Q. About 6 weeks ago I received a healthy looking gardenia as a gift.
It was full of buds and had a few blossoms. Now it's begun to drop
unopened flower buds. What can I do to help my Gardenia bloom?
Gardenias have a reputation for being finicky houseplants, so don't
be so hard on yourself. Your gift was probably produced in a
greenhouse where it received the right amount of light, was grown at
the proper temperature, and maintained on a careful watering and
fertilization schedule. Some of the bud drop can probably be
attributed just to the move from that greenhouse into your home.
down the Gardenia Heat
Two of the biggest factors influencing gardenia bud drop are heat
and lack of humidity in our homes, especially in the winter. They
prefer cool temperatures -- 62 or 63 degrees -- to set and maintain
flower buds. That is much cooler than most humans find comfortable
in winter months. If temperatures get even a little too high, they
will drop all of their buds. If you have a room where it stays
cooler than the rest of your house while meeting the gardenia's
other requirements, that may be best location for it.
Gardenias also require a high level of humidity or they drop their
flower buds before they open. High humidity can be challenging to
achieve in our homes during the winter when furnaces are running.
Some gardeners report success by moving the plant to a naturally
more humid room such as a bathroom or laundry area. You can stand
the container in a saucer of pebbles that you keep filled with water
to increase humidity. Try not to allow the bottom of the pot to
contact the water in the saucer to avoid problems with root rot.
You may also group plants together. As the plants lose moisture
through their leaves (transpiration), it maintains an area of higher
humidity around the group. As a last resort, mist the leaves every
other day. Too much moisture on the leaves can cause leaf spots, and
moisture will spoil the flowers too quickly once they do bloom.
Best Light for
Gardenias like bright light with the best windows facing southeast
or east (morning light). Intense sunshine from the west (afternoon
sun) or southwest may scorch gardenia leaves and cause flowers to fade faster than
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