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Gardenia Won't Bloom

Q: I am trying to get my 2nd gardenia plant to bloom. The first one died. Please help! First, small blossoms form, turn black and drop off. I mist it, and give it lots of light. What am I doing wrong?
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Hardiness Zone: 7b

Judy from Portland, OR

A: Judy,

Gardenias can have problems with blossom drop, especially when grown indoors. Besides too little light and humidity (which doesn't sound like the problem with yours) flower buds can drop from over OR under watering, high temperatures or improper pruning (on outdoor plants). Gardenias also need acidic soil and can benefit from a good azalea fertilizer once per month during the summer. Azalea fertilizer contains sulfur, which helps acidify the soil.

For indoor gardenias, place your plant where it will get plenty of light during spring and fall bloom times. Nighttime temperatures should be about 55°F. Make sure the soil stays lightly moist (not wet) and keep the air around the plant humid.

If your gardenia is kept outdoors, prune it only to keep the shape of the plant and do it immediately after the plant finishes blooming.

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