Help with Gardenia

Theresa24April 30, 2004

I have several Gardenias in the back doing wonderfully. However, the one I have in front has yellowing leaves. I have fertilized but then when this was still occuring, I added iron. Still had more leaves yellowing so added iron again. This has not solved the problem. Still more new yellow leaves. Did I possible add too much or still not enough? Or is there something else wrong? I have it in mostly morning sun followed by some afternoon shade. Any suggestions?


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WannaBGardener(8b & 4a)

This may sound pretty outlandish, but some one wrote to put Corn Meal around the base of your Gardenia. Last spring, after trying everything I could think of, and still had many yellow leaves, I did the corn meal thing. Guess what Not a single yellow leaf since early last fall. And it is loaded with large buds right now. To apply I removed the mulch, and just sprinkled about two cups of dry yellow meal around the plant. (Ours is about 5 feet tall) Did this twice last year, and will give it another two cups after this rain passes, today. P.S. I don't know if the meal did the trick or not, but it made believers of my neighbors. They are adding meal to their yellowing gardenias now. :-) Wanna B.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2004 at 8:51AM
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I will definitely give it a try. I keep hearing more and more about cornmeal in the garden. Hmmm....

    Bookmark   April 30, 2004 at 9:01AM
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lisa455(z9 LA)

Per Southern Living Gardener's Guide chlorosis is when the new leaves turn yellow or yellow with green veining which can be corrected by adding iron. A lack of nitrogen causes the older leaves to turn yellow from the stem up to the tip. Try adding nitrogen fertilizer. A fertilizer for acid loving plants would work. I have alkaline soil here in Southeast LA and I have to add an acid loving plant fertilizer to my gardenias as well as iron very often. In the winter and early spring the granular iron fertilizer does not absorb into the soil because it is not warm enough so I put mine in hot water to dissolve it. Good luck!

    Bookmark   April 30, 2004 at 3:37PM
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josephine_sc(7/8 Clemson, SC)

Corn meal? Plain of Self Rising? Or would the baking soda in the self rising matter?

    Bookmark   May 3, 2004 at 6:02AM
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comotion(z7 ATL)

When my gardenias turn yellow, it is almost always a sign that they have whiteflies. Before you add any more N, you might want to check for them.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2004 at 10:04AM
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Gardenias are like armadillos, an armadillos native habitat is dead in the middle of the road, and a gardenias native growth habit is green leaves followed by yellow leaves.

Leaf yellowing is caused by any number of factors that lead to stress. The most common is high soil pH, followed by too much moisture, followed by not enough moisture, followed by looking at them cross-eyed, followed by.........

If you want a perfect gardenia all year round, here is the recipe. Have the soil tested to ensure the pH is below 6. Remove the gardenia from its container and break up the roots if the plant is potbound. Place the plant on the ground. Make a 50-50 of bagged top soil with ground up pine bark. Check the pH of your water. If your water is above 7, add a couple of handfuls of iron sulfate to the soil mix. Now mound up the soil mix to the height of the top of the soil of the gardenia and gently slope the soil mixture out to a radius of about 3'.

Your gardenia may now last for several growing seasons before its leaves yellow, if you are lucky and hold your nose right.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2004 at 11:43AM
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To WannaBGardener,
Thanks for your report re cornmeal and Gardenias. I was the one who posted this idea last year for people to trial. Glad to hear it is working for you. For those interested, regular cornmeal (not self-rising) off the grocery store shelf is tossed under a Gardenia shrub about once every three months. Dampen the cornmeal lightly after spreading. It is possible that you will notice a bit of yellow fungus appearing on some of the Gardenia leaves but it is nothing to worry about. I really think that the yellowing and dropping of leaves is a normal process with Gardenias. It appears that the cornmeal treatment does reduce the leaf yellowing. Try it and report results, please.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2004 at 8:12PM
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Dieter2NC(z7b NC)

I use 1 tblespoon of Epsum salts (magnesium sulphate) per foot of height on my gardenias each spring. This was reccommended by the extension agent. Not a yellow leaf since.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2004 at 8:49AM
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andreaAUS(VIC Aust)

Your yellowing leaves will have more to do with drainage than with soil ph. If you want gardenias you can pretty much grow them facing any direction, even in full sunlight so long as the drainage is perfect. They grow so well in shops because they are in perfectly draining potting mix and are watered every couple of days. Buy a bag of compost and a bag of good quality top soil. Dig the compost into your soil with a pitch fork, put it in and twist, keep twisting till you have it mixed in really well( 1 third compost 2 thirds garden soil) make the hole wide not deep. When it is all mixed in, take the gardenia out of its pot and sit it on TOP of your newly mixed soil. Then empty the bag of top soil around the plant so that in the end your gardenia is sitting on top of a mound. You want it so that even if it was watered every day, it would never be sitting in soggy soil. Firtilise with slow release firtiliser and ad epsom salts if the leaves start to yellow. I am sure that this will solve your problem. Just dont forget that with a well drained soil you will need to water them just like the shops do every few days.
This worked with me after I had given up all hope and tried every food/ph tester/position. Try to keep them out of the frost for the first year or so. After that it wont matter. The reason some peoples Gardenias survive with almost neglect is because their drainage is spot on.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2004 at 11:00PM
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Hmm, my gardenias are in perpetually moist if not soggy soil and thrive. I have three regular and 8-9 drawfs. I think it is more of a pH thing.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2004 at 8:39AM
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Hi all,
I have a veitchii that has been doing great in a 14" pot since I purchased it about 3 months ago. It sprouted a lot of new leaves since then but now I notice the leaves are getting a kind of splotchy light green tone. I wouldn't exactly call it yellowing, though there were about 3-4 leaves that went completely yellow and dropped. I thought this just appeared to be a normal process. Would like to know if anybody has ever seen this fading color phenomenon though. The growing conditions are:
Re-potted plant into larger pot upon purchase 3 months ago
Potting mix=mostly Miracle Gro Moisture Control plus several handfuls of gravely aquatic mix for drainage, plus some coffee grounds, all mixed together.
I fertilized once with half-strength Miracid about 1.5 months ago and I added coffee grounds to the top of the soil around base of plant about 2 weeks ago.
The plant gets mostly bright shade (it's outdoors) and full afternoon sun from about 2:00 on. I am in South Florida (zone 10?)
There is still some new leaf growth but they are all that faded splotchy green color.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2004 at 11:00AM
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wilmington_islander(9A/Sunset 28)

All good suggestions! Andones I will keep in mind myself if I ever decide to get another gardenia. I have a blindingly green thumb with most plants, but I have killed several gardenias now. We mix like oil and water.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2004 at 8:58AM
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cookie1944(zone 7)

Hi there!
Gardenias can be grown inground here and stay green in the winter. They do need to be well drained, but love acidic soil. I use the epsoms salt every 2 months from spring through fall. They actually bloomed twice this year. I just love their sweet scent. Good luck

    Bookmark   December 3, 2004 at 1:57AM
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roseyp8255(z8 - SC AL)

Hi ya'll - I am going to try the cornmeal thing - I thought the yellowing leaves was just something to be dealt with. I think my gardenias must be pretty happy where they are at - i planted them in 1998 out of one gallon pots after my mother had rooted them. They are all now over 4 feet tall - the largest one is 5 feet tall and about 3 1/2 feet wide - blooms PROFUSELY, to the point that this spring the branches were laying down on the ground. I pluck the yellow leaves off sometimes to get rid of them - have had a problem with whiteflies, but the sprinkler seems to help with that when it is put right up under the bush. Try it. They have bloomed several "times" this year - blooms come and go - i like to say it is b/c my Mama sends Angel Fertilizer from up above.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2004 at 10:32AM
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kbeard2323(Z9b Tampa, FL)

If the leaves are fading to yellow it is more likely an iron thing. I spray chleated iron on the leaves and it is almost like painting them green! I still have the occasional leaf going completely whitish-yellow, I am going to work on the ph some more.

I do have extremely moist soil even though I made a 2" raised bed. I wish i had mixed in more mulch but now they are rooted so I'm not sure if i can get much worked into the soil without breaking roots etc. Any other ideas for controlling moisture now, other than working in some pine bark? We live in a cypress swamp so the water table is not much farther than the dinner table.


    Bookmark   March 3, 2005 at 1:57PM
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After reading all the above messages, comments and suggestions I just performed the following first aid on my Gardenia with yellow leaves. It also has a few leaves that turn brown at the tips. I first removed the mulch from arround the base of the plant. I than spread 1 1/2 cups of regular yellow corn meal. I than diluted four tablespoons of Liquid Iron and one half cup of Epsom Salt in two gallons of water and sprinkled that over the corn meal. I than replaced the mulch. Next I sprayed the top and bottom of the leaves with a solution of three tablespoons of Ultra Fine and one gallon of water. The only suggestion I haven't done is to spray the leaves with Chleated Iron and I think I'll do that next week. Have I overdone it? Any one with any other thoughts or ideas?

    Bookmark   March 11, 2005 at 7:00PM
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I read somewhere that gardenias like pickle juice, so I always give mine what's left in the jar...

    Bookmark   March 12, 2005 at 10:30PM
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gardeningkelly(7 Tx)

My mother gave me two gardenias for my birthday..They were blooming when I put them in the ground and they are "radicans"? dont know what the hell that means but thats what she said they to do with crawling...

They have since stopped blooming and damned if I cant get them to bloom again..I have deadheaded and fertilized and weeded...still no blooms...I put them in the ground around the last week in May and I live in Dallas Texas...

    Bookmark   July 6, 2005 at 11:45AM
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Kelly, gardenias only bloom once a year. You may get the 'occasional' single bloom every now & then, but the real show comes in late spring.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2005 at 10:48PM
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Counsel(NC Coast)

What if your gardenia has lost leaves (after they turned yellow) and some leaves now have brown centers and yellow parts near the leaf edges?

Any suggestions?

    Bookmark   August 5, 2005 at 1:43PM
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Why do so many people worry about yellow leaves on gardenias? It is an evergreen people! If your pines had large leaves you would be freaking out too. They lose leaves all the time. Leaves do not last the life of the plant. The little cells in the leaves give out and the plant grows. Light conditions change within the microclimate the plant itself creates. If you have a BIG problem with die-back then worry. I'm sorry for ranting bu I have been reading for too long from people on this site about their camellia problems that aren't problems. It is nature. Your cornmeal, iron, etc. don't make any difference to the natural fatigue of the mitochondria in those leaves.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2005 at 8:10PM
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WELL, the yellowing leaves that I had were NOT normal yellowing.....It seems to have been corrected though. Maybe it was something I did (I tried many things so I can't specify)or maybe it is that the concrete is older now, or who knows. But, yes, I do expect a certain amount of dieback with the foliage.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2005 at 8:16PM
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shelley40026(z6 KY)

I am REALLY new at this and love the smell of Gardenia's. Can I grow them outside in Zone 6? I mean, all year round, and not have to dig them up in the fall? Thought I might ask some experts! Thanks!

    Bookmark   August 8, 2005 at 12:42PM
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mhef(z7 NC)

My Radican Gardenias are starting to die. They are in the wilting stage. I have had problems with whiteflies and yellowing leaves. I have given them fertilizer and i may have overdone it with Ironite. I used Isotox for the whiteflies but doesn't seem to phase them. I also have several Kleims Hardy bushes with whiteflies. Can anyone tell me how to save my Radicans and any tips for the whitflies?

    Bookmark   August 11, 2005 at 1:34PM
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Counsel(NC Coast)


Maybe you should just play with your dog....

Does that nice critical statement lower your feelings about your dog? If not, understand that your comment does little for those who care about their plants...

My gardenia is yellowing and browning, and the plant has lost 90 percent of its leaves in June and July. Thus, my post. BTW, not all gardineas lose their leaves in warmer climates (especially hybrids).

With 10 leaves, out of a total of 14 leaves, being yellow, brown, or black, I am concerned. If someone has any suggestions or ideas, please let me know...


    Bookmark   August 11, 2005 at 5:05PM
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I have watered, fertilized, corn-mealed, iron(ed)? ,
acidified, transplanted and chanted over my gardenias. Not a single bloom. Ever.

I am looking forward to my vacation in late Sept. so I have time to garden, and RIP THEM OUT OF THE GROUND.

I casually asked my neighbor (who does not actively garden) what she does to get her giant gardenia to REPEAT BLOOM. Yep, you heard right. It's been blooming on and off all summer.
She replied, "I don't do anything to it. I don't have time to fool with plants like you do."

So I thought..............

    Bookmark   August 15, 2005 at 6:06PM
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Counsel, you have been on this site for 10 days. I have been offering advice here a bit longer. We should both relax. You didn't put your e-mail address on here so I can't send you a private note. I lived in Eastern NC for 25 yrs. Your problem is likely fluctuations in soil moisture. The sandy soil and the rain you have received this year(judging from what my Dad who still lives there, complains about) are the root of your problem. A plant with only 14 leaves is more than likely going through transplant shock. When did you plant it? Is it in the sun or shade? Your soil does not retain a lot of nutrients. Fertilizing a little at a time is best. I'm going to play with my dogs. Good Luck

    Bookmark   August 16, 2005 at 4:56PM
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When i was growing Gardenias commercially I used a fertiliser called azolon or azulon. It was an expensive slow release nitrogen. I never grew better Gardenias. Lush green folliage, no yellow leaves and lots of flowers.
Now I am retired I want to buy a small amount for the dozen gardenias growing in my new garden. Unfortunatly it does not seem to be available. Has anyone seen it?
I can't believe CORN MEAL but will give it a try I have a packet of polenta in the kitchen cupbord.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2005 at 8:07AM
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I grow mine in raised beds, covered in pine needle mulch and i use the epson Mar, June and sept...morning sun dappled shade after yellow leaves lots of blooms

    Bookmark   December 5, 2005 at 10:29PM
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I live in Charlotte, NC. Used to live in Dallas, TX for the longest time and my gardenias used to grow wonderfully in pots. Since I moved here 2 years ago I have been able to successfully kill 3 healthy plants. All of them seem to be due to not being able to winter. Does gardenia grow well here ? Is there a particular variety that stands cold weather better than others ? I am planning to put one in the ground. One website gives great tips on how to plant gardenias but I am yet to find what variety grows best in this Zone. Any help is greatly appreciated.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2006 at 7:23PM
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Please HELP I have a gardenia tree given to me by a new neighbour when I moved to this townhouse complex. It is a beautiful,healthy tree & has been blooming now for about 2 weeks. Lots of buds yet to unfold. However this am when I looked at it I found tiny webs w/little specks in them which I presume are aphids or some type of insect. I sprayed right away w/pyrethrum but I really need to know asap what else I should do. Has anyone a suggestion for me? thanks Margaret

    Bookmark   April 22, 2006 at 5:49PM
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I've had my Gardenia's for a total of 3 years...Although they have been in the ground for more then 20 years. Some years they get the brown and yellow leaves and then they recover. They have whiteflies bad right now and that is hard to take care of. My mother always said that these are sometimes the best and worst of her plants.....she used to talk to hers all the time......Mine are on the south side of my house in well drained soil and get 6 hours of sun and then get total shade.
Good Luck

    Bookmark   April 23, 2006 at 11:34PM
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txgardengal(Zone 7)

I just planted 5 Everblooming Gardenias in my front flowerbed.....the leaves are a mostly a light green but not yellow and are starting to bloom - my concern is that even though I mixed in a good quality Miracle Gro planting mix my soil is very clay like - the gardenia's will get mostly late day sun - Im in zone 7 (Fort Worth, TX)(even though I think the recommendation is zones 8B-10) do you think they will do ok ? Is there something I should watch for ? Doggiedaddy, I think you know your stuff, what do you think?

    Bookmark   April 24, 2006 at 10:55AM
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shic_2006(4a 5a)


    Bookmark   April 26, 2006 at 6:08PM
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Someone mentioned that their mother had rooted gardenias. How is that done?
Thank you

    Bookmark   April 29, 2006 at 6:54AM
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shic_2006(4a 5a)

I took the first pictures last Monday. Here is how the top one looks like today (5 days later). How lovely!

    Bookmark   April 29, 2006 at 12:46PM
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txgardengal(Zone 7)

How long does it take for a gardenia bloom to open ? I have several buds on my new bushes but they haven't opened up.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2006 at 11:21AM
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rivers1202(Z8a South Carolina)

[QUOTE: txgardengal
How long does it take for a gardenia bloom to open ? I have several buds on my new bushes but they haven't opened up. END QUOTE]

Well, I don't think that question has an "exact" answer. They have to get large enough - the buds, I mean. Mine are just now starting to open, but my Gardenia isn't newly planted, like yours - I've had my Gardenia in the ground for a couple of years. I started noticing buds forming on the shrub more than a month ago, if that gives you any indication. So be patient - if you have buds, you'll eventually have flowers. Last year my shrub was late to bloom, and I began to wonder if it'd bloom at all --- it did, and beautifully, too.


    Bookmark   May 16, 2006 at 4:12AM
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Just bought my first gardenias a couple of months ago. Very small. About 2x3 ft. Has about 30 buds on each. The buds have been there about a month. 2 have bloomed but the blooms were very small. Is this normal for such a small plant? The pictures I've seen have such huge blooms. Also, I've noticed some leaves that look chewed up. The edges are black. Some of my buds are turning brown slowly. I've noticed some spider web looking stuff on some of the leaves. I've been hosing them off with a strong jet but am fearful of upsetting the Gardenia Gods. The day after I hosed them I found 2 buds that had dropped. They were green and very small. Do you think I have the beginning of bud drop or it was just damage caused by the hoseing for the aphids? Also, what could be chewing up those leaves? And what is causing the browning of some of the buds? Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks

    Bookmark   May 17, 2006 at 4:50PM
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catbird(z7 AL)

After reading some of these, I realize I may have stumbled onto the perfect way to grow gardenias. someone gave me one several years ago and it sat in light shade for a couple of years before I got around to planting it. You can guess what had happened by then. The roots had grown through the holes in the bottom of the pot and the thing is flourishing. I'm just planting other things around it to hide the pot and will probably leave it right where it is as long as it's happy. On the other hand, I may also give it some corn meal and epsom salts and iron and . . . .

    Bookmark   May 17, 2006 at 10:19PM
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I was looking for info on yellowing leaves, what a goldmine! Hey, Justdave..I'm in Charlotte, NC too. My gardenia has been in the ground since 1999, every year it has looked just like the photos posted by Shic_2006 (gorgeous!). I am plagued by white fly every year though. Bayer makes a good insecticide that works well. I check it every weekend to make sure it does not need another dose. My sister in law in Atlanta almost lost 6 of her bushes until I showed her the white fly and Bayer, the bushes are back!I must be lucky with location and drainage. Late afternoon filtered sun. I learned quick in this clay to plant more above the ground than to dig deep holes. I've done almost nothing to it except prune it heavily 2 years ago when the branches were long/lanky and hanging over. BUT .. during a recent white fly check, I found one whole stem had yellow leaves, very yellow. A few more scattered around. This happened in the space of a week. I will try the cornmeal thing. Thanks for all the info. Will let y'all know about the cornmeal! Or maybe iron, or epsom salts, there's always coffee grounds ;-)

    Bookmark   May 27, 2006 at 12:15AM
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I decided to try my hand with growing plants. One of which is a gardenia.(The other Sweet Peas) I planted the seeds and guess what....they are growing. Shall I say they are really growing!!! The are getting bigger by the minute. There is about 50 little plants.

Now here is my problem. I was just told that each of these little plants will be a bush. Is that true? I have been checking everywhere online and have found nothing. Do I now have 50 Gardenia plants. I find it hard to believe that this little thing will be a bush all by itself. I was thinking it would take a bunch of them to make a bush.
Someone please tell me what I am in for.

By the way I should mention these things love my mom's secret egg shell water and Mozart. They are thick, green and growing fast.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2006 at 5:40PM
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I have 4 different patches of Gardenia around my yard. One patch of them tends to get more yellow leaves than the others, and it also happens to be the patch that gets the least sun, and the most moisture. The bed underneath this patch gets overgrown with what I call "wandering jew" I guess this bunch of plants is about 5' tall, and they also have the largest leaves of any of my gardenias.

I don't really do much to my gardenias, although I have been messing with them a lot in the past year because a telephone pole with a transformer on it fell on a whole row of them during the hurricane, and a large oak tree smashed another row of them. I had to cut a lot of them almost to the ground (they were all 4 to 8 feet tall before) but only lost three plants.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2006 at 12:07PM
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I just bought a gardenia bush and a gardenia tree on sale for 12.50 a piece. I live in a zone where they arent hardy.
if I bring them in and give them enough light will they be able to make it to the spring? They are blooming now and it is Almost September 1st.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2006 at 12:57PM
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buford(7 NE GA)

THey should be OK. Just remember to water them. Also, don't put them in a very heated room, it dries out house plants.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2006 at 11:08PM
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Forget the cornmeal. If your soil is acidic, you should have success with gardenias. If your soil is alkaline, no amount of Ironite or any other additive will be a long-term solution. Heroic measures such as digging out your beds and filling them with Canadian sphagnum peat moss seem hardly worth the effort and expense. If your soil is alkaline, so will be your water, and eventually you will see them go downhill.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2006 at 2:05AM
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shic_2006(4a 5a)

Using peat moss is kind of expensive there are cheap remedies. For example, you can dig a few holes around your plant and sprinkle sulfurs.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2006 at 3:23PM
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martyg(Zone 7/NC)

Gardenia bushes are happy on the East side of my house and were at my other home. I do nothing but plant them and mulch them and they are happy. To root them I simply break off a stem - with a bloom, and stick it in water. It will take awhile but it will root almost every time. The water will turn dark, just keep adding more water. Don't chage the water in the jar or container. When it has enough roots, pot it. They will winter over in NC and you can set them out in spring - or fall. I have minature ones and large ones. It's September now and they are in bloom again. Been getting sporatic blooms off and on since May.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2006 at 7:23PM
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Just bought 2 Gardenia's 'August Beauty' last month. One is still in the store pot and getting lots of am and pm sun and looking great and healthy. The one I transplanted is getting lots of shade and moister soil and has 75% yellowing leaves. I too will try the cornmeal and Epson salt treatment before moving it. Should I plant the healthy potted one in a sunny location or just bring it in for the winter. It is healthy now and don't want to lose it.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2006 at 1:04AM
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I have two 2 1/2' tall gardenia in pots.. they look more like a small tree style, than a bush. I bought them last year. I have NEVER had luck with gardenias.. but can't seem to stop trying.. I put one (they are both still in 10" pots one year later) in North sun and one in the South sun.. The one that is in the North looks pretty well (green with about 15% yellow leaves) and the one in the South looks worse, about 60% yellow leaves... they BOTH are covered with buds, and the South one has had one already open that was brown on the edges... but I have never even had a flower EVER so I am very excited..

Two questions:
-can I put in the ground now.. with them budding or should I wait until later and if so.. when?
-I have used about 3 T epson salt and about 3 T coffee grounds on both, only -just now.. what other suggestions?

I am SO excited!!!
Thanks in advance,

    Bookmark   May 6, 2007 at 1:28PM
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our gardenia was fully leafed when we got hit by a late frost. there are a few new leaves at the base and on a couple of the branches. should we cull all the dead leaves? how long to wait before prunning it way back? it's been three weeks since the dogwood winter!

    Bookmark   May 23, 2007 at 11:09AM
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I live in Greenville, SC. I have two gardenias and want to plant them in the front of my house. This area will get afternoon and evening sun. I have been reading all of your comments and just want to know how to plant them. Thanks for whatever suggestions you have.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2007 at 11:17AM
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I am in the upstate of SC, too. What kind of Gardenia is it? I have had luck especially with Auguist Beauty. It suffered alot of damage due to a dry freeze in April though.

I lost alot of Frost Proof gardenias in that freeze.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2007 at 7:20PM
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Hi everybody! :)

Hubby and I planted 5 gardenia shrubs when spring first started. Two of them have nice green leaves and are blooming nicely. The other two had a LOT of yellow leaves. One is inbetween.

We're in FL. I noticed that the one with a lot of yellow leaves was the first one in the row. However, the one right next to it is the one that's healthy. How can I have them in the same soil but they're not thriving the same?

We bought some of them from Home Depot and some from WalMart. If I remember correctly, the ones from HD are the ones that are healthy. Anyone else had this issue?

I did put some ironite on them a couple of weeks ago and replanted them so they had better drainage but I didn't notice any change. I decided to just take off the yellow leaves today. We'll see if I can tell a difference.

Also, any updates on the remedies listed above e.g. epsom salt, corn meal etc. How soon did you see results?


    Bookmark   June 8, 2007 at 12:54AM
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My Gardenia suggestion is this...

Immediately after purchasing the plant, take several cuttings. Root these in water. These will grow much better than the shocked plant you just purchased at a store.

Don't ask me why..just try it. It works for me every single time!

    Bookmark   March 31, 2008 at 10:56AM
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Hello everyone.
My gardenia is driving me insane...I have researched for days to find out what I'm doing wrong...and have tried almost everything. I had planted this gardenia in the north side of the house, closer to the front window of my house. About 3 weeks later, lots of yellow leaves. I moved it away from the window (still on the north side) where it gets sun for about 3 hours (morning, early PM). Now, for the past 3-4 weeks I'm going crazy because 80% of the foliage has turned yellow and dropped. It has about 6 flowers and even some blooms to come soon. I think I'm overwatering it. I put cornmeal, epsom salt, iron on foliage, iron with cornmeal around roots, acid fertilizer, coffee grinds, coffee, Superthrive, etc. It only rewards me with more and more..YELLOW LEAVES! I keep gathering them, and in the morning, there are more on the mulch. It smells so wonderful, it is the only thing not thriving. Oh, I have a smaller gardenia (same species...August Beauty) on the south side of the house...for the past 3 days that one is getting yellow leaves as well and it also has blooms/flowers. HELP! This beautiful evergreen is starting to look more like naked sticks in the ground with white flowers on top.
Thank you all !!!

    Bookmark   April 5, 2008 at 11:39PM
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I use Dish soap or TIDE mixed in water to wash my Gardenias. It gets rid of whiteflies and anything else and doesn't hurt the plants. In fact, it conditions the soil. After cleaning them with the soapy water, I rinse the leaves. No more whiteflies for the whole season.

It is too cold here in Oklahoma where I live to grow mine in the ground (I fear), so I grow mine in five-gallon containers or buckets and haul them into my makeshift greenhouse in the late Fall. They are about 4 feet tall. They bloom in May but not profusely. Still I am happy to get the one or two HUGE blooms that last for several weeks and perfume my garden.

I grew them in the ground when I lived in Shreveport. The ones I had there were much smaller, with smaller leaves and flowers, but they were very fragrant. They were planted at the edge of the shade of a large oak tree, so got some sun and some shade. The oaks and pines provided the acid soil they loved.

My soil there was rather on the clay side however, so drainage was a problem. To remedy that I planted the gardenias on mounds just like my azaleas and applied acid soil and then pine straw mulch. They did not like sitting in water. I piled on the pine straw from my trees and used it as mulch everywhere. (I miss my pine straw).

These bigger Gardenias that I have now were dug up in a swamp behind my son's house down in the Houston area. People clean out their gardens and just throw beautiful plants and trimmings back there and these were growing like all get out! So I got two with some of that buff coloured, sandy, loamy soil and brought them back with me wrapped in plastic bags. (I wanted to get that beautiful Palmetto growing back there too but no more room in my car, dang it!). I did have to watch my every step for copperheads and those HUMONGOUS swamp rattlers, yes in deedy! The soil was damp all year round, but not muddy or soggy...more like spongy wet. I think that may be the different in why we are getting conflicting testimonials about gardenias growing in wetter areas than others - it's the soil content that makes the difference!

Mine have yellowing leaves this year for the first time. I have well water and it does have a high alkaline content to it. Never forget that water can quickly change the pH in your soil, making it inhospitable for your plants and quite quickly. Salts, Chlorine, and hard minerals can pollute the soil and so add amendments to condition your soil all through the growing season. For all potted plants, it is good to give them a good flushing once in awhile to flush out the salts that built up in the pot and soil from watering. Run water through them until the water runs out the bottom for several minutes. I do this with all my potted plants every Spring. Then I give them some fresh soil. No need to fertilize them after you give them fresh soil, but you can sprinkle on some time-release type if you like.

I am going to re-pot my gardenias this week before they begin to bud. I will use some fresh, acid-rich potting soil mixed with sandy loam and some oak leaf-mold.

The Soil is the EVERY THING in gardening.
So Amend! Amend! Amend!

~ sweetannie4u

    Bookmark   April 16, 2008 at 12:01PM
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I've got the same problem with my gardenias. Can someone recommend an amount to use for epsom salts and/or cornmeal on a single plant and how to apply it? thanks.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2009 at 4:06PM
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For yellow leaves and not blooming, use afew salts of lemon (citrix acid) with every two of your water. Then they will bloom and there will be no yellow leaves anymore. Of course dont forget to add iron and other elements such as NPK in some of your water.

Take care.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2010 at 12:25AM
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I've been hearing a lot about the cornmeal thing too, as well as to add epsom salts around the base to add magnesium. my plants have this problem it MUST be either the magnesium or the acid. hmmm...

    Bookmark   May 10, 2010 at 3:40PM
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Help. My gardenia in a pot on my pool deck is just not showing any buds and it is April in SW Florida with temps in high 80s and low 90s. Used copper fungicide when I notice some white fungus on a few stalks.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2011 at 9:19PM
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toffee-el(Z8b Sunset Z13 Elev 4650ft)

When will be right time to apply fertilizer for gardenia? Thx.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2012 at 2:36AM
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@tofee-el The best time to fertilize Gardenias is in the spring and fall. My gardenias are outside plants, indoor plants may be a little different. I use something called "Holly-tone" by Espoma

I also did a bit of research on corn meal (as mentioned in several earlier posts (from 6 years ago, no less!) Corn meal is high in iron, thus the seemingly positive effects on iron-depleted plants (source:

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 3:46PM
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After reading this all these comments......and there's no shortage of them here, I agree with Doggie Daddy. I think too many people try to get too analytical in a subject they know little or nothing about!
I have Gardenia shrubs I planted from Walmart, just as good as any nursery stock you get elsewhere.......price isn't a factor here.
Gardenia are like Azaelas which require acidic conditions so I use azaela fertilizer on mine (and more isn't better-follow the instructions). Gardenia doesn't like overhead watering so use soaker hose, that will resolve many fungus/bacteria issues on your leaves. Like any other plant, they will get whaatever bugs are common to your area so I use just a simple store bought concentrate I buy and mix with water, then spray everything in my doesn't kill anything but you can't have bugs on one plant and expect all the rest to be bug free, common sense!
A couple of pointers I learned. As previously stated, no overhead watering. Don't pile mulch right up against the plant, leave 4-6 inches away from the stem. I don't use "pine" anything here in Florida because "pine" is an Eastern Diamondbacks habitat.....and I've seen them dead in the road not far from where we live! It's bad enough I encounter the Orange Ringneck....thank god they are non-venomous, non agressive, and only mature to 12"! However, we have no shortage of venemous snakes here and the occassional aligator that will also find refuge in your landscaping given the right conditions! I also use a 10-10-10 fertilizer on extremely well. I have never heard about the corn meal thing so I'll have to look into that....I suspect it has more to do with feeding earth worms which are a tremendous attribute to any garden.
Whhile I am a retired farmer I am not a professional horiculturalist but I can stand my ground with the best of them from my farming skills. I have rose bushes second to none that all my neighbors always compliment....the secret, people are afraid to cut them back! When I lived in New England, I accidentally ran over one with the mower in late fall while mulching leaves, you wouldn't believe it, but that rose bush not only revived itself, it surpassed all my others! Since then, I cut my roses bushes back significantly in late fall, even here in SW Florida, and my rose bushes are overwhelmed with roses, After they bloom, cut them back to the third leave all season long and they will rebloom in a few weeks time!
If you have questions, just ask the people at your local home center, hardware store, neighbors......who would know best in your area but the people who have lived there?? Joe Smoe in Tinkertown,ND doesn't have a clue what's going on in SW Florida........or vica versa!!! What works there might kill your plant where you are!!

    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 9:00AM
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I live in the Dallas, TX area and we have extremely hot summers. I have tried the Epsom Salt, Iron and lots of other remedies for yellow leaves and no buds on my Gardenias. None of those worked and they cost a lot of money and time. I tried adding plain corn meal (not self-rising) to the soil in late April this year (2 cups for my 5' tall Gardenia) and didn't hold out much hope for this working because nothing else has. Well so far this summer and this is the first week of June, I have clipped about 30 blooms and it is still forming blooms and the leaves are not turning yellow this year. I suggest doing this every 3 months as per the original poster of this. This is the best hint I have ever received for my Gardenias and I will never use anything else. Also, since we have so much heat, I have learned to plant my Gardenias where they are shaded from the hot West sun by a tree to keep them from burning up.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2013 at 1:30PM
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Hello Everybody,

I have a beautiful Gardenia for over 4 years now. Until this Spring I haven't had any problem with it. But in May it started having black small fleas all over the buds and leaves. I sprayed it and they disappeared in about two weeks and after that it blossomed. I thought that my problems with it were over. But now, after the blossom went away, all its small new leaves are turning brown (not yellow) and falling. All of them. I have fertilized it, but its behavior hasn't changed. I have it on my balcony, facing East. Given it's quite hot in Summer here, I have put it in the shade, but it never had a problem with that. I water it daily when the temperatures get to 35 degrees C during the day, more seldom if it's not that hot. During the evenings I also sometimes spray its leaves with water. I don't understand what it's trying to tell me - if it's too much water, not enough water, too warm, not enough sunlight, not enough N, iron, or attention. Please help! Monica and her Gardenia.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2013 at 9:09AM
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I have a small gardenia in a pot that is having trouble. It has had yellowing leaves over the past month and in some spots is showing the white fungus you can see in the attached photo. I do have blooms however that are very close to opening while the newest bloom yellowed at the base and fell off. This is an indoor plant. Please help!

    Bookmark   April 4, 2014 at 12:11PM
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hello i had this Gardenia for over three months now. But for the past two weeks the leaves are turning yellow with black tips, i water every other three days and let come to almost dry because of this problem. can any one give me some advice on what to do or the problem is. P.S

    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 7:32PM
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blazeaglory(10 SZ22/24 OC Ca)

If the Ph is too high, I have used Espoma Soil Acidifier with wonderful results for my Citrus trees. My soil is somewhat Alkaline (over 7) and once or twice a year I add some of the Espoma Soil Acidifier, which is basically sulfur and a few other organic materials, around the base of my trees. So far, the soil lowers a couple points and the trees get green enough to absorb the nutrients. I usually add it in Spring and then if the trees look like theya re not getting nutrients, I add another serving.

I have just now noticed my (neglected) gardenia has the same green veined yellow leave symptoms of my past citrus trees. So I did the Espoma. Ill check back in a month or two to let you know if it helped.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2014 at 1:18PM
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