Beloved for their intoxicating fragrance and attractive, waxy, creamy-white flowers contrasting beautifully with their shiny, leathery, dark green leaves, Gardenias are irresistible evergreen shrubs or trees. Native to the tropical and subtropical regions of Africa, southern Asia, Australasia and Oceania, Gardenias may be fussy and quite temperamental in their cultural needs.
If your Gardenia's flower buds fall off just before they open, this may be caused by any of these reasons:
- Low humidity: Gardenias demand high humidity to thrive. Provide extra moisture with daily misting, set the plant on a tray of moist pebbles and/or use a humidifier. Extra humidity is important in keeping down spider mites that thrive under dry conditions.
- Over-watering or under-watering: Gardenias need at least 1 inch of rain (or equivalent watering) each week. Keep the soil consistently damp but not soggy. Don't let the soil dry out and don't over-water your Gardenias
- Poor soil drainage: Make sure your Gardenia soil is moist and well-drained.
- Insufficient light: Although a Gardenia plant prefers full sun, some shade is appreciated during the warmer months of the year or its leaves may scorch and its buds may fall off if they get too much sunlight. In hot climates, Gardenias grow best with morning sun and afternoon shade. In cooler areas, they can tolerate full sun, especially if their roots are covered with organic mulch. Gardenias growing in containers need bright light or filtered shade with no direct sun. Gardenias grown indoors should receive at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight through a sunny window.
- Hot and dry weather, unusually cool weather, quickly fluctuating temperatures: Gardenias perform best in day temperatures of 65-70°F (18-21°C) and night temperatures of 60-65°F (15-18°C). Flower buds will fail to form if the ideal temperature for Gardenias is not respected!
- Excessive fertilization: Fertilize Gardenias every 2-4 weeks during their growing season (March to October) with a dilute fertilizer for acid-loving plants. Do not fertilize from November to February.
- Nutrient deficiencies: Gardenias like soil that is rich in nutrients. Add plenty of organic matter to the soil such as peat moss or manure to enhance the growth of your plant.
To grow your Gardenia with success, make sure you follow these guidelines.