I have two huge gardenia plants that need your help. I had them outside all summer and they were beautiful, with several dozen blossoms. I sprayed them with water before I brought them inside for the winter. I brought them in, then noticed sticky leaves on one and scale insects on the other. I sprayed them several times with Insecticidal soap, and after I depleted my supply, I used a mild detergent solution to spray them with. I went into the hospital shortly afterward for some surgery, and when I returned, I needed to rake my carpet from all the fallen leaves under them. I moved the plants into the bathtub and sprayed them well with water and soapy solution. I have sent you some leaves to look at. What more can I do?
You do have some scale insects on the leaves, but I think the main damage is from chemical burn. Even though your soapy solution is organic, you have overdone it. Try pruning the plants back lightly, and allow clear water to run through the soil and leach out any soapy solution. Then lightly fertilize with a houseplant fertilizer. As the plants begin to recover, you may want to move them to a carport or garage area and spray with a refined horticultural oil. Be sure to read the label before using. Some brands recommend only one application per year on gardenias, so be sure to follow any and all label directions.
We have a gardenia on the south side that had bad damage in the winter. Could we dig it up now , put it in a large planter to bring inside as a house plant. It has recovered to some extent, but outside is not practical for this part of the state.
You could containerize it, and if you plan to do so, I would do it soon, to allow some recovery time before you bring it indoors. Another option, would be to store the container and plant in a garage or other covered, protected area as winter sets in. Whichever option, after you pot the plant, be sure to water regularly, and don't be surprised to see some yellowing and leaf droppage after the shock of transplant period.
I have rooted a gardenia and do not know where to plant it. Does it grow best on the south, north, east, or west side of my home? Also, does it like an acid soil?
Gardenias often suffer damage in hard winters, especially if there is a great deal of fluctuation from warm to cold. Planting it in a more protected spot on the east or north side of your home is best. They need some sunlight to set flower buds, so don’t plant it in total shade. It prefers an acidic environment, with good organic matter and good drainage.
I have five gardenia bushes which have not bloomed for the past two years. They do take a beating from the frost, but I try to keep them protected as much as possible.
Gardenias set their flower buds in the fall, for summer bloom. If they get frozen back, they won’t bloom, because the flower buds will be killed. Last year, most gardenias failed to bloom because of cold weather. This year, they are doing well in most parts of the state. Remember, though, that gardenias are really a zone 8 (southern Arkansas) plant, and don’t tolerate temperatures below 15 degrees well.
I have three large gardenia bushes. The leaves are kind of yellow. Please tell me what fertilizer to use, when to put it out, and when is the best time to prune it.
Check the underside of the foliage on your gardenia, and also the stems. Gardenias often are attacked by whiteflies. They should have a black sooty mold on some of the old foliage now, and small oval yellowish eggs on the undersides of the foliage, primarily at the bottom of the plant. This can cause yellowing of the plant. If they are clean, wait until mid April to fertilize. You can use a general 10-20-10 or an azalea food for fertilization. Pruning is limited on gardenias, since they bloom in the summer, yet set flower buds in the fall. As soon, as the main flush of blooms is over--(usually in mid July), do whatever pruning is necessary. You can fertilize after pruning to encourage new growth.
Please tell me what is the matter with the enclosed plants and what I can to take care of them. I have a yard full of plants and they are all in real bad shape. Thanks for your help.
Your gardenia has been hit hard with white flies. The small oval specks on the underside of the foliage is the egg masses. You can still treat them with a dormant or horticultural oil now, but thorough coverage is needed. Resmethrin can help as you get into the season. These plants are frequently attacked by the problems you are experiencing. Monitor the plants regularly. If you can catch a problem at the beginning it is much easier to control. Once established, these insects can be a challenge.
I have a large gardenia plant. Can it be trimmed? When is the best time to do it?
Gardenias are setting flower buds now, for next season’s blooms, so don’t do any pruning now. When pruning gardenias, you have a short window of opportunity--immediately following flowering--which is typically in June or early July. See how they survive this winter, and if we should have a severe winter, they often get pruned back naturally. When this occurs, they lack blooms that season, but can be shaped as needed.
I would like to plant a gardenia bush in the bed in front of my house. When would be the best time to do it and what type of soil, etc. is best for it? I know absolutely nothing about gardening. So I need to know even the most basic steps, and, perhaps, what nurseries specialize in gardenia bushes.
Gardenias are best planted in a well protected spot on the east or north side of the house. They need a well drained acidic soil. Prepare the bed prior to planting, and work in some compost if you can. I would wait and plant the gardenia in the spring, after the bulk of winter is past, since gardenias are not the most winter tolerant plant we have. There are numerous varieties to choose from, and most nurseries, at least in the central to southern parts of the state, will carry them. A newer variety--'Daisy' or 'Kleim's Hardy' is supposed to be able to survive even in north Arkansas. It is a single flowered form. Treat it much like you would an azalea. Water when dry and fertilize once a year after bloom. Gardenias differ from other blooming plants by blooming in the summer, yet setting flower buds in the fall. Once established, you will have a brief window of opportunity to prune these plants.
I have some very old, established gardenias planted on the north side of my house in Roland, Arkansas, that have been plagued with scale and white flies for the past three years. This winter the scale was so bad that every leaf on each plant was covered on the undersides. Then the gardenias were damaged by the freezing rain. I severely pruned the gardenias, cut off every infested branch, and removed all infested leaves, which pretty much left the shrubs with bare branches and no leaves. I did this around the first of February. (If this was a mistake, let me know). Then I sprayed the plants with dormant oil and I'm now watching for new growth. Is there anything else I can do to save the gardenias? Should I fertilize now? Or should I just wait and cross my fingers? I would appreciate any advice.
I bet the growth on the bottom of the plants wasn't scale, but overwintering white flies. Regardless, severe pruning has left you flowerless this season, but they should recover. If new growth is beginning or extremely cold weather is predicted, cover the plants with a card board box or quilt. You have left them pretty exposed for the rest of the winter. Hopefully, you will start the season clean and stay that way. Be sure to remove any old mulch or debris from around the base of the plants. Don’t fertilize until April or May to encourage new growth.
I have some old gardenias in my yard, and I was noticing that instead of bright green leaves, they are almost a dull black. We haven’t had any cold weather to damage them, do you think this is a result of the summer drought and heat? Is there anything I can do to rejuvenate them?
Rub one of the leaves with your fingernail, and chances are good the black covering will rub off. Look at the back side of the foliage, and you will probably see small oval whitish shapes on them. What you have is a heavy infestation of whiteflies. They suck sap out of the foliage, and give off a sticky substance called honeydew. Wherever there is honeydew, you will get a black sooty mold. The insects are overwintering on your plant, on the backside of the foliage. They usually congregate more closely to the base of the tree, but with heavy infestations, they will branch out. Try spraying thoroughly with a dormant oil spray now, (or when temperatures will be above freezing for 24 hours). Then watch the plants this spring and control any insects as you see them.
I need help...when is the proper time of the year to cut back Gardenia's? My parents have a couple of what they call "Old Timey" gardenias, the ones with large blooms, and would like to know when they should be cut back.
Gardenias bloom in the summer, yet set flower buds in the fall. Don't do any pruning now, or you have cut off potential blooms, plus opened the plant up to possible winter damage.
I have a gardenia bush that is about 5 years old and the leaves are turning yellow and falling off. I have checked it for aphids on the back of the leaves and do not see any. I do not wish to see this bush die. I had thought I had kept it water sufficiently during the dry summer. What do I need to do?
Although gardenias are evergreen bushes, they do shed leaves periodically. Sometimes, they will shed all their old leaves at once. This general yellowing often worries people. Look closely at your bush. The plants that I have seen yellowing, have the old leaves--those closest to the main trunk, turning yellow. The tips of the branches have plenty of green leaves and flower buds for next summers growth. In driving around the state, I have also seen some gardenias in full bloom--a most unusual occurrence considering the time of year. If it is yellowing all the way to the tips, let me know, but I bet it is fine.
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