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Gardenia Help

Gardening Reference » Gardening in 2006
by michelevett on June 18, 2006 06:17 AM
My very large, very beautiful, wonderful smelling Gardenia plant produces many beautiful flowers each year. This year, a few days after the flowers bloom, they immediately turn brown and die. Any suggestions on how to prevent this, what to do, when to do it? Any information will help!

Thank you
by TulsaRose on June 18, 2006 09:47 AM
First, welcome to the forum, michelevett! You'll love it here..this is the best gardening forum I've ever belonged to, bar none! The members are very friendly, helpful and lots of fun.

Then you can take a look at the information at this link...
http://www.thegardenhelper.com/gardenia.htm

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Rosie z7a
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by michelevett on June 18, 2006 01:22 PM
Thank for your response. I did check out the link that you referred me to, but that does not explain why my blossoms are turning brown and dying a few days after blooming. I will use the information on that link to help my plant. Any other ideas why my blossoms are turning brown so fast?
by luis_pr on June 20, 2006 10:49 PM
A 'few' days falls in the normal range for these temperamental plants. Gardenia blossoms bruise and turn brown easily when touched (or when it is very windy). My research indicates that most flowers will last 3 to 8 days max but I have found nothing that suggests how to keep blooms open closer to the 8 days. Here in Texas, 2-3 days is the norm. They should open white and then mature to creamy yellow. When the flowers start to brown, they should be removed to make room for new buds and flowers.

If there is a problem with the plant, the symptoms are not indicating what it could be yet. So, keep an eye open for these common issues: soil moisture problems, weather problems (wild temperature swings), nematodes (in sandy soils by the coast), whiteflies, aphids and root rot caused by fungal infections. If more symptoms develop, consider contacting your NC Cooperative Extension Service of NC State University (http://ipm.ncsu.edu/index.cfm). Luis
by Deborah L. on June 21, 2006 04:27 PM
That's about how long gardenia flowers last.
Sounds like you have a great plant.

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by DAISYSMURF on June 22, 2006 09:31 AM
My gardenia hasn't even offered to bloom yet this year. The leaves are yellowish so I have added epsom salt,which helped last year, along with the usual fertilizer. I'm stumped. I did leave it planted through the winter months when we had a couple of ice storm but covered it with burlap before the storms hit. I believe it is an "August Beauty" but last year it bloomed in June once and hasn't bloomed since. Any suggestions on what I can do to help it?

Thanks
by luis_pr on June 23, 2006 02:53 AM
Sorry to hear that Daisysmurf. I too got a cold spell last winter. It killed all growth above ground on my three August Beauties. They are now rebounding but, we are talking about 3-6" tall bushes only.

In your case, if it got cold enough, the cold temperatures may have killed the flower buds. Another possibility is that the buds survived the ice storm but wild swings in the temperatures later in the Spring caused something called gardenia bud drop. Nothing we can do about those weather related problems, just hope the temps in the Fall allow you to have another set of blooms. It happens here in Texas sporadically.

About the yellow leaves, are the leaves all yellow or do the veins stay green and the rest is yellow?

When the veins stay green but the rest yellows out, you have a mineral deficiency called iron chlorosis. Lowering the Ph of the soil and/or adding chelated products containing iron (available in most 'real' nurseries) takes care of this in a few weeks. Epsom Salts should not be used to address this type of mineral deficiency.

Completely yellow leaves can be some other form of stress or the plant just getting rid of old leaves.

For example, start by monitoring soil humidity by sticking a finger in the soil or using one of those moisture meters sold at Lowe's and HD. Monitor your soil Ph using and look for any new symptoms. Avoid watering or misting the leaves. Monitor how much sun they are getting; should be morning sun or dappled sun for less than 4-5 hours. Check for insects on both sides of the leaves. Some of these like to cause problems: aphids, spider mites, thrip, scale and mealybugs. While looking for insects, make sure that the main trunk looks fine and has no swollen areas.

I fertilize using a slow-release organic fertilizer called cottonseed meal. I spread 1/2 or 2/3 cup of cottonseed meal to a 2' high plant around the drip line in March/April and in early/mid summer. As always, water, fertilize and water again.

Good luck, Luis

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