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Three struggling gardenias need help!

Posted by Ordphien 9 (My Page) on
Tue, Apr 2, 13 at 15:33

Hi! I'm new here but can't wait to explore, and more importantly, can't wait to save my plants!
Here's the skinny... I have three gardenias that are struggling.
I'm not new to gardenias and have 10 other bushes that are doing wonderfully. They are relatively maintenance free landscape bushes in my area...
All three are in acid soil, receiving morning sun and strong dappled light all day. With an hour or two of sun before sunset.
They were on the same watering schedule as the rest of my gardenias and I even tried the skewer method to try and save them.
Two are in pots one is in the ground.
All of them.... all three, all shriveled up and died as though they were never watered. Even though they were.
Two of the gardenias... oh right, I should tell you the variety..
radicans - pot
mystery - ground
golden magic - pot
ok... so the golden magic and mystery dried all of their leaves, and the to halt portion of their stems. Both of them retain half a healthy stem and their very bottom leaves.
The radicans just died...
Initially I thought under watering, so I watered more.
That didn't help so I thought maybe root rot had set in. Nope..
errors were perfectly healthy...

So here's my questions...
The two with remaining leaves have been in that state for months now, stuck in stasis. How do I revive them?

The radicans is gone, but I want more. How do I get this one to live at all?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Three struggling gardenias need help!

Hello Ordphien and Welcome to GW.

First, you need to diagnose the problem, figure out the reason leaves dried.
Did they brown before or during drying?
Were all three Gardenias purchased the same day and nursery?
Is foliage crunchy or soft?

There's many reasons foliage dries out.
Insects and dry air come to mind.
I see you're in FL, 'lucky, :)' but has winter been dry? Were potted 'denias kept in or outdoors?
Have you inspected for insects?

Sorry I've asked so many questions, but answers help narrow down a problem.

If they were my Gardenias, I'd shake trees to loosen and detach dead leaves, remove remaining discolored/brown foliage by pinching or cutting w/scissors.

Second. I'd check for pests..Webs, brown lumps or white patches.

BTW, were your Gardenias fertilized before leaves dried?

You said you watered 'denia hedges the same time you watered potted trees.
Before watering potted trees, did you test soil?
Soil in pots dry faster than those in-ground. Especially when roots are pot-bound.

Watering may or may not be the problem.

When you have time, please answer questions. Toni


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RE: Three struggling gardenias need help!

Thank you! They browned as they dried, with exception of the radicans which has stayed green through the whole drying process.
The gardenias were purchased from different nurseries at different times.
The foliage is a combo of crunchy and leathery.

It says I live in Florida?
lol... I live in southern California.... where do I change that?
No pests have got these plants whatsoever. And relative humidity fell between 50 - 70% this winter.
And all gardenias always stay out for winter.

And no fertilization. I don't fertilize my gardenias their first year in the ground as I've noticed I'll lose them that way.

The potted ones were watered on the same schedule as my other ( thriving) potted gardenias, and the one on the ground was watered along with my ones in the ground.
I did text the soil with my hand at first since that's normally all that's needed, after that a skewer and moisture meter were used.


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RE: Three struggling gardenias need help!

Ord,
You are overwatering them.
Let them dry out and stop fussing over them.
Put them in the ground as soon as possible.
You could build a raised bed if you have the room.
You know gardenias don't like pots, especially radicans, they hate pots.


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RE: Three struggling gardenias need help!

Morning,

Ordphien, there goes my theory. lol
Assuming, something was going on at the nursery.

You said, 'in your first post,' your Gardenias were in strong, dappled sun all day.
What type of light were they getting at the nurseries?
If they were in low/er light, were they acclimated before being placed in high light or full sun?

The reason I asked about pests... many insects are leaf/sap suckers. Often, after insect attack, leaves brown.

Sorry, I don't know anything about 'denias in-ground. I'm in IL, z5...I wish Gardenias would thrive outdoors year round. :)

I doubt you're over-watering. Leave yellow when plants are over-watered.
Between both options, you 'might' be under-watering. However, since you test soil, neither should be the cause for brown, crispy foliage.

Hmm, this is an enigma. lol.

Is bark green or brown? Flexible? In other words, if you cut the tip or center stem, does it break easily or bend?
Is inside, under bark, green?

Wish I had a definate answer. Sorry.

Don't know why I thought you were in FL. lol. Or did you change profile?

Hi Butterfly..Why do you think Ord is over-watering?


BTW, did you repot/change soil after purchase?


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RE: Three struggling gardenias need help!

I don't think they were over watered...
well actually maybe I did for a few waterings...
my instant panic response lol...

I'm confused as to why you say they don't like pots...
I have several decades old gardenias in pots that they've for me.

I will try the radicans in ground though.
it's proved itself finicky and that sounds like sound advice.


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RE: Three struggling gardenias need help!

The nurseries do get their plants from a lot of the same suppliers. so maybe your theory isn't out the window yet.
The nurseries keep their gardenias in full sun.
Which boggles me really since they despise full sun in my area.
I did get mealy bugs on some of my gardenias this year but I caught it early and it never spread to the plants in question...

Lol... it's ok. I realise these guys are not suitable in ground most areas.
which really is a shame.
The sirens are still green and flexible.. and the plant is very much alive. just without leaves now...
I cut into a stem to check and its still vibrant and healthy in there.

an enigma indeed...
and yes. They were re potted and put into fresh soil.


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RE: Three struggling gardenias need help!

Ord...Yep, it's sad all plants aren't hardy everywhere, but we do what we can, right?

I agree, plants do best in-ground, but w/proper care, 'lots of it,' Gardenias, like other plants will thrive..Bloom, too.

My oldest Gardenia was purchased 1994/5. It's potted in a 12" container, and flowers in summer.
Winter indoors is a stressful time.

Summering outdoors helps. My Gardenia is outside, but temps are supposed to drop which means it will have to come back in.

Is the soil acidic? When you fertilize, do you use acidic-type fertilizer?

As long as stems are green, your 'denias are alive. You'll soon see baby leaves.

Good luck, Toni


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RE: Three struggling gardenias need help!

Nurseries in Southern CA do not grow gardenias in full sun but under shade cloth. They are not full sun hardy in So CA nor in AZ where I grew up and grew them outdoors full time including radicans.

I recently killed radicans in my greenhouse because I used Miracle Gro potting soil. Rotted out almost every plant I had over winter. That stuff is awful. Does not drain.

If kept in pots it needs to be good potting soil not garden dirt and must drain well. I use Black Gold here in Oregon but don't know if it is available in other states. Just don't use Miracle Gro.

Gardenias do wilt and die when over watered. The first symptoms do look like underwatering.


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RE: Three struggling gardenias need help!

Toni,
Gardenias are like Rhododendrums in pots.
Can you imagine trying to grow a Rhodo in a pot for a long period of time?
Sure, you ocan keep it alive and well, keep it up with a lot of work, root pruning, ect.
But if you live in a zone where you can plant it outside in the soil, gardenias thrive.
Sorry for the spelling.
Ord stated she waters them on the same schedule as gardenias in the ground are watered.
You don't water potted plants on the same schedule as a plant that is established in the ground.
To OP, I dont' know if your plants are dead or not, you keep stating that they are dead, but I hope what ever gardenia you do get in the future, try keeping it in the ground, or a raised bed for good drainage.
I hope this spring you are pleased and they come back.
Gardenias are very hardy bushes.


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RE: Three struggling gardenias need help!

Morning,

Buyorsell...Why did your plants die when potted in MG???

BlackGold isn't sold here, but I've seen it on Amazon. I almost bought it, but the seller didn't list ingredients. What does it consist of?

Hi Butterfly,
Actually, Gardenias grow like weeds compared to Rhodos.
I can't keep Rhodo's alive for the life of me. In the ground! :)
Never tried Rhodo's in a container, but I had a potted Azalia over 10 years.
Never root trimmed...The only thing I did was water, fertilize, and trim off dead flower buds, 'after they faded.'
Oh, I also added iron twice a year.
But that's another story.

I agree, pot watering differs from in-ground watering.
But, didn't Ord say she used a skewere to check soil before watering?

Ordphien. Do you have photos? Toni


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RE: Three struggling gardenias need help!

Buyorsell888 - The gardenias are in fact in full sun in all the nurseries in my area. For reasons that continue to elude me. If I tried planting in full sun they would just die on me.
Well one nursery does keep them under shade cloth.

Miracle Gro soil isn't really used in my garden. And definitely not with my gardenias.

Butterfly4u - I meant I watered the ones in the pots on the same schedule as my other potted gardenias. And my ones in the ground on the same schedule as the others in the ground.
I have dozens of thriving gardenias around my yard. Both in pots and in the ground. Some are reaching the 15 year mark and a few others are on their second year.
I'm a he. Lol...
They are very hardy bushes so I'm really puzzled about the decline.
The radicans is dead, I'm fairly certain the mystery of as well.
The golden magic has green stems and that's about it.

Hopefulauthor - They are in acid soil and fed acid fertiliser.
I don't have any photos but I'll get some... not tomorrow as I'll be at seaworld. The day after.
I have two more that are on the decline and would like to save them as well.
It seems that none of my gardenias that I planted this year are surviving.

Oh wait.... I planted another golden magic in my back planter and its doing just fine..


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RE: Three struggling gardenias need help!

Buyorsell888 - The gardenias are in fact in full sun in all the nurseries in my area. For reasons that continue to elude me. If I tried planting in full sun they would just die on me.
Well one nursery does keep them under shade cloth.

Miracle Gro soil isn't really used in my garden. And definitely not with my gardenias.

Butterfly4u - I meant I watered the ones in the pots on the same schedule as my other potted gardenias. And my ones in the ground on the same schedule as the others in the ground.
I have dozens of thriving gardenias around my yard. Both in pots and in the ground. Some are reaching the 15 year mark and a few others are on their second year.
I'm a he. Lol...
They are very hardy bushes so I'm really puzzled about the decline.
The radicans is dead, I'm fairly certain the mystery of as well.
The golden magic has green stems and that's about it.

Hopefulauthor - They are in acid soil and fed acid fertiliser.
I don't have any photos but I'll get some... not tomorrow as I'll be at seaworld. The day after.
I have two more that are on the decline and would like to save them as well.
It seems that none of my gardenias that I planted this year are surviving.

Oh wait.... I planted another golden magic in my back planter and its doing just fine..


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