Grady Williams - LAApril 17, 1999

My gardenias suddenly have lots of leaves turning yellow. What's going on?

Thanks in advance for your comments.


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damian from QDPI - qld

Hello my name is damian i hope i can assit Q1 are the yellow leaves in the middle of the plant if so it is natural nothing to worry about Q2 Are the yellow leaves on the top or outsides of the plant if so it may need fertilising Q3 Are the yellow leaves dotted with brown spots if so a Bacterial fungus is present and you need to spray with Copper or mancozeb.

    Bookmark   April 17, 1999 at 12:41PM
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phil k

Gardenias are wellknown yellow turners.General fertilizers do help but 6 monthly applications of Sulphate of Iron eliminates the yellowing most people suffer.

    Bookmark   April 24, 1999 at 9:27PM
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chuck - missouri

My gardenia leaves are turning black at the tip then falling off. The plant is inside east patio door.

    Bookmark   August 18, 1999 at 5:25PM
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Rosie C - NSW

Gardenias often have leaves that yellow and drop off. It's just old age (senescence is the correct term). The leaf has reached its use by date. If there are odd ones and it's not a general yellowing of the shrub, then it's certainly this. Overall yellowing is nutrition deficiency and can be fixed with a good dose of dolomite.

    Bookmark   August 22, 1999 at 8:49PM
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Darren Brett - NSW

My Gardenia's leaves are getting brown spots, then going yellow and falling off. This is affecting half the plant!! Is there any hope of survival? Are there any natural remedies ??

    Bookmark   September 13, 1999 at 1:35PM
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Missy - NC

I purchased a home 1 1/2 years ago. It came with a medium sized Gardenia all ready planted in a partly shaded area.This shrub has yet to bloom. Do you have any suggestions?

    Bookmark   February 19, 2000 at 4:40AM
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Ellinor Robertson

give your gardenia plenty of fertiliser, both organic (i.e. seaweed solution, cow manure, compost) and inorganic (any complete feritliser) about 2 times a year, mulch it well and water deeply once a week.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2000 at 8:11AM
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Our Gardenia is suddenly having flying insects around it. Any advice?

    Bookmark   March 27, 2000 at 8:26AM
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Sandy - Tx

I have read several questions about gardenias turning yellow and about flying insects. I have both problems and some extra ones. Three years ago, I planted gardenias in front of my newly built house. 3 lived and blossemed beyond expectation. The rest died due to yellowing and drought. I have replanted twice since then, each spring, and have not had any luck. This spring I took out all the soil in my beds ( except for exsisting wonderful growing gardenias) and put in good, quality soil. Replanted gardenias (from reliable nursery) and 5 weeks later, still having problems with yellowing and in general, unhealthy looking plants. Also, having problems with tiny, tiny, white flying insects. Never had problems with insects before. Any help keeping my gardenias alive and well would be appreciated beyond measure. Thank you!! P.s. What is dolomite?

    Bookmark   June 27, 2000 at 2:29PM
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Hope I can help, don't give up on gardenia's fellow enthusiast's, often in winter the soil is to cool for magnesium to be taken in by gardenia's , alot are just old leaves, however I use a tonic of 1 spoon soluable fert, emulsion or "Thrive" 1 spoon epsom salts[magnesium sulphate] & 1 spoon iron chelate in a average 9/10 ltr water can. This is good around August/Sept. Remember to prune late summer so the growth isn't spindly. Then feed with maure etc for Autumn. I also find they are prone to stress as pot plants, I've had my success in the garden. Enjoy!

    Bookmark   July 14, 2000 at 2:05PM
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Bill Hutto - Mississippi

Our gardenia plants have done real well until now.
They are planted in several places in the yard.
They are in the ground and not in pots.A lot of the leaves are turning brown like dead leaves. We have never had this happen until now. Please Advise.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2001 at 10:00PM
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Aundra Penn - Florida

The leaves on one of my gardenias is covered with a black film that looks like dirt or dust. Can you tell me what to use to clear this up?

    Bookmark   February 13, 2001 at 10:24PM
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Bev Qld

I thought gardenias were acid-loving plants? Wouldn't adding dolomite to the soil make the soil more alkaline, and therefore unsuitable?

    Bookmark   March 21, 2001 at 7:21AM
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Gesine(z9 N CA)

I am having mega problems with my gardenia tree. It's in a very large pot, 26 years old and, I have been battling scale for the last 3 years. I severely cut it back in the winter so I could control the scale with insecticidal soap, which didn't help. I finally gave it a soil drench with Cygon 2E about 1-1/2 month ago. The scale seems to be under control for the first time in years. Even the branches are clearing off scale. (I tried alcohol and sun oil application as well for years/didn't work). Now the leaves are pale yellow, tips brown and they curl and fall off. Some seem to have holes in them. I fertilize with 20-20-20. I have it outside again for the summer. We live in North Country so it comes inside for the winter. It looks absolutely pathetic. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2001 at 10:23AM
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Sweeney Bris-Bayside

Don't put dolomite on Gardenias. Dolomite rock is named after the offshoot of the Alps NE of Venice and when this Calcium Carbonate and Magnesium Carbonate rock is crushed it is approximately 22% Calcium and 15% Magnesium. It is excellent for lifting the acidity (pH from say 4.5 to 6.5) because the Magnesium Carbonate part is slightly better 1.1 times the neutralising effect of limestone = Calcium Carbonate. Both are relatively insoluble at .01 grams per 1 litre of water i.e.1: 100,000.

Gardenias have a higher Magnesium requirement than most plants in the subtropics so follow Cass's advice above and use Epsom salts = Magnesium sulphate, it is very soluble @ approx 710g:1000g (1L) water. Roses benefit from magnesium (a major plant nutrient) inputs too in our acid soil ecologies in SE Queensland, generally as dolomite to get the soil pH up to 6, then use Epsom salts yearly.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2001 at 12:54AM
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Bob O'Donnell Oregon

I have posted a note regarding a mold or fungus on my soil. Also, I have plenty of buds and new growth but no flowers???? We are at 4,000' elevation so the plant is indoors most of the time with about 40%sunlight.
Can you help?

    Bookmark   June 14, 2001 at 8:20PM
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Emily VIC

A black film over the surface of gardenia leaves sounds a lot like sooty mould. However this is not the real problem - sooty mould is a secondary infection, resulting from the presence of sap sucking insects. Inspect your plant for whitefly, aphids or scale. They will need to be treated or the sooty mould will persist. Once the insects have been treated, simply wipe the existing sooty mould off the leaves with a damp cloth.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2001 at 8:57PM
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Pete WA

I've had all these problems in Perth coastal area where high soil PH affects gardenias. I have found iron chelate and epsom salts stops most yellowing (chlorosis), but it is a constant requirements in alkaline soils. I found the University of Florida site very helpful for gardenia cultivation, including dealing with yellowing and sooty mould. 1st step though is a PH test, to ensure ph 6 or below.

Here is a link that might be useful: University of Florida Gardenia Cultivation

    Bookmark   July 5, 2001 at 2:24AM
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wenb1955(NSW Aust)

can anyone help me. We have several Gardenias that have unopened buds turning black. Also there are black spots on the leaves and flowers.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2001 at 5:27AM
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rebeljane(Qld Aust)

I had a Gardenia that had black soot all over the leaves and stems. I sprayed it heavily with white oil and left it for 3 days (to let it soak into the sooty mould) and then sprayed it with water hose on jet spray, the sooty mould came off very easy.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2003 at 12:16PM
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Katherines_plant(NSW Aust)

Hi I have planted 2 standard gardenias (Professor Pucci is the type) at the front of my new house which receives full sun. The gardenias have yellowing leaves, and one looks a little limp, they did have some little black insects on their leaves at one stage. The soil is garden soil, but there is some clay deep down. Do you think they can become better? or should I move them to a shadier spot?

    Bookmark   May 30, 2005 at 12:16AM
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rosesforme(VIC Aust)

Hi very interesting thread.I have a seemingly very healthy Gardenia bush but NO flowers!!
I havent had it long and onld about 2 fdlowers.
I moved to a cooler spot added magnesium and fertilized with fish (Seasol) and Miracle Gro. Now it is forming lots of foliage but where are the flowers???
Here is a picture:

Thanks in advance

    Bookmark   May 30, 2005 at 7:09PM
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rosesforme(VIC Aust)

Hi everyone
Back again!
The gardenia in the pic above is going strong but still no flowers--seems to be plenty of buds but nothing comes of them.The bush has thickened up and grown well.
Any ideas?

    Bookmark   September 5, 2005 at 11:06AM
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HI Michelle Gardenia plants like it warm growing in Acid soil that is Nitrogen rich.
I had one near my pool in Townsvile growing in the white quartz it got morning sun
And in the afternoon is was underneath the Shade Sail it flowered like crazy.
So much so that I had to dig it out I cannot handle strong perfumes.
Do read the link below it may give you some other help.
And it flowered late in the year, so it may be too early even for those buds.

Here is a link that might be useful: Gardenia.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2005 at 5:21PM
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rosesforme(VIC Aust)

Thanks MM

I will have a look at the link and perhaps give it a bit of nitrogen.
Ive got mine positioned for the early morning sun and shade for afternoon-got that part right!


    Bookmark   September 5, 2005 at 7:15PM
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femmeradsy(Newcastle, NSW)

I got some good advice from my friendly local nursery recently: A good way to predict whether you need iron chelates or not for yellowing leaves is to look closely at the veins of the yellow leaf. If the vein is still green, but the rest of the leaf is yellow, it probably wants iron chelates (but also keep an eye on the PH as this might be affected). If the whole leaf is pale yellow, including the vein, it's more likely that it is simply hungry: give it some all round fertilizer and it should green up.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2005 at 12:15AM
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Sue Victoria

I have 6 standard gardenias in 8" pots. I bought them 4 months ago as small healthy plants and the leaves have just started going yellow, with a few aphids appearing just now. Is it worth persisting with pots as I was going to buy larger ones and replant with epsom salts and fish emulsion fertiliser??

    Bookmark   April 9, 2011 at 6:23PM
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Johnny FL

I transplanted a gardenia tree (16 feet tall) two years ago against the recommendation of my gardener. We have used left over coffee grounds to enhance the soil and I now have a tree full of blooms. Good results!
But now I have that black dust/mud on the leaves that looks like wet mold. Help please.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2011 at 9:37AM
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termanex told me i have a white footed ant infestation the hydro ponics people told me the brown blisters under the leaves on my gardinias were scale and the ants were not takeing care of my plants they were bringing the scale to eat the sugars they make they sold me neem oil and a plant soap to treet it as i did in the last week 70 persent of the leaves turned yellow and fell off i also fertilized the plant with acid fertil;izer is there any thing else i can do to help it come back last year it almost died and the hydro people sold me some root virous witch made it vary healthy this summer the ants were there when it flowered with out much problem so i left them alone till a week ago when it looks like its dieing again any help would be much apperciated john

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 3:53PM
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