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sticky gardenia problem

Gardening Reference » Gardening in 2005
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by jackson on April 05, 2005 10:26 PM
i have a four foot tall gardenia that has developed very sticky leaves, like pancake syrup, and has, though still green, drooped somewhat. some leaves have turned yellow, not many, some have fallen.
it is in a southwest window in the winter and outside in the summer and has done well for 2 years.
recently, 2 months, however- see above.

i am clueless-
by SN on April 06, 2005 02:35 AM
Are there any insects that you can see?

Also, it is normal for some leaves turn turn yellow and fall off.

But if it is whiteflies (or sometimes even aphids), they can cause this problem too, the yellowing leaves and sticky stuff.

I believe you can use different soap-based products on the leaves.


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by papito on April 06, 2005 07:47 PM
The sticky stuff is probably caused by "sooty mold".

See info on Common Problems of Gardenia

from the same article:

Sooty mold. The leaves are covered with a blackish, sticky stuff that can be wiped off. Sooty mold is a fungus that grows on the exudate of sap-sucking insects such as aphids, whiteflies, scale insects and mealybugs. The mold can inhibit the food-production in the leaves. It usually will wash off in the winter rains. Prevent sooty mold by controlling the insects causing the problem. These insects may be on the gardenia or on plants growing above them.

-- Insects attacking gardenias. Commonly found are aphids, scales, whiteflies, spider mites and mealybugs. Control them with Orthenex or malathion. Organic gardeners use insecticidal soaps, horticultural oil, pyrethrins, ryania, or sabadilla.
Yellow, brown or falling leaves may be the result of too little water or the soil being too alkaline [gardenia prefers acidic soil]. It could also be chlorosis [see explanation below].

also from the same article:

Iron deficiencies. The leaves are pale in color with the veins still green. This is a symptom of iron, magnesium or zinc deficiencies in the soil. This condition is also known as chlorosis or iron chlorosis. Treat the soil to lower pH with aluminum sulfate. Use 1/4 to 1/2 cup of aluminum sulfate spread around under the gardenia and water it in. Spraying the leaves with Miracle-Gro or Miracid, in addition to acidifying the soil with aluminum sulfate, will give a quick, but temporary, fix for iron chlorosis

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