I have an indoor gardenia that I can't get to bloom. I have read that pruning at the end of the season helps, but I'm not sure how to do it or when. The plant is in good health generally.
I've had it for three years and it's gotten very tall, but it hasn't bloomed since I first got it. It's also getting very leggy. The only other issue I have with it is periodic pest issues. The pests I see usually look like fruit flies and go away with soap pest treatment.
Thank you for your help!
Hardiness Zone: 7a
By FeBe from New York, NY
This might sound off the wall, but it works like you would not believe. I have had a Gardenia plant know for 11 years. The first 9 years it would bloom and it would grow about an inch a year. I would fertilize it and water it faithfully. It had maybe 20 or thirty blooms on it and the blooms would turn and fall off after a couple of days. Then by accident I watered it with Urine. You can not believe what happened in a few days. The plant looked a lot better and started to grow, I mean grow. The Gardenia bush has grown over 1 1/2 feet in about 6 months. When it started to bloom .I had blossoms that where as big as a tennis ball and I counted them. The Gardenia bush produced 130 blossoms over one month. i can hardly wait till it blooms next year. I had taken pictures of the Gardenia in full bloom, but my computer crashed and I lost all my pictures. I will post the pictures in 2011 when it blossoms again. Just for information purposes. Urine is very acidity and Gardenia plants love it a lot. You do not have to buy plant food for the Gardenia. Try it. You will love the results.
I read your comment about adding urine to the gardenia tree. Is it a tree planted outdoors or indoors? I think if it's indoors it will smell at the end of the day! Plus, how is it watered with urine? You're doing it with the fertilizers or just as watering the plant regularly and how often?
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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?
Hardiness Zone: 7b
Judy from Portland, OR
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.
By Ellen Brown ***
Hardiness Zone: 7a
Elaine from Charlottesville, VA
If you can create these conditions consistently throughout the growing season you should start to see some blooms.
About The Author: Ellen Brown is our Green Living and Gardening Expert. Click here to ask Ellen a question! Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner of Sustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses and organizations promote eco-friendly products and services. Contact her on the web at http://www.sustainable-media.com
Thank you, Bonnie Jene (10/22/2005)
Proper temperatures are necessary for a gardenia to bloom. This is the most critical aspect. Flower buds will fail to form if day temperatures are higher than 70 degrees or night temperatures are over 65 degrees or less than 60 degrees. The ideal temperature ranges would be 65 to 70 degrees during the day and 60 to 62 degrees at night.
Gardenias can be pruned as far back as you like, but you should keep a few important details in mind. First, cut plants back when they are dormant (depending upon where you live). This will allow the stems to "heal their wounds" when the plants aren't actively growing. This way you can still enjoy flowers the next year. When pruning, don't cut all the leaves off. Some leaves need to be left so the plant can still produce food for the root system.
The following spring, use an acidic fertilizer with chealeted iron and high nitrogen so the plant can produce healthy leaves and buds. If you only want your plant to become bushier, simply pinch out the tips while the plant is dormant. Pinching will usually promote a heavier bloom the following year.
If you are growing your gardenia as a potted plant indoors, keep it out of direct, hot sun, and allow it to only get bright light.