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Gardenia question (growing Gardenia in the Desert)

Posted by vilett Z12 Tucson (My Page) on
Tue, Sep 22, 09 at 14:46

Well, my potted Gardenia Veitchii survived summer heat. I got it last spring with flower buds. It was blooming through the spring and even gave me a couple flowers in July. I watered it like crazy sometimes 2 times a day plus peat moss and epsom salt every 3 weeks or so... I do not know what I should do at this point. It got sick a week ago when I missed watering for 2 days. Dropped a lot of old leaves and some new grows got dry spots... I hope it will get better. Should I start fertilize? Iron, acid loving food, bone meal,blood meal, cottonseed meal??? When it suppose to start setting buds? Fall or spring???
Gardenia Veitchii is everblooming, may be it supposed to set buds twice a year?
(Fall & Spring?) I do not understand Gardenia's cycle in the desert. And when I should repot it to a larger pot? Now or in the spring? Thanks.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Gardenia question (growing Gardenia in the Desert)

I would recomend that you just get back to your regular watering routine and not use any fertilizer for a while. You have been giving it a lot and there should be plenty in the soil and you don't want to burn the new growth that is going to start up soon.
Also, I don't like blood meal or bone meal ever. I think they are a health hazard.
Repotting should not be done right after a stress like they just had. Wait at least until the new growth has matured.
Arthur the date palm guy

RE: Gardenia question (growing Gardenia in the Desert)

I do love gardenia flowers--that scent is just intoxicating, isn't it? I agree with Arthur that your best bet is to resume your usual watering routine and to not repot or fertilize any time soon. After a trauma, most plants need to just get back to their regular routine before any other changes.

One of my neighbors has a decent potted gardenia and she constantly underwatered it until she hooked it up to her automatic irrigation (which waters frequently). That might be an option for you if yours is set to water frequently? She still needs to acidify and do all of those other special things for it, but it does bloom well for her spring and autumn and she can leave town and not worry about it too much.

In any case, good luck with your plant. Keep us posted!
Take care,

RE: Gardenia question (growing Gardenia in the Desert)

Hi there ! This spring I purchased a beautiful gardenia plant on a whim ! For someone like me, who can kill bougies, lantanas and bottlebrush, it was a "wild and crazy" thing to do !

However, Gracie (as I named her) has survived quite well...she lives in a large pot on my south facing covered deck, where she gets no direct sun, but plenty of bright light. The pot rests on a bed of small rocks in a plastic 2-3 inch high tray...In addition to keeping the tray filled with water, Gracie gets a sponge bath (spray) at least once a day...the tray is filled as needed, never allowed to go dry ! She stopped blooming when the temps hit 110 this summer, but is valiantly keeping her deep green leaves !

It's still rather warm here, with deck temps reaching around 110, no buds yet...but it is cooling down overnight into the low 80's, so fall is just around the corner !

I believe the humidity created from the rocky water tray, along with the daily spray (sometimes 3-4 times a day when temps go over 115, which is typical for Bullhead City)...and good ole epsom salts have kept Gracie's spirits up !

This is my first experience growing a gardenia plant, let alone growing one in the low desert ! But so far, knock on wood, Gracie's doing fine !

My next concern for her is "will she survive the overnight winter lows that we get, that have been known to drop below freezing ! Maybe I should start crocheting her a blanky !

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