicentra(z6B)

I go through this every year in bringing my Gardenia standard indoors for winter. It drops leaves, looks a little bare, gets mealy bugs, cries for help, and tries my patience. Good grief, why do I bother? If it wasn't for the winter blooms, I'd throw in the towel with this one. But come summer, it leafs out and blooms in full glory, and I am reminded that plants have to be forgiven, too.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2007 at 11:01AM
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littlem_2007

hello, dicentra, thanks for sharing your experience with me too. i will try not to over react and be patient. i have posted a picture of it on another thread because Snasxs wanted to see. please take a look also if you have time. it is continuing to have yellowing leaves and some leaves are actually drying out. I mist it every couple of days or so. thanks.
sue

    Bookmark   November 25, 2007 at 12:41PM
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