So you want to grow a gardenia, huh?
Every once in a while a thread takes a life of it's own and becomes infamous. This is one of them, preserved for posterity.
Posted by Joan - CA-10 ) on Tue, Jul 6, 99 at 1:33
Okay, second time here for this vetchii. Got it 1 1/2 years ago, in 1 gal. pot. It was around 1 1/2-2' tall. Not too long after I got it, transplanted to a 10" (or maybe 12) terra cotta pot. Last year it bloomed--however reluctantly. I had it in shade with very late afternoon sun.
This spring it looked awful, and has continued to go downhill: yellow leaves (soil damp, so watered less), yellow leaves with green veins (so used Ironite, a few weeks later sprayed foliage with liquid chealated iron), leaves crispy brown on edges (so drenched to get rid of accumulated salts). The buds are one by one getting crispy on the edges, *just* as they looked like they were thinking about opening. (I've only got one bud left!) New growth looks pale and frail, so put in more sun. Over the past several months I've mulched, given it Miracid, given it Epson salts, watered it with bottled water only, misted it once a day (actually I'm on the coast, so air should have enough moisture). Also tried pruning it a little. Now I've moved it back to where it gets only some morning sun. Still, it sulks and continues to decline. There aren't a lot of leaves yet, and just that one unburned bud.
I've tried everything I can think of, including begging on bended knee, scowling at it, doing a voo-doo dance and shaking a chicken over it. Can anyone think anything else I can do? Has anyone else had this crisping of the buds and leaves?
Posted by: emily moorefield - 6 ) on Tue, Jul 6, 99 at 17:02
Joan -- I highly recommend the chicken-shaking thing. It works for me every time, even with copy machines.
Seriously, I guess in your situation what I would do is remove every dead or damaged leaf and get it out of the full sun (unless your summer has been mostly rainy). What they seem to like is diffuse light, high humidity, and heat. In fact, I guess what I would _really_ do is send the gardenia to New York City! There's plenty of heat and humidity and hazy sun here to make a zillion gardenias happy.
I'm not sure what "food' they like, but you might try Peters 20-20-20. All the watering could have washed out the nutrients in your potting soil. I also find that giving them very diluted coffee about once every 2 weeks seems to help.
The new foliage _is_ pale and fragile looking, so that may not be a problem. You could also try bringing it indoors, if you have a place with diffuse light that can be kept warm and humid enough. Try to replicate the conditions of Home Depot,where they seem to grow like fiends. Also, if you're not misting the leaves, do that twice a day -- they like that better than frequent waterings. Good luck.
· Posted by: Joan - CA-10 ) on Sat, Jul 10, 99 at 18:31
Hmph. Now why does chicken-shaking work for you and not for me? It's possible the motion I used was more waving than shaking, but still ...
It is out of the full sun now, only getting morning sun and diffuse light the rest of the day. Trying to mist twice a day, per your suggestion. Called several airlines re: CA -> NY gardenia rates, but they hung up on me.
I believe the Miracid should do for food. Have tried coffee grounds, but not coffee. May as well give that a try, too.
Can't pick off all the damaged leaves, else it wouldn't have any. Probably only has around 20 left as it is. :-(
No, this isn't your normal frail and pale new growth, this is definitely sickly and stunted frail and pale new growth. It hasn't bitten the dust yet, pretty much status quo. O cursed, o stubborn veitchii!
The good news is, I've had two blooms on my Mystery, and several more promising-looking buds!
Joan · Posted by: emily moorefield - 6 ) on Sat, Jul 10, 99 at 22:00
I guess my other suggestion would be to fill in the downtime with growing some oriental lilies -- their fragrance will knock your sox off, and they're a heck of a lot easier than gardenias.
· Posted by: Joan - CA-10/Sunset 24 ) on Sun, Jul 11, 99 at 2:38
Say what? Scent will knock my sox off? This sounds promising. I've never tried lilies. Have bought two kinds, cut--Stargazers and Montana. Don't like their scent (too ... um, how to explain, maybe not sweet enough, or too musky, or something like that), but they are gorgeous. Given that I'm absolutely wild about the scent of gardenias, which would you suggest I try? And thanks for the suggestion.
Joan · Posted by: Marco (firstname.lastname@example.org) on Mon, Jul 12, 99 at 17:07
I know how striking the scent of a freshly opened gardenia is: sort of like a coconut/vanilla/suntan lotion mix.
I can't give you any advice on how to coax it into blooming, but I can suggest some other killer smells:
Night blooming jessamine (not jasmine) has tiny, almost invisible flowers whose scent is delicious
Acidanthera: a fall blooming white bulb with the best smell in the universe
Spanish broom (Spartium Junctium) is a tall shrub that I've seen in France/Spain that has honey-scented yellow pea flowers. (stunning in bloom as in smell, tolerates abuse galore)
Common jasmine (the reputation is well-earned)
Evening Scented Stocks: a small annual that looks like a pile of dead twigs in the day but once the sun goes down, opens to reveal countless pink and white flowers that, if the door is open, perfume the entire house
Anyways, have fun and bonne chance.
· Posted by: Penelope - 6,Ontario, Canada (email@example.com) on Sun, Jul 18, 99 at 1:51
joan - you made my day!! i nearly peed myself laughing at the chicken bit. anyway, its got nothing to do with poultry doncha know?? - you gotta hold your mouth right!!
actually, i cannot tell you the number of gardenias i have coddled and cossetted and pampered and prayed over. every year i tell myself that i will NOT buy another gardenia - but every year i walk into White Rose and there they are - heavily budded, the odd bloom wafting a fragrance sent from heaven. and, of course, i am seduced once again.
one year i succeeded in getting a gardenia to produce about a dozen blooms - the ladies of the horticultural club who were touring my garden were simply ga ga over it. it was the centre of attention and i was unabashedly proud. i thought i had discovered all the tricks and techniques. ha! t'was a fluke. the plant kakked within weeks.
i did it again this year - bought another gardenia - misted and threw acid at it - even coffee grains. the fourteen beautiful buds that came with it never did open and every morning it looked a little less perky, a little more yellow. finally, yesterday, i had a talk with myself. "self", said i, "you have enough trouble with the husband and kid and mutt without taking all this grief from a plant" i tossed it on the compost heap.
the gardenia has a fragrance that no perfumer has ever been able to duplicate - which, i suppose, is what MAKES us do handstands for it. but i give up
i shall have to content myself with the gardenia my husband sometimes sends me on a special occasion. i take it out of the box, pop it in brandy snifter and put it in the fridge. every time i open the fridge (which is a lot more than i should!!), i inhale the scent of the gardenia. it lasts about a month. and i am one happy woman.
but i do wish you luck. listen, have you thought of building a greenhouse on the side of your house and..............
· Posted by: CJ Maciejeski - Houston, TX ) on Fri, Jul 23, 99 at 14:10
I'm fifteen, and my great grandmother who lived next to us for years grew a gardenia. She never did any thing for it and it bloomed every year like crazy. Even after she moved out and it doesn't even get watered anymore, it still blooms. I don't know, maybe Houston is a gardenia's paradise. CJM:)
· Posted by: ROBERT HUGGINS - 10 ) on Thu, Aug 12, 99 at 14:51
ONLY AN IDIOT WOULD SPEND THAT MUCH TIME AND EFFORT FOR A SIMPLE PLANT!MY FRIENDS RECOMMENDED THAT I TAKE UP GARDENING TO RELAX AND ENJOY NATURE.OVER THE PAST SIX YEARS
I BOUGHT EIGHT BEAUTIFUL AND FRAGANT GARDENIAS,MYSTERY,FIRST LOVE AND ETC AND AFTER SIX YEARS THESE SIMPLE PLANTS HAS TAUGHT ME HOW TO RELAX.AFTER SIX YEARS I TAKE FOUR VALUIM AND A HALF A GALLON OF SCOTCH AND STAGGER OUT FOR MY NEXT TRY TO KEEP MY ONE PLANT ALIVE.AFTER 3000 HRS ON THE INTERNET,GARDENING BOOKS AND HELP FROM THREE HUNDRED PROFESSIONAL GROWERS AND FOUR GARDENING CDS.HERE WHAT I HAVE LEARN.
THEY LIKE WATER BUT YOU HAVE TO KEEP THE SEMI DRY.THEY LOVED SUN BUT YOU HAVE TO KEEP IN THE SHADE.YOU FEED THEM OFTEN.DISCRIBED AS SOMEWHERE BETWEEN TWO DAYS AND TWO YEARS ONLY ON SUNDAYS WITH A BLUE MOON RISING.THEY LOVED NORTHERN
EXPOSURE IF YOU HAVE THEM ON THE SOUTHERN.THEY LOVE ACID AND IRON UNLESS YOU GIVE IT TO THEM.THEY LOVE TO GROW SPIDER MITES,WHICH YOU CANT SEE,AND APHIDS.
I HAVE FOUND IF YOU BUY OLDER PLANTS THEY TAKE LONGER TO DIE.MY FRIEND SUGGESTED THAT WHEN ONE OF THE SIMPLE PLANTS
WASNT DOING WELL TO MOVE TO THE NORTHERN SUN WHICH A LOT.IT DIED QUICKER.WELL I HAVE TO GO NOW MY FRIENDS IN THE WHITE
JACKETS ARE COMING TO PULL ME AWAY FROM MY BELOVED GARDENIA.
ITS OKAY I HEAR THEY HAVE A SALE ON GARDENIA IN THE NOVELTY
· Posted by: Sandy - TX 8B/AHA10 ) on Fri, Aug 13, 99 at 13:20
CJ is right, gardenias grow well in Houston. Must be the heat and humidity. It sure isn't the the alkaline clay soil.
Maybe gardenias need more room for their roots that a pot provides. In zone 10, they can certainly be grown in the ground. We have had a couple of severe freezes in past years that wiped out almost all the gardenias in the Houston area, so zones 7 and higher probably have no choice but pot culture, or is that slow murder?
Right on! Robert. The only thing you missed was scale. My parents grew them when I was young, but quit after they all froze one winter, as the constant spraying for various infestations was too much trouble. I've never grown them for the same reason.
· Posted by: emily moorefield - 6 ) on Wed, Aug 25, 99 at 20:28
hi Joan -- I have actually another suggestion for you: tuberoses. I'm seeing my first blooms of this extraordinary and SUPER-FRAGRANT plant right now. Maybe it's just the fact that I got any flowers at all, because I've tried and failed with tuberoses 2 years in a row, but these are just incredible. Literally perfuming my entire apt. from 2 stems in the bedroom. And it's a _really_ sweet fragrance, rather like gardenia. Also like gardenia, they need plenty-o-heat and some patience, and only come once a year, but they are a heck of a lot easier to care for.
Hope your gardenia is doing well. Mine's putting out lots of new growth, thank goodness. It's been hard keeping it moist enough in this very hot and dry summer, but so far so good.
· Posted by: plant lover - 7 ) on Wed, Sep 1, 99 at 22:09
I do recommend cutting the plant down every year - honest! When my gardenia had so many spider mites, aphids, and mealy bugs, I cut it to the nub (it's in a pot and given to me by my well-meaning husband 10 years or so ago) and it grew back healthy. The buds do fall off if you feed while it's trying to bud. I have the brown edge thing and haven't figured it out yet, but haven't fed or barely watered this year as I've been busy. It has shamrocks growing at the base (they flew over and seeded themselves) and seems to be alive and still green. I'm moving to Fla. so it should be real happy in the humidity there. Just don't feed when it starts to get buds. I also leave mine outside until it gets to 35 deg. or so at night to set the buds for the winter. I live in Maryland. It will come in around November. Last year I left one outside all winter (not the greenhouse type, tho) and it bloomed and lived and is still alive. It's leaves are now speckled so I don't know what I did to it!
· Posted by: Leona - Ohio ) on Sun, Sep 5, 99 at 15:00
Joan, Earlier this spring I posted here about my g. bushes and got alot of good sugestions...but the one I have found most effective was from my 80 year old neighbor...Just leave it alone and it will grow. I put 3 in this year and did put some ferns around them so that if the ferns look bad then I know to fertilize..my bushes have bloomed off and on all summer. I water only once a week if it doesn't rain. They are in morning shade..afternoon sun. Now I just have to figure out how to over winter them in the ground. Good luck they are my favorite also...Poor Robert...I hope he will be okay ....LOL smiling.
· Posted by: Gina - 7 ) on Sun, Sep 12, 99 at 21:52
The one thing I found that my gardenia really disliked was having water left in the bottom of the pot (I have it in the pot it came in, tucked inside a decorative pot). The leaves curled up, turned yellow,and dropped off, and the flower buds fell off. Now I take it out of the decorative pot every other day and water in it the kitchen sink, and leave it to drain for about 1/2 hour. It bloomed great this spring and still looks good. I never fertilize, just water it. It gets morning sun for about 3 hours.
· Posted by: Sylvia - TX 8a (My Page) on Sat, Sep 18, 99 at 19:19
I have another alternate suggestion - jasmine sambac "maid of orleans" has a fragrance that is a distant relative of the gardenia.
And have you been to the Bath and Body shops at the mall? Their gardenia is pretty darn good LOL!
· Posted by: Merli de Guzman - Van, B.C. (firstname.lastname@example.org) on Sat, Oct 9, 99 at 1:09
I have to agree with Penelope, I threw my last gardenia in the compost. I've been tempted at Home Depot on numerous occasion. My husband shakes his head even as I get anywhere close to the gardenias. I'm too busy with my other plants and I don't need the headaches.
Good luck and when you've found the right formula...let me know.
· Posted by: Renee - CenTex ) on Sat, Oct 9, 99 at 15:41
I hardly spray my gardenia and kinda ignore it... every 2 or so weeks I water with acid plant food and the rest of the time water with regular tap water (when the soil appears dry on top) which it isnt supposed to like but well, I have a healthy plant that bloomed once and is getting ready to yet again. I am a first time gardener and this is a total surprise as I kill tons of plants! I have it in a pot with soil specific for flowers (whatever that means!) But all I can say is good luck!
· Posted by: Joan - CA-10/Sunset 24 ) on Sat, Oct 9, 99 at 16:56
First, I think Robert got it right. Gardenias like wet/dry, acidic/alkaline soil. They like sun, but only in shade; and shade, but only in sun. North/southern exposure (if you can't manage that, try east/western). They like to be dry misted, to be fed yet not, and adore the sound of one hand clapping.
What I did: nothing. Gave up on feeding, misting, moving it around. Watered with tap water just like all the rest of my plants, and otherwise ignored it.
Results: It still sulks, but has grown more foliage, no burned edges (arg! so much for the too-much-salt-in-the-water theory), but no buds either. I'm now convinced that if I pitched it on the compost heap it would be blissfully happy.
Adore tuberoses, but alas couldn't find any plants, settled for regular bunches at the local farmers' market. Bought a jasmine sambac (disappointing because they're a nose-right-in-the-flower type, and I'd expected a perfume-from-a-few-feet-away type, still, smell very nice).
The Mystery bloomed pretty well. How will it do next year? Hmm, we'll see.
Joan · Posted by: Ron - 10 ) on Tue, May 9, 00 at 23:39
I read somewhere that if you have flouride in your water that it can cause some sensitive plants to die starting at the tips and eventually kill the plant. The plant slowly gets worst and worst as the flouride builds in the plant at each watering. To get rid of the flouride you have to let the water sit in an open container for 24 hours for the flouride to dissipate.
· Posted by: C Hagey ) on Sun, May 28, 00 at 17:12
I think I have another suggestion that nobody has yet mentioned for your Gardenia and if you went so far as to beg on bended knee, etc, etc (haha) I think you may find this easier :) How about putting a small piece of Rose Quartz in the pot, laying it right on top of the soil? I have found that my plants love stones/minerals and it really does seem to help them grow better. (must be like that Shui stuff right?) Different plants like different stones...for Gardenia...maybe rose quartz...good luck!
· Posted by: carol - 10 ) on Sat, Jun 10, 00 at 5:44
Robert- Oh god! That was funny! I laughed so hard I think I woke up the neighbors.
· Posted by: Parris - 7 ) on Sun, Jun 11, 00 at 12:39
I see that I'm not the only one with a temermental vedichii.
When I got my very first gardenia, it was down in Sunnyvale, CA. I thought the reason it died was the foul air quality.
Six plants later, and about twenty internal dialogues with myself about how gardenias are spawned from the Devil...that's why they smell so nice and give you headaches when the blooms decide to wither and die before they even open(Arrgh!:).
I am yet again faced with the same problem as you. Although I am finding that certain gardenias seem to do better with a light mixture of miracle grow in their water at every watering....I know it says not to do this, but I'be been putting just a little in my water with the gardenia and it's been doing better, at least the new foliage seems to be perking up. I did the same with my "Never Blooming" Orchid and it is even looking like it wants to bloom....so I figure, might as well try it.
(I tried the coffee grounds thing with my potted rose and it didn't work so well, so be cautious)
Anyhow, best of luck!
· Posted by: jiangming ) on Sun, Jun 11, 00 at 21:40
I've got 2 gardenias in my small garden in Singapore. It is among the variety of plants that grow well in hot, humid, full sun climate. Mine is blooming lots (3 to 4 flowers) while it is still quite a small plant (about the size of a soccer ball). I guess the environment plays a lot in the growth of plants.
My neighbour tried to grow 20 different colored roses. All went to heaven except one. So there. It's either it grows or it doesn't. Help it if you can but I think it's gonna be marginal.
Good luck to yours.
· Posted by: J. Clayton - 7a ) on Mon, Jun 12, 00 at 13:25
Right, potted Gardinias wont tolerate wet feet. Every so often take them out to a shaded spot and drench the soil allowing all excess water to drain out (no saucer). The air is kept bouyant with a ceiling fan and the leaves are lightly misted daily. Also try fertilizing at half strength when no buds or blooms are present (I use one intended for orchids to inhance blooms), this is also a good time to prune for shape on occation. If you have tried Azalia cuttings in window applications treat them much the same way. If you havent you dont know what you are missing! Outdoor Gardinias treated the same as Azalias (partial sun and mulch) will prosper however they need protection (ie. small conifers) from the wind during winter months as the leaves will die off and drop. I started with a variety called Everbloom but I dubbed it Neverbloom til I finally figured it out.
Im currently working on a Kuzu/Gardinia hybrid...just as finicky but it does its own chicken dance.
· Posted by: Lori - zone 7 ) on Sun, Jul 30, 00 at 9:58
Poor Robert....but what he says is so true. They are the most high maintenance, finicky plant that there is! I too, have sent many grocery store/home improvement store gardenias to their grave. I finally decided to turn my love of fragrant flowers away from the gardenia, but was seduced by the fragrance of a beautiful August Beauty at one of the local high end nurseries. I live in an apartment so I planted it in a large pot and has done well until recently. I did not use any special potting soil, just a professional grade peat mixture so that it would get proper drainage. I too have the leaves turning yellow, but the veins are green. I may have a white fly problem. I had my gardenia sitting next to some fruit plants and it inherited some mealy bugs but they have been taken care of.
My biggest problem is that the leaves on the end of the branches are starting to droop, so to speak, like it is not getting enough water. I water every 2 to 3 days depending on how hot it is. I fertilize with a liquid acidifier. I do not let the pot sit in standing water. I have from time to time fertilized with Orchid and Rose Food. There is plenty of new growth, but no buds. Any suggestions as to why the leaves on the ends of the older branches would be drooping? There are only a few branches doing this, however, from experience of the past, this was the beginning of the end..... Any suggestions would be appreciated. Lori - Raleigh NC
· Posted by: Steve - CA-9 ) on Mon, Jul 31, 00 at 1:40
What part of zone 10 CA. do you live in? I really think that the heat has a lot to do with the success of gardenia.
I live in Bakersfield (I know, hell on earth, etc.) but I have to say, the gardenia here do really well. I think the coast can be too cool for them.
· Posted by: Terry Hardman - Ace - 9 ) on Mon, Jul 31, 00 at 18:41
Coffee grounds are full of nitrogen.
Wake-em them up & give them some for their caffine fit.
· Posted by: sandra - 5 (email@example.com) on Thu, Aug 3, 00 at 12:23
The best luck I ever had with Gardenia was in Corpus Christi (very hot and humid weather).
I planted the bush in the morning sun, along with five pounds of fresh "Maxwell House" coffee. It bloomed like crazy that year.
· Posted by: sheryl - middle north east ) on Thu, Aug 3, 00 at 15:30
I too love gardinias. I bought one in a 12" pot this last spring. The leaves started to turn yellow and the blooms fell off without opening. I transplanted it into a 5 gal. rubbermaid pot and put it outside where it gets full morning sun and shade the rest of the afternoon. It will soon be turning fall here and I know that these plants can't take the cold winters we sometime have. I am afraid when I have to bring it in for the winter it will die. Does anyone have any suggestions how to do this with as little stress on the plant as possible? Or if it is covered with a styrofom covering, could it just be left out.
· Posted by: stacy - 7 - Tennessee ) on Thu, Aug 10, 00 at 21:59
I don't understand why so many people have so much trouble with gardenias. Sorry, but I don't do anything to mine except cut them back (and root the cuttings) after the blooms are done. I mulch with compost, that's about it. I might give them water if it's been real dry, but most of the time whatever rain we get is all it gets.
We have real high humidity and mild winters and acid (very acid) clay soil.
The gardenias I tried growing in pots never did well until I planted them outside.
The only time I didn't get a lot of blooms was when I pruned too late in winter.
Maybe you should move to Tennessee? :)
· Posted by: jenny - 6 ) on Wed, Sep 20, 00 at 20:50
I bought a "White Gem" gardenia last year. It's a dwarf variety with small dark green leaves and small star-like fragrant white flowers. The plant is barely a foot high and very compact.
When I got it, I repotted it into a mostly peat mix, watered it well and fed every other week with Miracid. It bloomed profusely but eventually began to lose some leaves. Fortunately, that stopped (probably transplant shock and recovery - plus talking to it). I had it on the balcony floor facing Northeast (and it got about 5-6hrs sun/day in summer). Since it was a zone 8 plant and I live in zone 6, I brought it in for the winter and sat it on a stool next to the patio glass doors. It was near but not under a bright light and got a few hours sun during the winter.
The leaves remained healthy and during the winter, I got a couple of welcome blooms. Come this past spring, when it got warm enough, I put it back outside in a similar location and it bloomed again.
The one cool thing about this variety is the fact that it is very "azalea-like" in it's woody growth. I've noticed that the leaves that did drop off happened on the inside of the plant. This inturn opened the plant up, allowing more sun and air circulation, and now brand new growth is occuring on the old wood inside! I guess the plant knows best! It figured that it would take care of itself!
What an adorable plant this is! And the blooming of it corresponded with my lilac, so I got a double dose of fragrance in June!
Since the past few weeks have seen temps down near the lower 50s, I brought it and my zone 10s in... It's since warmed up again and I guess I could put it back outside. This might be a good routine to do since it would slowly acclimitize it to the indoor life that it will experience soon.
Only problem is that in winter, it gets very dry in here (down to 18% at times!) and I have to supplement with humidifiers. In summer, it's just the opposite and it can get to 72% humidity in here!
· Posted by: joan - ca 10/sunset 24 ) on Thu, Sep 21, 00 at 14:07
the vetchii was finally successful in offing itself mid-summer. [insert moment of silence] never have i seen a plant take so long to depart!
remember that mystery i got? so lovely, so lush, and blooming! well, it too has declined. i wooed, i courted, i coddled, i ignored.i tell you, simply *nothing* works with this beasts here!
joan · Posted by: Marlene - 9 S.F. ) on Fri, Sep 22, 00 at 0:13
I have also killed my share of gardenias in the past, but this summer, I have decided to try once more. I first purchased a one gallon Vetichi. I placed it mostly in the shade with some sun. It did very well and finally bloom. It smell so nice that we decided to buy a larger plant. We went to Home Depot again to buy a 5 gallon Mystery. They are both doing very well and are budding again. I religiously mist them every morning to keep up the humidity. I water my plant weekly with Peter's 20-20-20 and occasionally fish emulsion.
· Posted by: Mary M. - 7 ) on Thu, Oct 5, 00 at 18:25
Joan....Maybe you should try the Gardenias that are low growing, and can be used as a ground cover. We bought 8 and planted them on a bank. They have done GREAT... soil is bad...Georgia clay, but we mulched and they are BEAUTIFUL when in bloom....solid white. Blooms are small about the size of a half dollar, but with all the wonderful Gardenia smell. Ask your Nursery Man about them....I love them !! No trouble like the big plants....we cover them if it is going to get down in the teens, but other than that they are no problem. They ought to do well in Ca.
Good luck ....Mary
· Posted by: Niki - 7B ) on Fri, Oct 6, 00 at 0:09
Well, Robert and others have made me LOL over and over!! Interesting that I just received a gardenia in trade (I do remember my last experience with "the lovely one" -- it turned yellow and died.) I was so sad. I was thinking that now that I have access to all this info on the GW, that I could find out how to take care of it -- what a silly girl.
But -- I have had the little thing about 2 weeks -- came to me in peat. I planted it in some good quality potting soil and thought I should put it with my other houseplant that I mist daily. Good Idea!! Well, it has actually grown a little. When I fertilize, I had just planned on using some of the same stuff I used for my azaleas. From what I read here, I think I will treat it like I do my other houseplants. Inside in winter, outside in spring in the shade. We can get really humid AND dry here. -- Also, as I was reading through all your comments, I went directly to the rock collection and put a nice piece of rose quartz on top of the soil. I also use crystals on some plants -- not that I know what i'm doing or anything, but there's just something about it!!!! I have a nice pece of crystal outside in a marigold container and they have grown larger and more blooms that the other two containers with no crystal. HMMMMMM. Maybe we should make an adaptation in our rituals --(from chicken to rocks!!!. GLA and GL Me in this gardenia Life quest. Niki
· Posted by: Jason ) on Thu, Oct 26, 00 at 1:02
I live in Perth Western Australia and my five Gardenias are all in full sun in a raised bed with a lot of horse manure in it. When I transplanted them from their pots I tried to not disturb their fragile roots and then did all of the good things like Iron Sulphate/Chelate, Magnesium and foods with nitrogen and vitamin B. Vinegar water and coffee work too. I then covered the whole lot in a very thick layer of mulch (Eucalyptus). The result was astounding, the growth started two weeks after the transplanting and hasn't stopped. They are all easily head height now and blooming beautifully. My advice is to keep the food up, water early mornings every two to three days with a well drained soil and mist the leaves if where you live isn't very humid.
· Posted by: HG - 9 ) on Fri, Nov 10, 00 at 22:07
Sheesh ! You guys don't give much hope to me. I killed 2 last year. Butthis year I was thinking of outsmarting the evil plant.....I bought 12 of them and planted them in different places. 3 are in containers (one in shade, one in the sun and one in part sun part shade). Three are planted in clay soil (one in sun, one in shade, one in part shade part sun). Three more are planted in fast draining soil where my impatiens, clematis, roses and petunias are really thriving....and as usual one is in shade, one in the sun and one in part shade part sun. Three more are in a raised bed....one in shade, one in part sun part shade, one in shade.
To confuse the plant further, I also bought two tree gardenias....am growing them in containers - and guess where ? Yep, one in part shade and one in the sun...although they have the saucer which is always full of water...and I must remember to remove it tomorrow, having read this thread...
Do y'all think I'll be able to cheat at least *one* of the plant and learn the secret of of survival ???
· Posted by: Raymond Day - 9, BR, LA ) on Sat, Nov 11, 00 at 21:48
Gardenias are no big deal to grow down here in South Louisiana. They grow everywhere and their fragrance is wonderful in May-June. New plants can be rooted readily by putting cuttings in water and waiting for the roots to form.
The climate here is hot and humid, with lots of rain (normally, not this year). The soil here is naturally acidic and apparently well suited to gardenias. A good mulch of pine needles or oak leaves or other acidic mulch makes them happy. Must be the climate.
· Posted by: maya mostafa - T6J2T7 ) on Sun, Jan 28, 01 at 2:04
I have brought a gardinia and i put it indoors and i was wandering if it would bloom along the year or only in one season?.
And the second question does it need a humid atmosphere, if it does the area which i leave it has no humid so should i spray it with water from time to time?
And the third question is when is it a suitable time and weather to switch it with a larger pot or a container.?
And the fourth question what is the best vitamins or fertiles fo gardinia?
And the fifth question is that i heared when we put it in one place in the house it gets pissed if we moved it to another place, so is that right?
· Posted by: joan - ca 10/sunset 24 ) on Sun, Jan 28, 01 at 17:45
given my horrid [non-existant] success rate with the evil plants, i feel like i'm the last person to give gardenia advice, but here goes...
1. generally speaking, they bloom twice a year
2. humidity - yes, yes, and yes! mist it daily
3. if yours has any buds on it, don't risk repotting it and angering the gardenia gods. if it doesn't have buds, go ahead
4. it loves acidity, so use miracid, or azalea food. feed it more when in bud, until blooming season is over. many people have success giving them diluted coffee, or coffee grounds
5. i haven't tried them indoors, but would guess a sunny window [but not in summer, else it'll fry], and not near a heater or it'll complain about the lack of humidity
joan · Posted by: Kathy - 5a/b (firstname.lastname@example.org) on Mon, Jan 29, 01 at 10:23
What a great thread! I am going upstairs now to mix miracid in a cup of coffee, and dump it on the 2 sticks of gardenia I have left (a slow death over 2 years), one has dried up brown leaves, and the other pale yellow leaves). Can't put it on the compost heap - there are 4 feet of snow here!
· Posted by: Cam - 5 ) on Tue, Jan 30, 01 at 5:28
Robert, thanks I needed that. Laughed so loud I woke up hubby! I've never tried Gardenia, and now never will!
· Posted by: Leslie - 6/RI ) on Tue, Jan 30, 01 at 7:59
Joan & Everyone,
Gardenias come and go. But there are the makings of a great comedy act here. Some of the funniest comments I've read.
I do love Jasminum sambac, Arabian jasmine. There are different varieties. I have a 'Grand Duke of Tuscany' (I think) and it's quite fragrant. Maybe the fragrance varies between different varieties, and indeed, between individual plants. I notice a hint of unpleasantness in lilies too. I have 'Casa Blanca' outside my windows, and I love the scent, but when they start to fade or even if I get too close, they smell like packaged Bologna to me. (Wisteria too!) The Arabian jasmine doesn't have that undertone.
· Posted by: Pebble - 6 ) on Sun, Feb 4, 01 at 23:53
Egads!!!!!! I just bought a gardenia with about 50 buds on it, and now I'm simply petrified to even look at it askew.
and I am soooooo comfused. someone said not to feed it while in bloom, someone said feed it.
which is it?? and I was going to transplant the bloody thing but I've changed my mind. I was pretty excited about it now I'm pissed at it cause it's gonna give me grief, I'm going to tear my heair out and finally the men in white jackets are going to come get me like what's his mane about 10 postings up, we're all going to end up in a loony bin for gardenia killers.
Well, so - should I feed it now or just ignore it (that'll show it.. do onto it before it does unto me!)
happy gardening all
· Posted by: BVelvet5 8 ) on Tue, Apr 17, 01 at 13:21
Ya'll are a riot...I agree there is a great comic routine coming to life here.....I too am a proud, confussed, bewildered, saddened, owner of a Gardenia Jasminoides "Veitchii". I came to this site for help..rofl instead I find that misery loves company... Well, after reading all the postings I have decided...that one of my gardenia plants is going into the soil, going to cut back to nothing plant on the same side of the house as my grandmother planted hers and tell it to grow or die....the other I am leaving well enough alone. It seems to be doing well...can't figure the difference in the two plants they are both planted in the same size pot, same potting mix..feed with miracid..mulched..and treated identically. One is thriving and one is going through the same metamorphasis as everyone elses. I live in the same town as my grandmother, remember her plant and it's beautiful white flowers that smelled like heaven and don't ever remember seeing her out hoovering over it like I have hoovered over these two begging for those fragrant blooms. They are full of buds and have been for two weeks now. Have any opened......no, will any open? That is the 64,000.00 question. So thank ya'll for the laughs and the reinstalled determination to make these things grow.
· Posted by: Jim ) on Mon, May 7, 01 at 20:29
UH OH!!! My wife loves gardenias, and being the thoughtful husband that I am, I went out and got her a Veitchii for Mother's Day (which I'm planning to give her this Sunday). So...I started looking for some advice on caring for it, and came across this thread. Now, I'm printing this out, and am going to write SORRY across the top in big red block letters. After I give her the gardenia and see the joy in her eyes, I'm then going to hand her the printout and run! I'll let you know how it turns out!
· Posted by: Lee Anna z8 ) on Wed, May 9, 01 at 14:05
Has anyone tried the "hardy" gardenias? I got my mom one for mother's day after watching her play nursemaid to a dying gardenia for a year. Chuck Hayes is listed as hardy to zone 7 and has the same double blooms and scent. Kleim's Hardy is supposed to be hardy to zone 6. It's got single flowers so it's not as pretty, but the foliage and the scent are the same. The single flower varieties are supposedly much hardier. We'll see. So far, it's been on my deck for two weeks and get this - it hasn't died!! I'm sold. I'll let y'all know how it does.
· Posted by: Tracie z7 OKC OK (My Page) on Fri, May 11, 01 at 11:37
This is TOO funny! I'm glad I'm not the only one going to the crazy house for Gardenia Killers! See you there ;+) Tracie
Gardenia blooming: Frustrations and joys
· Posted by: changsong 7 VA ) on Sun, May 13, 01 at 9:20
It seems after 6 months, our gardenia has decided not to become the plant I hate. It finally blooms, only one flower at this moment, but the fragrance fills our kitchen. And about 30 or 40 more buds are waiting to open. Our gardenia has always been healthy and happy since she came in our home at the end of last year. I am so grateful that finally she decides to make me a happy one.
· Posted by: Dacia Adams ) on Fri, May 18, 01 at 16:39
Now I know why I keep buying Gardenias. I 've finally found a group where I feel I really belong. Please count me in when you decide to create your comedy. Screenplays are not nearly as mysterious as this sulky little plant. My latest acquistion seems to be doing well, and why not? My grandmother had a fabulous, fragrant Gardinia Bush, five feet high and nearly as wide, that she moved around with her throughout the South, from Arkansas, to North Carolina, and finally Georgia. Maybe it was the weather, maybe it was her green thumb, maybe it was all the acid feedings she claimed it loved, but it lived nearly as long as she did. Thanks to all you witty people for some good ideas on what I am probably doing wrong. I plan to reform, hopefully in this latest plant's lifetime. Meantime, I have some ideas now that Hollywood should love. Serial Gardenia Killer
Here is a link that might be useful:
· Posted by: Jeff (7) South Carolina ) on Thu, Jun 7, 01 at 0:54
I don't get it. What's the problem with growing gardenias? When I was a little boy, we lived in a house near the coast (Zone 8), and had a BIG Gardenia bush in the front yard that my dad had pruned into a ball about 6 feet high and 8 feet across... and it was ALWAYS full of blooms... sat in standing water 6 inches deep when it rained sometimes (our neighborhood was almost on a swamp), and was in FULL SUN. Well, now I'm in Zone 7a, and I have a gardenia a housekeeper gave me from a cutting several years ago... it grew well and bloomed OK for years, before I started fertilizing and watering, and now... WHEW! After fertilizing and watering for the past three years, and now FINALLY using a Miracid store-brand equivalent, it's greener and full of more blooms than ever! Just started blooming this week... maybe 8 or 10 open... at least 100 more on the way! It's great! I just don't see the problem. I guess I've been lucky. BTW, I've seen freezing rain COAT the leaves of this plant in the winter and not faze it... it DOES get yellow leaves about now (has as many as buds), but I think that's just the changing of the guard. I'm guessing they really don't like POTS... If you're in Zone 7, or warmer, put them outdoors where there is some shelter, water, fertilize with acid... and watch for the blooms! Best of luck, Jeff
· Posted by: angel Pacific North West ) on Fri, Jun 15, 01 at 22:17
They are the plant from hell. Satan himself invented this damned plant and laughs uproariously at all of us pitifull little idiots trying to make such a hatefull and obnoxious plant happy. They immediately die when I get within six feet of them, I have actually heard them scream when I reach to pick it up. They even have an annoying scream. If I bring them home, the buds dont just fall off, they detonate and fly off and stick to the wall. The leaves don't just dry up and turn brown. They send up wisps of smoke and smolder turn black and burn a hole in the floor where they dropped. Please people, do yourself the greatest kindness and resist the horrible gardenia plant. Don't torture yourself. And if you must buy one, give it as a gift to someone you don't like. Together, if we try, we can get them off the market and resume our happy lives.
· Posted by: PVick z6 NY (My Page) on Sun, Jun 17, 01 at 17:48
You all are TOO funny! I grew up in the Virgin Islands, and my grandmother had a gardenia in her side yard. I SWEAR I never saw her take any special care of that plant - it was watered, of course, and maybe once in a while she would throw that last rinse water from the cleaned fish at it, but that's all! Maybe it was the heat and humidity, maybe it was the sandy soil, maybe it was the brutal afternoon sun, maybe it was the tradewinds - but what a beautiful plant; the smell of gardenia still reminds me of my Mama. I came upon this thread because I would like to grow a gardenia, in a pot on my terrace, and was looking for some advice. Well!!! My jaws hurt, I've been laughing so hard! I now KNOW that I'll be trying that plant. There's something to be said about being a bit crazed - inures you a bit for the rest of the world's offerings! "Happy" Gardenia Growing! PV
· Posted by: TimCT 6, New Haven, CT ) on Thu, Jun 21, 01 at 12:53
PV above suggested I look in this forum on advice for my gardenia woes.... After reading this thread I feel better that I've been able to keep my gardenia alive. :-) Mine is 2 years old and a very green and healthy shrub, the problem being no blooms. I'm going to purchase some miracid and give that a try. If anyone knows the approximate bloom time for my area (Southern New England/NYC metro region) I'd be grateful. Thanks also for the chuckles.. looks like quite a few of us are willing (or not so willing) servants of these beautiful plants.
· Posted by: joan 10 ) on Thu, Jun 21, 01 at 14:12
hello again! angel has it precisely right - gardenias ARE the spawn of the deevil. oh, those glossy, lusciously dark green leaves. the stunning contrast of the gorgeous white blooms. er, the blooms that are only to be seen when you *buy* the plant, and of course in movies. and (what we're really after), the seductive, blissful-coma-producing fragrance. ah yes, the gardenia! satin's spawn. i'm telling ya. pitch 'em. i'll have you know this is my second gardenia-free year. ok, so it took an intervention or two, and a year's worth of therapy. it was worth it! i did, though, have to rapidly scroll through all the cruel posts of those who said things like, "what's the problem? they thrive like anything here. blooms galore, and more on the way." i will not buy another gardenia. i will not buy another gardenia. i will not buy another gardenia. i will not buy another gardenia. COME ON FOLKS, SAY IT WITH ME! and jim, i hope your wife is still speaking to you! joan
· Posted by: Amy 8 Oregon ) on Wed, Jul 11, 01 at 0:06
Well, I was blissfully ignorant up until now. Satan's spawn, huh? I have three 'Kleim's Hardy' that I bought last summer and let sit out in the pots in the driveway all fall and winter. I figured I must have killed them by the time I was ready to plant them this spring, but no, they were still there so I plopped them into the ground in front of my walkway not being careful of the roots or anything. One time they got drowned in a horrible thundershower and if I don't keep the gutters clean they get drowned from the overflow. Now the crazy things are blooming like mad. I was so encouraged I went out and bought a 'Chuck Hayes' and a species 'fortunei'. Maybe those 'Kleim's Hardy' are just the advance tantilizers to get me suckered into the black hole.
· Posted by: Gale ) on Sun, Jul 15, 01 at 10:21
I grew up in Michigan (zone 5) watching an elderly neighbor wheel her (huge) Gardenia in/out of the house each spring/fall. She did almost nothing to it but it got bigger and bigger each year. Her pot was clay, her dirt dug from the backyard. In the summer it sat on a porch, facing south...she did mist it. In winter it sat inside, on a back door landing, mostly in the dark. It bloomed like crazy and smelled like heaven. It was this exposure that first attracted me to the Gardenia. However, my experience has been nothing like hers. Reading the thread on this board a question occurs to me, do you have to be elderly to grow this plant?
· Posted by: Preston Rich MD ) on Thu, Jul 26, 01 at 12:07
When I was a boy in zone 7 (Baltimore, MD) my mother grew a huge gardenia plant from year to year in a 50 gal. container. The gardenia plant as I remember was been some 6' tall. I remember the plant having started out as a typical small houseplant. It spent the summers out on the south-facing terrace next to the house and was brought in (with a significant effort by our gardiner assisted by a hand-dolly) in the fall and situated in the corner of a south facing "sun room" (but not directly in front of a window). I remember it being covered w/blooms in some years and bloomless in others. However, I don't ever recall her spending any extraordinary efforts in feeding or fertilizing this plant which lived a good 39 years until she died in 1981. The plant did get a little spindly later on as I don't believe it was ever trimmed or pruned significantly. It suffered through dozens of hurricaines in the 50's and early frosts as well. I don't even think the large tub container was even vented at the bottom. Mother died sitting up in a chair next to the plant in the winter of 1981. We finaly had to get rid of the plant when we sold the house as it was too large for our new home. Since mother died, I don't think my wife nor I have ever had a gardenia plant last more that one or two seasons. -Preston
· Posted by: paul ) on Wed, Sep 5, 01 at 18:31
HI! My name is Paul....and I grow Gardenias(sigh),woe,moan remorse. I started 2 cuttings from different areas of the state in a glass of water and have recently transplanted them both to pots (1) clay (1) plastic. should I give up now and just toss them oout or is their a chance. I am about to throw coffe grounds on top of the soil,but I am afraid to set outside on the balcony due to white flies and other critters. Advice please.
· Posted by: Marlene 9 SF, CA ) on Thu, Sep 6, 01 at 12:18
Since you just planted your cuttings, I would not move it outside, fertilize, or throw coffee grounds on them yet. They need some time to adjust to their new environment from the glass of water to the pot with soil. I would probably move it out gradually in 4 weeks if all goes well.
· Posted by: seapoem 10 CA (My Page) on Tue, Sep 11, 01 at 16:11
Joan, You are in So Cal? Where? If in the LA area, and if you ever want to buy a gardenia again, I have just the place for you, (shh.. it's a wholsale nursery) where you can buy VERY healthy plants and watch them bloom (and for the price, throw them out at the end of the season!!! No coddling, no cooing, no chicken dance and chakra stones to worry about. Just green babies that bloom even in my cool costal semi-shade in Orange County with virtual neglect. By the way, here is my quote that will become world famous someday y'all: "A watched plant never grows."
· Posted by: melba 7 ) on Fri, Sep 21, 01 at 21:00
Oh, my goodness! I thought they were the easiest plants to grow! Now that I know everyone hates me, I'll tell you about MY gardenia. 15 years old, in a 10 gallon pot, repotted about every two years in cheap old potting soil from Home Depot. Bought it at the grocery store when it was about 6" high. It's now about 3 feet high, the same across, and had over 50 blooms last May. I had a chat with it the other day, because if it needs a bigger pot I won't be able to move it in and out, and it will have to stay in. Hope it understands the problem. After it blooms, I cut off the old growth and it puts out more leaves, and will bloom again next spring. It gets fish emulsion once a week from February through October, lives in a cool sunporch (70 daytime, 55 nights), and is a very happy camper. I don't fuss with it, although I am very fond of it. Inside, it sits in a big group of plants -- a lemon tree, a calamondin orange, assorted fancy begonias, a brugmannsia, etc., and spends the summer on the patio in dappled light. I once grew one in the ground when I lived in Indonesia (hot, humid, volcanic soil, lots of rain), and it got so big that it blocked the driveway, causing much heartburn to my husband. I think that the individual plant is the secret -- I am not sure why, but many of the plants aren't properly rooted and just don't do well. Perhaps there's something to the age thing -- I'm over sixty. Could it be that gardenias, like the Chinese, respect age and grey hair? Very funny thread, and please, no nasty remarks about my success with G. vietchii. I have killed far more than my share of other plants.
· Posted by: leelu 8b/9aSETX (My Page) on Mon, Sep 24, 01 at 1:55
Well, maybe a nice flood would help. I don't recommend them, but one saved my poor gardenia. Several years later I took a branch to the nursery and they saw some tiny bugs inside the buds that were eating the buds from the inside out. Also, the leaves turned yellow. The place is now out of business, but if I can find the product (may be iron something), I will repost for you.
· Posted by: Vincent ) on Sat, Oct 13, 01 at 7:57
Hi everyone, I live in Auckland, New Zealand. I can't believe the extraordinary lengths people have gone to to keep their gardenias alive! I am now just starting to appreciate how prized these shrubs are....I have one very large (1.7m by 1.2m) 10yr old shrub that grows in a stone chip covered corner of the house facing the north (sunny side here down under), which receives full sun, and probably good humidity (especially in Auckland). It grew and bloomed at an astonishing pace before I paid any attention to it, now I've pruned it, fertilised it, acidified the soil and it seems to be a bit sad looking. Is there such a thing as acidosis? (too much acid fertiliser). Do brown patches in the centre of yellow leaves mean there are too much salts? I can't get much advice in NZ so any help would be appreciated. It seems ignorance IS bliss. By the way, the most appropriate thing for struggling growers would be to try and replicate the conditions found in its native China, particularly Southern China....ie high humidity, warmth, sun, peaty acidic soil, generally conditions like all other Chinese plants require. For a great historical context, see "The Garden Plants of China", by Peter Valder, 1999 (I hope this isn't seen in any way as "advertising"). Its Chinese name, in Mandarin, "Zhizi" means "wine cup", and has been in cultivation probably since the Han Dynasty (202BC-220AD).
· Posted by: Diggerb 5 (My Page) on Wed, Oct 24, 01 at 20:10
I just loved everyone's comments about what seems a plant from hell. I've never been drawn to a gardenia. And I cann't stand their smell. it rates right up there with paperwhite narcs. and lilac trees (the bushes i can deal with) and musk oil (i'm alleergic). Guess I have three plants that i will never grow-
· Posted by: Enid NW Florida (My Page) on Mon, Oct 29, 01 at 14:45
Good gods! I have laughed until I had tears streming downmy face, you guys are hilarious! I have one of this devil plants myself and it thrives on neglect. It's planted where it gets full sun from noon onwards, when I first got it I forgot about it on the back of the hopuse till it was nearly dead with something like a dozen leaves left onit, then I planted it in this Florida sand, no fertilizer, no nothing. I guess it figured out early I was not going to coddle it and it decided to spite me by growing and flowering. Since we have been having a drought I started watering in the summer after sundown, now its a very green little thing that looks great, we had some rains a few weeks ago and it flowered again. Saw some mites on it and sprayed it with addams flea and tick spray...it looks even better now... my advice? IGNORE THE PLANT! I think you are killing it with kindness, they like the same conditions as azaleas and camelias and god knows I ignore mine... Good luck y'all! By the way, when I bought it it had no tag, but the guy in the walmart garden center told me it was a dwarf variety, now if someone can tell me if persimmons are easy to grow from cuttings.....
· Posted by: erik ) on Sat, Nov 3, 01 at 23:52
I have two gardenias, one is low to the ground about a foot high and 2 feet wide, the other is taller ( a different variety, what I don't know - I always throw those tags away) about 3 ffet high, 2 feet wide. The little bugger is great, but the big guy is getting real skinny, leaves are turning yellow, yellow leaves are sprouting with green veins- what's going on? Well I thought it was a lack of water (I'm not a smart man) and flooded the sucker every night this summer - well I guess I was wrong. I came on this site looking for insite on how to fix it, and I just went outside and dumped the old coffee grinds from this morning around it...hope it works - guess I'll try some miracid too. The little guy is great though, and as I was dropping the grinds looked at him and he had a bloom - so I picked it, inhaled it, absolutely shook with delight from the smell, put it in a cup with water and put it next to my sleeping wife, so she could have sweet dreams. There is nothing like the smell of a gardenia - it is what heaven will smell like.
· Posted by: ismailju ) on Sat, Nov 10, 01 at 6:03
I've been lurking here for a while since I need more plant advice than I have to offer. You guys have helped me to grow and propogate my hisbiscus with great results -- thanks! With regards to the gardenia, all I can say is yikes! I had no idea what I was getting into when I too was lured by the scent of the gardenia at the nursery the other day. We always had gardenias around when I was growing up in southern Louisiana and didn't do anything special for them. It sounds like they like heat and humidity though and they would have gotten plently of both in Louisiana. I have no idea what zone I am in. I am currently living on the Arabian Peninsula in the UAE. My gardenia is in a pot, in ordinary run of the mill potting soil in a northeast facing so it gets full morning sun and then shade the rest of the day (hibiscus also here). It is fairly humid here most of the year so that should be okay. I guess I'll have to see what is TOO hot for it -- it can get up to 120F + here in the summer months!!! It's only been 2 days since I brought the gardenia home and it has 3 buds on it. I'll have to check in later on to let you know if it has followed in the way of it's suicidal brethren. Good luck to all of us!!! Jennifer
· Posted by: dplantlady 6A ) on Sun, Nov 18, 01 at 11:09
What a funny group of postings! The one from Melba 7 had a good tip, as did one a few farther back. Temperature is supposed to be important in getting them to set buds (and hold onto them), as is humidity. Misting every morning, so leaves aren't wet at night, and keeping them on a humidity tray (plant sets ABOVE the water on pebbles or marbles) helps with that aspect; the temperature thing is actually the CHANGE in temperature -- down to about 50-55 at night! and up to whatever during the day is what triggers bud formation. At least it's worked for me. Good luck all.
· Posted by: VioletsAreBlue Italy (My Page) on Fri, Nov 23, 01 at 16:24
What have you started here, Joan? I'd have to say, this is my favorite forum by far. I was laughing so hard my hubby got so curious, then I got him laughing by reading him Robert's "experience" with his Gardenias, and you also Joan. I had the same wonderment what I was doing wrong with the Gardenias that have died in my hands, because when I was about 10years old, we had this 6feet by 6feet Gardenia Shrub and it was the greenest and bloomed it seemed year round, mind you this was in the Phillipines where I grew up. And the fragrance was Heaven! And I can tell you nothing special was done to this shrub for I was the one in charge of watering the plants in the yard. Soooo, years later, in U.S., I thought okay Gardenia, should be easy enough since I grew up with one that was bigger than I was and with no problems. Well, I don't think I need to tell my horror stories with it for you've all told it. And now I presently live in Italy(by Lake Garda) and I regularly go to this big, beautiful Garden Nursery, a bit on the expensive side but you get what you pay for, so to speak. After my rounds of picking the plants I want, I do a last stop at the discount table, and guess what? I found a 1foot by 1foot, potted somewhat sickly Gardenia on sale! I contemplated at first but at the price of $5.00, mumbled "oh, what the hell". The workers actually thought I was on crack for placing this sickly Gardenia in my cart. But I thought okay, since healthy Gardenias die faster than a speeding bullet in my hands, maybe reverse psychology, so to speak? I planted this half-dying Gardenia into my cement hard clay soil in full sun right on my walkway. Mind you, it's very hot here in the summer, low 90's and very humid. It's so hot here that I actually water twice a day! Once in the morning and once in the evening. Lo and behold, that little sucker actually started getting greener! So next step was to make it bloom (chuckle). Well, after waiting for a couple of months it started getting yellow leaves but still healthy looking. So after reading up on it from my garden books, I stopped feeding it Miracle-Gro and instead started giving it Miracid. I even gave it some "Bloom Booster" from Miracle-Gro since that's all I fertilize with. By the way, I swear by Miracle-Gro, it really does miracle things to plants, even Gardenias! Been using it for at least 17years. And the leaves started turning green again. And to my surprise, it started budding. And after anticipating about the buds just falling off just before opening, they'd actually all opened, all 7 of them!!! And now, it's November right after Turkey day and that Gardenia is the greenest thing out there in my garden. So you see, Miracles do happen! I'll let you all know how it survives the winter here, although it is mild. Now, Camellias, that's the same horror story for me here. VioletsAreBlue