Mistakes to Avoid When Growing Gardenias

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Gardenias are flowering plants that generally grow to a height of about 3 to 6 feet. Their dark green leaves are broad and thick, and the strongly scented flowers bloom from mid-spring to mid-summer. Healthy gardenias require lot of sunlight and adequate humidity. Here are some common mistakes that should be avoided while growing gardenias.

Low Humidity

Avoid growing gardenias under dry conditions as they tend to lose their buds before maturing. Keep the soil sufficiently moist all the time. For indoor plants, use a humidifier or a humidity tray to help obtain adequate humidity.

Overwatering and Underwatering

Avoid watering the gardenias excessively or too sparsely. Overwatering causes the foliage to turn yellow and gradually fall off. Underwatering dries up the soil and stunts the growth of the plant. The soil should always remain evenly moist. On the other hand, deep wetting at the base of the plant can cause root decay.

Neutral Soils

Avoid a neutral or alkaline-based soil; instead, give your gardenias a highly acidic soil. Peat-based soil is best, and it can be further enriched with acidic mulch such as pine needles and bark lumps, and oak leaves. If the plants are grown in pots, repot them every spring. Use water-soluble acidic fertilizers every 2 to 3 weeks for healthy flowers.

Winter Pruning

Avoid pruning gardenias during winter as this may kill them. Ideal time for pruning gardenias is early spring and before the start of flowering. Remove the withered flowers and leaves to encourage more blooms. Do not remove all the leaves as it might hamper food production in the plant.

Incorrect Placement of Pots

Avoid direct sunlight. Morning sun followed by cooler shades in the hot afternoon is ideal for the proper growth of gardenias. Outdoor plants need a shaded area, preferably close to the house. If your gardenias are indoors, choose a sun-facing window that helps the plants to receive adequate sunlight.

Avoid planting them next to concrete patios and walkways. Concrete raises the pH levels of the soil, which does not suit the gardenias. Also, avoid planting them in a location where the water drips onto the plants. This may lead to the formation of leaf spots.

Planting in Afternoons

Avoid planting gardenias in a hot afternoon as the leaves may undergo bleaching.  

Overcrowding Gardenias

Avoid the overcrowding of gardenias as this attracts pests such as aphids. Most of the pests prefer moist, warm and humid areas. On infestation, black molds form on the leaves. Therefore, you must adequately space the gardenias while planting them. Use organic insecticides to control pests.

Planting Gardenias Near Pecan Trees

Avoid planting gardenias near pecan trees. Pecan trees drop branches all the time, and the pests are also blown along with these branches. Gardenias can easily become a breeding ground for these types of insects.

Sudden Temperature Drops

Arid climate conditions inhibit the growth of gardenias. The temperature range best suited for these flowers is between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Sudden temperature drops may cause the leaves to fall. Therefore, it is important to keep a check on the changes in the surrounding temperature. While indoors, do not place  gardenias in a sun-facing room.

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