Buds Falling off Gardenias?

What does it mean when the whole flower bud of a gardenia tree falls off as if being cut? It hasn't opened yet and I had just 3. Now I'm left with 2 and would like to know what's the problem before the other 2 fall off unexpectedly.


By lahib

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June 13, 20110 found this helpful

I have learned from experience that Gardenias are very sensitive, kind of like African Violets. They hate being touched or sudden temperature changes. This included, like the African Violet, no water touching buds or blooms...they hate this so much.

They need humidity to grow, and a temperature of less then 70 degrees. They need non alkaline water so if the the water you are using is too alkaline start using distilled water.

Remember never to touch buds or blooms with your hands..they will die or drop off...they don't like the human touch but love words, softly spoken.

These plants are absolutely beautiful, but like all beautiful things, require high maintenance. :)

For more info go to the following page:


Here is a picture of my favorite flower, I love photographing them. They appear every Summer. They leave little seed packages on the vine from the blooms, once the temperature changes, and the plant changes from blooming mode to reproducing mode for next year. These plants once established can become pests, I have them all over, it would be impossible to save them all, I give them away by the dozens, and believe me, they don't require any special kind of water! :)


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June 13, 20110 found this helpful

I just realized you said Gardenia Tree, but I guess I will leave this post on anyway, I was thinking of a potted plant Gardenia. I had one I could not keep alive also, and I wish I had known all of this then! Here are some notes on a Gardenia Tree. They sound similar to the above post, with a few exceptions. :) I believe we had a Gardenia Tree when I was a child, it was so beautiful!



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June 14, 20110 found this helpful

Hi Robyn,
Thanks for your input. I shall try not to touch the buds or the plant, to be honest this is the first time I tried one indoors. I usually have a few plants but all the indoors type. I don't have a balcony or a garden.

You mentioned the use of distilled water. What do you mean by that? I am using tap water poured in containers over night and use it the next day. I don't know if the water is alkaline!
I live in Morocco by the Atlantic ocean so no need to mention there is a lot of humidity here! Everything goes rusty, even inside my apartment, so I guess it's pretty humid even inside.

Lately, I joined a gardening group on Facebook and I was told that as long as the plant is inside it needs to be put near a window where the sunshine shines for at least 5 hours on the plant. I thought this plant didn't need direct sun but I was told that the sun coming from a window inside isn't direct. So I will have to move it to that place just few feet away from that window but the sun now, doesn't reach it for just 2 hours.


My question now, is it ok if I move it inside the apartment? Surely in winter the location of the sun will change so this place is ideal for it. Now will not be so in winter so is it ok to move (although I know it doesn't like moving a lot) as long as the movement is in same place?

Regarding the buds, I still have 2 looking much the same as I bought the plant 12 days ago. The 3rd one which fell down didn't get brown or wilted just dropped off as if cut by a knife! Do you know what could cause this? It seems it had the same problem before because I noticed some other places on the branches where they used to be some buds there and had fallen off.

Another question is I looked for a fertilizer in shops and found only one which is suitable for rhododendron, azaleas and camellias. I read somewhere that this fertilizer is suitable for gardenias too. Is this correct?


As for the flower You posted I know this one we have them a lot here but I don't grow it. I have geraniums and hydrangea. Will try next time to take a pic of my gardenia to post it here but I'm waiting for the buds to bloom. Crossing my fingers! Hopefully!

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June 14, 20110 found this helpful

I forgot to mention that the temp here would reach in summer between 78 - 100F at noon but this is only for a month or 2 not everyday. other than that the temp could be between 70-80F noon as for the nights they are cool ones also humidity is available. Indoors will be a lot cooler than outside obviously.

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June 16, 20110 found this helpful

Hi There,

I love Gardenias too!

I would think it would be ok to move it as long as you know it might react for a couple of days, if the reaction is major, i would not move it too much, put a little panel curtain if there is too much sun or move the curtain if there is not enough. Make sure when you water it that the water does not touch anything but the dirt and that it goes down to the roots.


Water will not become distilled by sitting out. :) It is a process by which water is turned into the steam and then back into water again, so the sitting out process might get some of the chlorine out of the water but it will not distill the water. Distilled water can be bought in most beverage isles in most grocery stores. This is the simplest way to get distilled water.

Feeding Gardenias:
A gardenia plant is beautiful but high maintenance. Gardenias are well known for the beautiful cream hue of the blooms as well as a powerful, intoxicating fragrance.

To maintain the healthy appearance of the blooms and the shine of the dark green leaves, proper care is required. While the gardenia is not a particularly simple plant to grow, the appropriate food makes the task of growing gardenias a bit less daunting.

Food for Gardenias
To produce beautiful, healthy gardenias, the gardener must nourish the plant appropriately. Although the preferred food is dependent on the gardener, acidic plant foods, such as rhododendron azalea food mixes and fish emulsion fertilizers, are commonly favored for these delicate plants.

Acidic Plant Foods
A variety of acidic rhododendron azalea foods are sold commercially. Miracid Acid-Loving Plant Food is a food that feeds plants both through the leaves and the roots. This popular food contains a great deal of iron and other nutrients necessary for the health of gardenia plants. Miracid is available exclusively at official Miracle-Gro nurseries. Inquire with any nursery to learn of the options available to produce healthy gardenia plants with large blooms.

Fish Emulsion Fertilizers
A fish emulsion is created when fish is cooked and pressed to release oils then added to by-products that have been boiled down. Because of its naturally acidic qualities and since nutrients are released immediately after application, many gardeners prefer a fish emulsion to fertilize gardenia plants. Those gardeners who favor organic compounds often choose to use a fish emulsion fertilizer.

Homemade Gardenia Solution
A common difficulty with gardenia maintenance is hard water. Add 1 cup of white distilled vinegar to a gallon of water and feed to the gardenia plant every three weeks. Iron will be released into the soil with the addition of the extra acid from the vinegar.

When to Feed Gardenias
Begin to feed gardenias in mid-March and continue every three weeks. Since feeding makes the sensitive gardenia plant more susceptible to cold winter weather, cease feeding the plant in the fall.

In colder climates, feeding may cease as early as September. If the buds of the flower droop, the plant is signaling that it requires feeding less often.

Other Crucial Elements
Since a gardenia is affected greatly by the type of soil in which it is planted, the suggested soil is acidic. A nursery can suggest a soil with the correct pH. The amount of water absorbed by the plant is also imperative. The soil must remain moist at all times, but never soggy. If the soil dries out or the leaves begin to pale, water immediately. Gardenia plants thrive in full sun, but necessitate some shade throughout the summer in extremely hot climates.

Acidic Soil
Gardenias like acidic, well-draining but moist soil. When you're planting gardenias, mix into the soil plenty of organic matter like compost to enrich the soil. Because gardenias require such acidic or low-pH soil, avoid planting the shrubs close to concrete foundations or walkways, where the soil pH will tend to be more alkaline or high-pH.

Specifically, gardenias prefer soils with a pH of 5.0 to 6.0. If your soil is slightly alkaline or neutral, you can amend the soil with sulfur to lower the pH, based on the results of a soil test.

Also, you should feed your gardenias using an acidifying fertilizer or a plant food that's labeled for "acid-loving" shrubs. Fertilize your gardenia shrubs once every month during spring through summer, while they're actively growing. Don't fertilize your gardenias in autumn, because doing so can promote new growth that will die from cold temperatures in late fall and early winter.

Gardenias love heat. You can plant gardenia shrubs in spring or fall, but choose a planting site that has full sunlight to light shade. Most gardenias will die back during hard frosts and freezes in winter, but many will regenerate in spring. Temperatures colder than 15 degrees Fahrenheit can kill tender growth, however. If you live in a region that has hard freezes in winter, cover the gardenias with a light blanket or otherwise protect them from freezing temperatures and drying winter winds.

Gardenias also like regular watering, particularly after they're finished blooming. Water your gardenias deeply and thoroughly once every week in the absence of rainfall.

Watering regularly will also help your gardenias to survive the cold winter weather. When you're watering, try to deliver the water directly toward the soil to avoid wetting the foliage and flower blossoms.

Keeping the gardenia's leaves and flowers dry will prevent leaf spots and other diseases. Another good practice to preserve soil moisture is to mulch around your gardenias.

Spread a 2- to 4-inch-thick layer of organic mulch on the ground around your gardenias to cover the entire root zone. The mulch will not only help keep the soil moist, but it will also suppress weed growth and regulate the soil temperature around the gardenia's roots.

Gardenias require a certain amount of regular pruning to help keep their shape and maintain their overall health. Prune your gardenias in early spring to shape them and control their size as desired. As the gardenias' flowers begin to fade, remove the spent blossoms to "deadhead" the flowers and promote re-blooming. Then, prune the gardenias after they're finished flowering to remove any straggly, wayward branches or other unsightly growth.

Read more: What Do Gardenias Like? | eHow.com www.ehow.com/info_7996265_do-gardenias-like.html...

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June 16, 20110 found this helpful

Your question about humidity...they love humidity!

Temperatures and Soil Conditions
Daytime temperatures need to be around 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Nighttime temperatures should be no lower than 60 degrees Fahrenheit. It may be best to grow gardenias in containers so they can be brought in at night or during the winter months.

Gardenias like lots of sunlight, although some shade in the warmer summer months is tolerated. If growing a gardenia indoors, make sure it gets plenty of sunlight by placing it near a large south-facing window or in a sun room.

Use an acidic, well drained soil with a 5 to 6 pH. Add peat moss or compost to enrich the soil.

I meant to add this to the last comment but I didn't. Blessings!

Read more: Growing Tips for Gardenias | eHow.com www.ehow.com/way_5164486_growing-tips-gardenias...

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June 16, 20110 found this helpful

Thanks a lot for your input and useful information. As I live in Morocco, I have asked around for acidic soil or types of fertilizers that are good for acid loving plants. It seems there isn't much of those. I found one fertilizer which is good for rhododendrons and azaleas so I'm going to use that. I have a hydrangea and it is also an acid loving plant. Is it ok if I use the food that makes it's soil acidic? I'm ordering one from UK so I can turn the flower into bluish colour by making the soil acidic. I assume this will also benefit the gardenia. Could you please advise regarding this?

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June 17, 20110 found this helpful

This info should be helpful:
According this this article, this is not only a good idea, but a fun one too!
At the end of the article, it says:

Acidic fertilizers such as cottonseed meal, 6-3-1, and fish meal, 6-3-2 and up, and some well-rotted manure can get you started on blue flowers. Good compost combined with bone meal will support more alkaline soils and also encourage bigger, better flowers.



There, in many American backyards, is one of the plant world's enduring magic acts.

It doesn't seem possible that the huge flower panicle of the bigleaf hydrangea can be blue one year and pink the next--a trick any savvy gardener can manage by modifying the soil or changing plant foods.

Other hydrangeas are equally appealing, but a little less tricky when it comes to fertilizers.


Look for either blue or pink flower clusters in bigleaf or French hydrangeas, Hydrangea macrophylla. Color is caused by the soil pH, which determines the availability of aluminum in the soil.

Acid soils produce blue flowers--aluminum being highly available--and alkaline soils, pink ones.

Most other species have white flowers. These include the peegee hydrangea, up to a 25-foot shrub or tree; oakleaf hydrangea, a deciduous shrub with oak-like leaves that turn bronze in autumn; and climbing hydrangea, a deciduous vine.


To say that people "feed" plants is inaccurate, because plants manufacture their own food through photosynthesis.

What plants are fed in fertilizers are the key nutrients that help them do this. Of the 16 essential plant nutrients, oxygen, hydrogen and carbon are freely available from air and water.

Most fertilizers focus on the three elements included in fertilizer labels: nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P) and potassium (K). A fertilizer labeled 16-8-8 contains 16 percent N, 8 percent P and 8 percent K.

Fertilizing Hydrangeas
Hydrangeas do best in rich, moist, well-drained soils. Fertilize hydrangeas lightly with a general-purpose fertilizer such as 10-10-10 several times, from early spring to mid-summer.

For blue flowers on big leaf hydrangeas, when new growth emerges in spring apply aluminum sulfate or sulfur to achieve a soil pH of 5 and 5.5.

Since soluble phosphates precipitate aluminum, to encourage blue flowering also use a fertilizer with little or no phosphorous, such as 13-0-20 and 15-0-15.

To support pink flower production instead, add lime to the soil as needed to maintain a soil pH of 6 or higher.

Inorganic Fertilizers
The main advantage of inorganic or chemical fertilizers is that plant nutrients are soluble and almost instantly available for plants to take up via their roots and use. Their big disadvantage is connected to this same feature.

With so many nutrients so instantly available, it's very easy to apply too much fertilizer and inadvertently "burn" plant roots and vegetation.

People often think that if a small amount of fertilizer is good then a large amount must be better. Plants sometimes pay a high price for this mistake. Slow-release synthetic fertilizers are more expensive, but they release nutrients as plants need them.

Organic Fertilizers
Fertilizers derived from animal or plant nutrient sources are organic fertilizers, and are "slow release" by definition. Nutrients are released through the interaction of soil microbes on organic matter in warm, moist soil.

A wide variety of all-purpose organic fertilizers are available commercially. Or you can mix your own from various bulk items--especially useful once you decide whether you want blue or pink flowers permanently on your bigleaf hydrangeas.

Acidic fertilizers such as cottonseed meal, 6-3-1, and fish meal, 6-3-2 and up, and some well-rotted manure can get you started on blue flowers.

Good compost combined with bone meal will support more alkaline soils and also encourage bigger, better flowers.

:) Robyn
Read more at:

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June 17, 20110 found this helpful

As far as the Gardenia plant, I would think it would be great. The main thing is that you don't over feed any of the plants, since it can burn them go for it with the acidic soil! Sounds great!

I found this to be helpful information at the following site:
Classification of soil pH ranges: The United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service, formerly Soil Conservation Service classifies soil pH ranges as follows: [1]

Denomination pH range
Ultra acid <3.5
Extremely acid 3.5 - 4.4
Very strongly acid 4.5 - 5.0
Strongly acid 5.1 - 5.5
Moderately acid 5.6 -6.0
Slightly acid 6.1 -6.5
Neutral 6.6 - 7.3
Slightly alkaline 7.4 - 7.8
Moderately alkaline 7.9 - 8.4
Strongly alkaline 8.5 -9.0
Very strongly alkaline >9.0


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August 9, 20110 found this helpful

Hi again, I need to ask another question which is about gardenias. Some of the leaves which are sprouting become curled and not smooth like others. I need to know why is it some disease? It looks healthy or is it some deficiency? Here is a photo of those leaves.

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