o So you want to grow a gardenia, huh? (also known as the infamous suicidal gardenia thread)

Every once in a while a thread takes a life of it's own and becomes infamous. This is one of them, preserved for posterity.

Suicidal Gardenia Posted by Joan - CA-10 ) on Tue, Jul 6, 99 at 1:33 Hi y'all, Okay, second time here for this vetchii. Got it 1 1/2 years ago, in 1 gal. pot. It was around 1 1/2-2' tall. Not too long after I got it, transplanted to a 10" (or maybe 12) terra cotta pot. Last year it bloomed--however reluctantly. I had it in shade with very late afternoon sun. This spring it looked awful, and has continued to go downhill: yellow leaves (soil damp, so watered less), yellow leaves with green veins (so used Ironite, a few weeks later sprayed foliage with liquid chealated iron), leaves crispy brown on edges (so drenched to get rid of accumulated salts). The buds are one by one getting crispy on the edges, *just* as they looked like they were thinking about opening. (I've only got one bud left!) New growth looks pale and frail, so put in more sun. Over the past several months I've mulched, given it Miracid, given it Epson salts, watered it with bottled water only, misted it once a day (actually I'm on the coast, so air should have enough moisture). Also tried pruning it a little. Now I've moved it back to where it gets only some morning sun. Still, it sulks and continues to decline. There aren't a lot of leaves yet, and just that one unburned bud. I've tried everything I can think of, including begging on bended knee, scowling at it, doing a voo-doo dance and shaking a chicken over it. Can anyone think anything else I can do? Has anyone else had this crisping of the buds and leaves?

Follow-Up Postings: ∑ Posted by: emily moorefield - 6 ) on Tue, Jul 6, 99 at 17:02 Joan -- I highly recommend the chicken-shaking thing. It works for me every time, even with copy machines. Seriously, I guess in your situation what I would do is remove every dead or damaged leaf and get it out of the full sun (unless your summer has been mostly rainy). What they seem to like is diffuse light, high humidity, and heat. In fact, I guess what I would _really_ do is send the gardenia to New York City! There's plenty of heat and humidity and hazy sun here to make a zillion gardenias happy. I'm not sure what "food' they like, but you might try Peters 20-20-20. All the watering could have washed out the nutrients in your potting soil. I also find that giving them very diluted coffee about once every 2 weeks seems to help. The new foliage _is_ pale and fragile looking, so that may not be a problem. You could also try bringing it indoors, if you have a place with diffuse light that can be kept warm and humid enough. Try to replicate the conditions of Home Depot,where they seem to grow like fiends. Also, if you're not misting the leaves, do that twice a day -- they like that better than frequent waterings. Good luck.

∑ Posted by: Joan - CA-10 ) on Sat, Jul 10, 99 at 18:31 Hi Emily, Hmph. Now why does chicken-shaking work for you and not for me? It's possible the motion I used was more waving than shaking, but still ... It is out of the full sun now, only getting morning sun and diffuse light the rest of the day. Trying to mist twice a day, per your suggestion. Called several airlines re: CA -> NY gardenia rates, but they hung up on me. I believe the Miracid should do for food. Have tried coffee grounds, but not coffee. May as well give that a try, too. Can't pick off all the damaged leaves, else it wouldn't have any. Probably only has around 20 left as it is. :-( No, this isn't your normal frail and pale new growth, this is definitely sickly and stunted frail and pale new growth. It hasn't bitten the dust yet, pretty much status quo. O cursed, o stubborn veitchii! The good news is, I've had two blooms on my Mystery, and several more promising-looking buds! Joan <-- who, with bedside glass of gardenia bloom waving fragrance all night, says yes, it's worth it

∑ Posted by: emily moorefield - 6 ) on Sat, Jul 10, 99 at 22:00 I guess my other suggestion would be to fill in the downtime with growing some oriental lilies -- their fragrance will knock your sox off, and they're a heck of a lot easier than gardenias.

∑ Posted by: Joan - CA-10/Sunset 24 ) on Sun, Jul 11, 99 at 2:38 Hi Emily, Say what? Scent will knock my sox off? This sounds promising. I've never tried lilies. Have bought two kinds, cut--Stargazers and Montana. Don't like their scent (too ... um, how to explain, maybe not sweet enough, or too musky, or something like that), but they are gorgeous. Given that I'm absolutely wild about the scent of gardenias, which would you suggest I try? And thanks for the suggestion. Joan <-- waiting for night blooming "jasmine" and in the meantime, at least has those Mystery gardenias!

∑ Posted by: Marco (verobendavid@sympatico.ca) on Mon, Jul 12, 99 at 17:07 I know how striking the scent of a freshly opened gardenia is: sort of like a coconut/vanilla/suntan lotion mix. I can't give you any advice on how to coax it into blooming, but I can suggest some other killer smells: Night blooming jessamine (not jasmine) has tiny, almost invisible flowers whose scent is delicious Acidanthera: a fall blooming white bulb with the best smell in the universe Spanish broom (Spartium Junctium) is a tall shrub that I've seen in France/Spain that has honey-scented yellow pea flowers. (stunning in bloom as in smell, tolerates abuse galore) Common jasmine (the reputation is well-earned) Evening Scented Stocks: a small annual that looks like a pile of dead twigs in the day but once the sun goes down, opens to reveal countless pink and white flowers that, if the door is open, perfume the entire house Anyways, have fun and bonne chance.

∑ Posted by: Penelope - 6,Ontario, Canada (penelopea@sprint.ca) on Sun, Jul 18, 99 at 1:51 joan - you made my day!! i nearly peed myself laughing at the chicken bit. anyway, its got nothing to do with poultry doncha know?? - you gotta hold your mouth right!! actually, i cannot tell you the number of gardenias i have coddled and cossetted and pampered and prayed over. every year i tell myself that i will NOT buy another gardenia - but every year i walk into White Rose and there they are - heavily budded, the odd bloom wafting a fragrance sent from heaven. and, of course, i am seduced once again. one year i succeeded in getting a gardenia to produce about a dozen blooms - the ladies of the horticultural club who were touring my garden were simply ga ga over it. it was the centre of attention and i was unabashedly proud. i thought i had discovered all the tricks and techniques. ha! t'was a fluke. the plant kakked within weeks. i did it again this year - bought another gardenia - misted and threw acid at it - even coffee grains. the fourteen beautiful buds that came with it never did open and every morning it looked a little less perky, a little more yellow. finally, yesterday, i had a talk with myself. "self", said i, "you have enough trouble with the husband and kid and mutt without taking all this grief from a plant" i tossed it on the compost heap. the gardenia has a fragrance that no perfumer has ever been able to duplicate - which, i suppose, is what MAKES us do handstands for it. but i give up i shall have to content myself with the gardenia my husband sometimes sends me on a special occasion. i take it out of the box, pop it in brandy snifter and put it in the fridge. every time i open the fridge (which is a lot more than i should!!), i inhale the scent of the gardenia. it lasts about a month. and i am one happy woman. but i do wish you luck. listen, have you thought of building a greenhouse on the side of your house and.............. penny

∑ Posted by: CJ Maciejeski - Houston, TX ) on Fri, Jul 23, 99 at 14:10 I'm fifteen, and my great grandmother who lived next to us for years grew a gardenia. She never did any thing for it and it bloomed every year like crazy. Even after she moved out and it doesn't even get watered anymore, it still blooms. I don't know, maybe Houston is a gardenia's paradise. CJM:)

∑ Posted by: ROBERT HUGGINS - 10 ) on Thu, Aug 12, 99 at 14:51 DEAR JOAN, ONLY AN IDIOT WOULD SPEND THAT MUCH TIME AND EFFORT FOR A SIMPLE PLANT!MY FRIENDS RECOMMENDED THAT I TAKE UP GARDENING TO RELAX AND ENJOY NATURE.OVER THE PAST SIX YEARS I BOUGHT EIGHT BEAUTIFUL AND FRAGANT GARDENIAS,MYSTERY,FIRST LOVE AND ETC AND AFTER SIX YEARS THESE SIMPLE PLANTS HAS TAUGHT ME HOW TO RELAX.AFTER SIX YEARS I TAKE FOUR VALUIM AND A HALF A GALLON OF SCOTCH AND STAGGER OUT FOR MY NEXT TRY TO KEEP MY ONE PLANT ALIVE.AFTER 3000 HRS ON THE INTERNET,GARDENING BOOKS AND HELP FROM THREE HUNDRED PROFESSIONAL GROWERS AND FOUR GARDENING CDS.HERE WHAT I HAVE LEARN. THEY LIKE WATER BUT YOU HAVE TO KEEP THE SEMI DRY.THEY LOVED SUN BUT YOU HAVE TO KEEP IN THE SHADE.YOU FEED THEM OFTEN.DISCRIBED AS SOMEWHERE BETWEEN TWO DAYS AND TWO YEARS ONLY ON SUNDAYS WITH A BLUE MOON RISING.THEY LOVED NORTHERN EXPOSURE IF YOU HAVE THEM ON THE SOUTHERN.THEY LOVE ACID AND IRON UNLESS YOU GIVE IT TO THEM.THEY LOVE TO GROW SPIDER MITES,WHICH YOU CANT SEE,AND APHIDS. I HAVE FOUND IF YOU BUY OLDER PLANTS THEY TAKE LONGER TO DIE.MY FRIEND SUGGESTED THAT WHEN ONE OF THE SIMPLE PLANTS WASNT DOING WELL TO MOVE TO THE NORTHERN SUN WHICH A LOT.IT DIED QUICKER.WELL I HAVE TO GO NOW MY FRIENDS IN THE WHITE JACKETS ARE COMING TO PULL ME AWAY FROM MY BELOVED GARDENIA. ITS OKAY I HEAR THEY HAVE A SALE ON GARDENIA IN THE NOVELTY SHOP.

∑ Posted by: Sandy - TX 8B/AHA10 ) on Fri, Aug 13, 99 at 13:20 CJ is right, gardenias grow well in Houston. Must be the heat and humidity. It sure isn't the the alkaline clay soil. Maybe gardenias need more room for their roots that a pot provides. In zone 10, they can certainly be grown in the ground. We have had a couple of severe freezes in past years that wiped out almost all the gardenias in the Houston area, so zones 7 and higher probably have no choice but pot culture, or is that slow murder? Right on! Robert. The only thing you missed was scale. My parents grew them when I was young, but quit after they all froze one winter, as the constant spraying for various infestations was too much trouble. I've never grown them for the same reason. Sandy

∑ Posted by: emily moorefield - 6 ) on Wed, Aug 25, 99 at 20:28 hi Joan -- I have actually another suggestion for you: tuberoses. I'm seeing my first blooms of this extraordinary and SUPER-FRAGRANT plant right now. Maybe it's just the fact that I got any flowers at all, because I've tried and failed with tuberoses 2 years in a row, but these are just incredible. Literally perfuming my entire apt. from 2 stems in the bedroom. And it's a _really_ sweet fragrance, rather like gardenia. Also like gardenia, they need plenty-o-heat and some patience, and only come once a year, but they are a heck of a lot easier to care for. Hope your gardenia is doing well. Mine's putting out lots of new growth, thank goodness. It's been hard keeping it moist enough in this very hot and dry summer, but so far so good.

∑ Posted by: plant lover - 7 ) on Wed, Sep 1, 99 at 22:09 I do recommend cutting the plant down every year - honest! When my gardenia had so many spider mites, aphids, and mealy bugs, I cut it to the nub (it's in a pot and given to me by my well-meaning husband 10 years or so ago) and it grew back healthy. The buds do fall off if you feed while it's trying to bud. I have the brown edge thing and haven't figured it out yet, but haven't fed or barely watered this year as I've been busy. It has shamrocks growing at the base (they flew over and seeded themselves) and seems to be alive and still green. I'm moving to Fla. so it should be real happy in the humidity there. Just don't feed when it starts to get buds. I also leave mine outside until it gets to 35 deg. or so at night to set the buds for the winter. I live in Maryland. It will come in around November. Last year I left one outside all winter (not the greenhouse type, tho) and it bloomed and lived and is still alive. It's leaves are now speckled so I don't know what I did to it!

∑ Posted by: Leona - Ohio ) on Sun, Sep 5, 99 at 15:00 Joan, Earlier this spring I posted here about my g. bushes and got alot of good sugestions...but the one I have found most effective was from my 80 year old neighbor...Just leave it alone and it will grow. I put 3 in this year and did put some ferns around them so that if the ferns look bad then I know to fertilize..my bushes have bloomed off and on all summer. I water only once a week if it doesn't rain. They are in morning shade..afternoon sun. Now I just have to figure out how to over winter them in the ground. Good luck they are my favorite also...Poor Robert...I hope he will be okay ....LOL smiling.

∑ Posted by: Gina - 7 ) on Sun, Sep 12, 99 at 21:52 The one thing I found that my gardenia really disliked was having water left in the bottom of the pot (I have it in the pot it came in, tucked inside a decorative pot). The leaves curled up, turned yellow,and dropped off, and the flower buds fell off. Now I take it out of the decorative pot every other day and water in it the kitchen sink, and leave it to drain for about 1/2 hour. It bloomed great this spring and still looks good. I never fertilize, just water it. It gets morning sun for about 3 hours.

∑ Posted by: Sylvia - TX 8a (My Page) on Sat, Sep 18, 99 at 19:19 I have another alternate suggestion - jasmine sambac "maid of orleans" has a fragrance that is a distant relative of the gardenia. And have you been to the Bath and Body shops at the mall? Their gardenia is pretty darn good LOL!

∑ Posted by: Merli de Guzman - Van, B.C. (deguzmanm@sprint.ca) on Sat, Oct 9, 99 at 1:09 Hi Joan, I have to agree with Penelope, I threw my last gardenia in the compost. I've been tempted at Home Depot on numerous occasion. My husband shakes his head even as I get anywhere close to the gardenias. I'm too busy with my other plants and I don't need the headaches. Good luck and when you've found the right formula...let me know.

∑ Posted by: Renee - CenTex ) on Sat, Oct 9, 99 at 15:41 I hardly spray my gardenia and kinda ignore it... every 2 or so weeks I water with acid plant food and the rest of the time water with regular tap water (when the soil appears dry on top) which it isnt supposed to like but well, I have a healthy plant that bloomed once and is getting ready to yet again. I am a first time gardener and this is a total surprise as I kill tons of plants! I have it in a pot with soil specific for flowers (whatever that means!) But all I can say is good luck! Renee

∑ Posted by: Joan - CA-10/Sunset 24 ) on Sat, Oct 9, 99 at 16:56 Update. First, I think Robert got it right. Gardenias like wet/dry, acidic/alkaline soil. They like sun, but only in shade; and shade, but only in sun. North/southern exposure (if you can't manage that, try east/western). They like to be dry misted, to be fed yet not, and adore the sound of one hand clapping. What I did: nothing. Gave up on feeding, misting, moving it around. Watered with tap water just like all the rest of my plants, and otherwise ignored it. Results: It still sulks, but has grown more foliage, no burned edges (arg! so much for the too-much-salt-in-the-water theory), but no buds either. I'm now convinced that if I pitched it on the compost heap it would be blissfully happy. Adore tuberoses, but alas couldn't find any plants, settled for regular bunches at the local farmers' market. Bought a jasmine sambac (disappointing because they're a nose-right-in-the-flower type, and I'd expected a perfume-from-a-few-feet-away type, still, smell very nice). The Mystery bloomed pretty well. How will it do next year? Hmm, we'll see. Joan <-- beginning to think gardenias are annuals ;-) RE: Suicidal Gardenia

∑ Posted by: Ron - 10 ) on Tue, May 9, 00 at 23:39 I read somewhere that if you have flouride in your water that it can cause some sensitive plants to die starting at the tips and eventually kill the plant. The plant slowly gets worst and worst as the flouride builds in the plant at each watering. To get rid of the flouride you have to let the water sit in an open container for 24 hours for the flouride to dissipate. Ron

∑ Posted by: C Hagey ) on Sun, May 28, 00 at 17:12 I think I have another suggestion that nobody has yet mentioned for your Gardenia and if you went so far as to beg on bended knee, etc, etc (haha) I think you may find this easier :) How about putting a small piece of Rose Quartz in the pot, laying it right on top of the soil? I have found that my plants love stones/minerals and it really does seem to help them grow better. (must be like that Shui stuff right?) Different plants like different stones...for Gardenia...maybe rose quartz...good luck!

∑ Posted by: carol - 10 ) on Sat, Jun 10, 00 at 5:44 Robert- Oh god! That was funny! I laughed so hard I think I woke up the neighbors.

∑ Posted by: Parris - 7 ) on Sun, Jun 11, 00 at 12:39 I see that I'm not the only one with a temermental vedichii. When I got my very first gardenia, it was down in Sunnyvale, CA. I thought the reason it died was the foul air quality. Six plants later, and about twenty internal dialogues with myself about how gardenias are spawned from the Devil...that's why they smell so nice and give you headaches when the blooms decide to wither and die before they even open(Arrgh!:). I am yet again faced with the same problem as you. Although I am finding that certain gardenias seem to do better with a light mixture of miracle grow in their water at every watering....I know it says not to do this, but I'be been putting just a little in my water with the gardenia and it's been doing better, at least the new foliage seems to be perking up. I did the same with my "Never Blooming" Orchid and it is even looking like it wants to bloom....so I figure, might as well try it. (I tried the coffee grounds thing with my potted rose and it didn't work so well, so be cautious) Anyhow, best of luck!

∑ Posted by: jiangming ) on Sun, Jun 11, 00 at 21:40 Hi, I've got 2 gardenias in my small garden in Singapore. It is among the variety of plants that grow well in hot, humid, full sun climate. Mine is blooming lots (3 to 4 flowers) while it is still quite a small plant (about the size of a soccer ball). I guess the environment plays a lot in the growth of plants. My neighbour tried to grow 20 different colored roses. All went to heaven except one. So there. It's either it grows or it doesn't. Help it if you can but I think it's gonna be marginal. Good luck to yours.

∑ Posted by: J. Clayton - 7a ) on Mon, Jun 12, 00 at 13:25 Right, potted Gardinias wont tolerate wet feet. Every so often take them out to a shaded spot and drench the soil allowing all excess water to drain out (no saucer). The air is kept bouyant with a ceiling fan and the leaves are lightly misted daily. Also try fertilizing at half strength when no buds or blooms are present (I use one intended for orchids to inhance blooms), this is also a good time to prune for shape on occation. If you have tried Azalia cuttings in window applications treat them much the same way. If you havent you dont know what you are missing! Outdoor Gardinias treated the same as Azalias (partial sun and mulch) will prosper however they need protection (ie. small conifers) from the wind during winter months as the leaves will die off and drop. I started with a variety called Everbloom but I dubbed it Neverbloom til I finally figured it out. Im currently working on a Kuzu/Gardinia hybrid...just as finicky but it does its own chicken dance.

∑ Posted by: Lori - zone 7 ) on Sun, Jul 30, 00 at 9:58 Poor Robert....but what he says is so true. They are the most high maintenance, finicky plant that there is! I too, have sent many grocery store/home improvement store gardenias to their grave. I finally decided to turn my love of fragrant flowers away from the gardenia, but was seduced by the fragrance of a beautiful August Beauty at one of the local high end nurseries. I live in an apartment so I planted it in a large pot and has done well until recently. I did not use any special potting soil, just a professional grade peat mixture so that it would get proper drainage. I too have the leaves turning yellow, but the veins are green. I may have a white fly problem. I had my gardenia sitting next to some fruit plants and it inherited some mealy bugs but they have been taken care of. My biggest problem is that the leaves on the end of the branches are starting to droop, so to speak, like it is not getting enough water. I water every 2 to 3 days depending on how hot it is. I fertilize with a liquid acidifier. I do not let the pot sit in standing water. I have from time to time fertilized with Orchid and Rose Food. There is plenty of new growth, but no buds. Any suggestions as to why the leaves on the ends of the older branches would be drooping? There are only a few branches doing this, however, from experience of the past, this was the beginning of the end..... Any suggestions would be appreciated. Lori - Raleigh NC

∑ Posted by: Steve - CA-9 ) on Mon, Jul 31, 00 at 1:40 Joan, What part of zone 10 CA. do you live in? I really think that the heat has a lot to do with the success of gardenia. I live in Bakersfield (I know, hell on earth, etc.) but I have to say, the gardenia here do really well. I think the coast can be too cool for them. Steve

∑ Posted by: Terry Hardman - Ace - 9 ) on Mon, Jul 31, 00 at 18:41 Coffee grounds are full of nitrogen. Wake-em them up & give them some for their caffine fit.

∑ Posted by: sandra - 5 (schmitzs@lssc.army.mil) on Thu, Aug 3, 00 at 12:23 The best luck I ever had with Gardenia was in Corpus Christi (very hot and humid weather). I planted the bush in the morning sun, along with five pounds of fresh "Maxwell House" coffee. It bloomed like crazy that year.

∑ Posted by: sheryl - middle north east ) on Thu, Aug 3, 00 at 15:30 I too love gardinias. I bought one in a 12" pot this last spring. The leaves started to turn yellow and the blooms fell off without opening. I transplanted it into a 5 gal. rubbermaid pot and put it outside where it gets full morning sun and shade the rest of the afternoon. It will soon be turning fall here and I know that these plants can't take the cold winters we sometime have. I am afraid when I have to bring it in for the winter it will die. Does anyone have any suggestions how to do this with as little stress on the plant as possible? Or if it is covered with a styrofom covering, could it just be left out.

∑ Posted by: stacy - 7 - Tennessee ) on Thu, Aug 10, 00 at 21:59 I don't understand why so many people have so much trouble with gardenias. Sorry, but I don't do anything to mine except cut them back (and root the cuttings) after the blooms are done. I mulch with compost, that's about it. I might give them water if it's been real dry, but most of the time whatever rain we get is all it gets. We have real high humidity and mild winters and acid (very acid) clay soil. The gardenias I tried growing in pots never did well until I planted them outside. The only time I didn't get a lot of blooms was when I pruned too late in winter. Maybe you should move to Tennessee? :)

∑ Posted by: jenny - 6 ) on Wed, Sep 20, 00 at 20:50 I bought a "White Gem" gardenia last year. It's a dwarf variety with small dark green leaves and small star-like fragrant white flowers. The plant is barely a foot high and very compact. When I got it, I repotted it into a mostly peat mix, watered it well and fed every other week with Miracid. It bloomed profusely but eventually began to lose some leaves. Fortunately, that stopped (probably transplant shock and recovery - plus talking to it). I had it on the balcony floor facing Northeast (and it got about 5-6hrs sun/day in summer). Since it was a zone 8 plant and I live in zone 6, I brought it in for the winter and sat it on a stool next to the patio glass doors. It was near but not under a bright light and got a few hours sun during the winter. The leaves remained healthy and during the winter, I got a couple of welcome blooms. Come this past spring, when it got warm enough, I put it back outside in a similar location and it bloomed again. The one cool thing about this variety is the fact that it is very "azalea-like" in it's woody growth. I've noticed that the leaves that did drop off happened on the inside of the plant. This inturn opened the plant up, allowing more sun and air circulation, and now brand new growth is occuring on the old wood inside! I guess the plant knows best! It figured that it would take care of itself! What an adorable plant this is! And the blooming of it corresponded with my lilac, so I got a double dose of fragrance in June! Since the past few weeks have seen temps down near the lower 50s, I brought it and my zone 10s in... It's since warmed up again and I guess I could put it back outside. This might be a good routine to do since it would slowly acclimitize it to the indoor life that it will experience soon. Only problem is that in winter, it gets very dry in here (down to 18% at times!) and I have to supplement with humidifiers. In summer, it's just the opposite and it can get to 72% humidity in here!

∑ Posted by: joan - ca 10/sunset 24 ) on Thu, Sep 21, 00 at 14:07 hi folks, back again. the vetchii was finally successful in offing itself mid-summer. [insert moment of silence] never have i seen a plant take so long to depart! remember that mystery i got? so lovely, so lush, and blooming! well, it too has declined. i wooed, i courted, i coddled, i ignored.i tell you, simply *nothing* works with this beasts here! joan <-- the gardenia killer

∑ Posted by: Marlene - 9 S.F. ) on Fri, Sep 22, 00 at 0:13 I have also killed my share of gardenias in the past, but this summer, I have decided to try once more. I first purchased a one gallon Vetichi. I placed it mostly in the shade with some sun. It did very well and finally bloom. It smell so nice that we decided to buy a larger plant. We went to Home Depot again to buy a 5 gallon Mystery. They are both doing very well and are budding again. I religiously mist them every morning to keep up the humidity. I water my plant weekly with Peter's 20-20-20 and occasionally fish emulsion.

∑ Posted by: Mary M. - 7 ) on Thu, Oct 5, 00 at 18:25 Joan....Maybe you should try the Gardenias that are low growing, and can be used as a ground cover. We bought 8 and planted them on a bank. They have done GREAT... soil is bad...Georgia clay, but we mulched and they are BEAUTIFUL when in bloom....solid white. Blooms are small about the size of a half dollar, but with all the wonderful Gardenia smell. Ask your Nursery Man about them....I love them !! No trouble like the big plants....we cover them if it is going to get down in the teens, but other than that they are no problem. They ought to do well in Ca. Good luck ....Mary

∑ Posted by: Niki - 7B ) on Fri, Oct 6, 00 at 0:09 Well, Robert and others have made me LOL over and over!! Interesting that I just received a gardenia in trade (I do remember my last experience with "the lovely one" -- it turned yellow and died.) I was so sad. I was thinking that now that I have access to all this info on the GW, that I could find out how to take care of it -- what a silly girl. But -- I have had the little thing about 2 weeks -- came to me in peat. I planted it in some good quality potting soil and thought I should put it with my other houseplant that I mist daily. Good Idea!! Well, it has actually grown a little. When I fertilize, I had just planned on using some of the same stuff I used for my azaleas. From what I read here, I think I will treat it like I do my other houseplants. Inside in winter, outside in spring in the shade. We can get really humid AND dry here. -- Also, as I was reading through all your comments, I went directly to the rock collection and put a nice piece of rose quartz on top of the soil. I also use crystals on some plants -- not that I know what i'm doing or anything, but there's just something about it!!!! I have a nice pece of crystal outside in a marigold container and they have grown larger and more blooms that the other two containers with no crystal. HMMMMMM. Maybe we should make an adaptation in our rituals --(from chicken to rocks!!!. GLA and GL Me in this gardenia Life quest. Niki

∑ Posted by: Jason ) on Thu, Oct 26, 00 at 1:02 I live in Perth Western Australia and my five Gardenias are all in full sun in a raised bed with a lot of horse manure in it. When I transplanted them from their pots I tried to not disturb their fragile roots and then did all of the good things like Iron Sulphate/Chelate, Magnesium and foods with nitrogen and vitamin B. Vinegar water and coffee work too. I then covered the whole lot in a very thick layer of mulch (Eucalyptus). The result was astounding, the growth started two weeks after the transplanting and hasn't stopped. They are all easily head height now and blooming beautifully. My advice is to keep the food up, water early mornings every two to three days with a well drained soil and mist the leaves if where you live isn't very humid.

∑ Posted by: HG - 9 ) on Fri, Nov 10, 00 at 22:07 Sheesh ! You guys don't give much hope to me. I killed 2 last year. Butthis year I was thinking of outsmarting the evil plant.....I bought 12 of them and planted them in different places. 3 are in containers (one in shade, one in the sun and one in part sun part shade). Three are planted in clay soil (one in sun, one in shade, one in part shade part sun). Three more are planted in fast draining soil where my impatiens, clematis, roses and petunias are really thriving....and as usual one is in shade, one in the sun and one in part shade part sun. Three more are in a raised bed....one in shade, one in part sun part shade, one in shade. To confuse the plant further, I also bought two tree gardenias....am growing them in containers - and guess where ? Yep, one in part shade and one in the sun...although they have the saucer which is always full of water...and I must remember to remove it tomorrow, having read this thread... Do y'all think I'll be able to cheat at least *one* of the plant and learn the secret of of survival ???

∑ Posted by: Raymond Day - 9, BR, LA ) on Sat, Nov 11, 00 at 21:48 Gardenias are no big deal to grow down here in South Louisiana. They grow everywhere and their fragrance is wonderful in May-June. New plants can be rooted readily by putting cuttings in water and waiting for the roots to form. The climate here is hot and humid, with lots of rain (normally, not this year). The soil here is naturally acidic and apparently well suited to gardenias. A good mulch of pine needles or oak leaves or other acidic mulch makes them happy. Must be the climate.

∑ Posted by: maya mostafa - T6J2T7 ) on Sun, Jan 28, 01 at 2:04 I have brought a gardinia and i put it indoors and i was wandering if it would bloom along the year or only in one season?. And the second question does it need a humid atmosphere, if it does the area which i leave it has no humid so should i spray it with water from time to time? And the third question is when is it a suitable time and weather to switch it with a larger pot or a container.? And the fourth question what is the best vitamins or fertiles fo gardinia? And the fifth question is that i heared when we put it in one place in the house it gets pissed if we moved it to another place, so is that right? Thanks alot!

∑ Posted by: joan - ca 10/sunset 24 ) on Sun, Jan 28, 01 at 17:45 hi maya, given my horrid [non-existant] success rate with the evil plants, i feel like i'm the last person to give gardenia advice, but here goes... 1. generally speaking, they bloom twice a year 2. humidity - yes, yes, and yes! mist it daily 3. if yours has any buds on it, don't risk repotting it and angering the gardenia gods. if it doesn't have buds, go ahead 4. it loves acidity, so use miracid, or azalea food. feed it more when in bud, until blooming season is over. many people have success giving them diluted coffee, or coffee grounds 5. i haven't tried them indoors, but would guess a sunny window [but not in summer, else it'll fry], and not near a heater or it'll complain about the lack of humidity joan <-- i'm with penelope, giving up on gardenias - maybe the tuberose will bloom this year!

∑ Posted by: Kathy - 5a/b (gruspier@sympatico.ca) on Mon, Jan 29, 01 at 10:23 What a great thread! I am going upstairs now to mix miracid in a cup of coffee, and dump it on the 2 sticks of gardenia I have left (a slow death over 2 years), one has dried up brown leaves, and the other pale yellow leaves). Can't put it on the compost heap - there are 4 feet of snow here!

∑ Posted by: Cam - 5 ) on Tue, Jan 30, 01 at 5:28 Robert, thanks I needed that. Laughed so loud I woke up hubby! I've never tried Gardenia, and now never will! Cam

∑ Posted by: Leslie - 6/RI ) on Tue, Jan 30, 01 at 7:59 Joan & Everyone, Gardenias come and go. But there are the makings of a great comedy act here. Some of the funniest comments I've read. I do love Jasminum sambac, Arabian jasmine. There are different varieties. I have a 'Grand Duke of Tuscany' (I think) and it's quite fragrant. Maybe the fragrance varies between different varieties, and indeed, between individual plants. I notice a hint of unpleasantness in lilies too. I have 'Casa Blanca' outside my windows, and I love the scent, but when they start to fade or even if I get too close, they smell like packaged Bologna to me. (Wisteria too!) The Arabian jasmine doesn't have that undertone. Leslie

∑ Posted by: Pebble - 6 ) on Sun, Feb 4, 01 at 23:53 Egads!!!!!! I just bought a gardenia with about 50 buds on it, and now I'm simply petrified to even look at it askew. and I am soooooo comfused. someone said not to feed it while in bloom, someone said feed it. which is it?? and I was going to transplant the bloody thing but I've changed my mind. I was pretty excited about it now I'm pissed at it cause it's gonna give me grief, I'm going to tear my heair out and finally the men in white jackets are going to come get me like what's his mane about 10 postings up, we're all going to end up in a loony bin for gardenia killers. Well, so - should I feed it now or just ignore it (that'll show it.. do onto it before it does unto me!) happy gardening all pebble

∑ Posted by: BVelvet5 8 ) on Tue, Apr 17, 01 at 13:21 Ya'll are a riot...I agree there is a great comic routine coming to life here.....I too am a proud, confussed, bewildered, saddened, owner of a Gardenia Jasminoides "Veitchii". I came to this site for help..rofl instead I find that misery loves company... Well, after reading all the postings I have decided...that one of my gardenia plants is going into the soil, going to cut back to nothing plant on the same side of the house as my grandmother planted hers and tell it to grow or die....the other I am leaving well enough alone. It seems to be doing well...can't figure the difference in the two plants they are both planted in the same size pot, same potting mix..feed with miracid..mulched..and treated identically. One is thriving and one is going through the same metamorphasis as everyone elses. I live in the same town as my grandmother, remember her plant and it's beautiful white flowers that smelled like heaven and don't ever remember seeing her out hoovering over it like I have hoovered over these two begging for those fragrant blooms. They are full of buds and have been for two weeks now. Have any opened......no, will any open? That is the 64,000.00 question. So thank ya'll for the laughs and the reinstalled determination to make these things grow.

∑ Posted by: Jim ) on Mon, May 7, 01 at 20:29 UH OH!!! My wife loves gardenias, and being the thoughtful husband that I am, I went out and got her a Veitchii for Mother's Day (which I'm planning to give her this Sunday). So...I started looking for some advice on caring for it, and came across this thread. Now, I'm printing this out, and am going to write SORRY across the top in big red block letters. After I give her the gardenia and see the joy in her eyes, I'm then going to hand her the printout and run! I'll let you know how it turns out!

∑ Posted by: Lee Anna z8 ) on Wed, May 9, 01 at 14:05 Has anyone tried the "hardy" gardenias? I got my mom one for mother's day after watching her play nursemaid to a dying gardenia for a year. Chuck Hayes is listed as hardy to zone 7 and has the same double blooms and scent. Kleim's Hardy is supposed to be hardy to zone 6. It's got single flowers so it's not as pretty, but the foliage and the scent are the same. The single flower varieties are supposedly much hardier. We'll see. So far, it's been on my deck for two weeks and get this - it hasn't died!! I'm sold. I'll let y'all know how it does.

∑ Posted by: Tracie z7 OKC OK (My Page) on Fri, May 11, 01 at 11:37 This is TOO funny! I'm glad I'm not the only one going to the crazy house for Gardenia Killers! See you there ;+) Tracie Gardenia blooming: Frustrations and joys

∑ Posted by: changsong 7 VA ) on Sun, May 13, 01 at 9:20 It seems after 6 months, our gardenia has decided not to become the plant I hate. It finally blooms, only one flower at this moment, but the fragrance fills our kitchen. And about 30 or 40 more buds are waiting to open. Our gardenia has always been healthy and happy since she came in our home at the end of last year. I am so grateful that finally she decides to make me a happy one.

∑ Posted by: Dacia Adams ) on Fri, May 18, 01 at 16:39 Now I know why I keep buying Gardenias. I 've finally found a group where I feel I really belong. Please count me in when you decide to create your comedy. Screenplays are not nearly as mysterious as this sulky little plant. My latest acquistion seems to be doing well, and why not? My grandmother had a fabulous, fragrant Gardinia Bush, five feet high and nearly as wide, that she moved around with her throughout the South, from Arkansas, to North Carolina, and finally Georgia. Maybe it was the weather, maybe it was her green thumb, maybe it was all the acid feedings she claimed it loved, but it lived nearly as long as she did. Thanks to all you witty people for some good ideas on what I am probably doing wrong. I plan to reform, hopefully in this latest plant's lifetime. Meantime, I have some ideas now that Hollywood should love. Serial Gardenia Killer Here is a link that might be useful:

∑ Posted by: Jeff (7) South Carolina ) on Thu, Jun 7, 01 at 0:54 I don't get it. What's the problem with growing gardenias? When I was a little boy, we lived in a house near the coast (Zone 8), and had a BIG Gardenia bush in the front yard that my dad had pruned into a ball about 6 feet high and 8 feet across... and it was ALWAYS full of blooms... sat in standing water 6 inches deep when it rained sometimes (our neighborhood was almost on a swamp), and was in FULL SUN. Well, now I'm in Zone 7a, and I have a gardenia a housekeeper gave me from a cutting several years ago... it grew well and bloomed OK for years, before I started fertilizing and watering, and now... WHEW! After fertilizing and watering for the past three years, and now FINALLY using a Miracid store-brand equivalent, it's greener and full of more blooms than ever! Just started blooming this week... maybe 8 or 10 open... at least 100 more on the way! It's great! I just don't see the problem. I guess I've been lucky. BTW, I've seen freezing rain COAT the leaves of this plant in the winter and not faze it... it DOES get yellow leaves about now (has as many as buds), but I think that's just the changing of the guard. I'm guessing they really don't like POTS... If you're in Zone 7, or warmer, put them outdoors where there is some shelter, water, fertilize with acid... and watch for the blooms! Best of luck, Jeff

∑ Posted by: angel Pacific North West ) on Fri, Jun 15, 01 at 22:17 They are the plant from hell. Satan himself invented this damned plant and laughs uproariously at all of us pitifull little idiots trying to make such a hatefull and obnoxious plant happy. They immediately die when I get within six feet of them, I have actually heard them scream when I reach to pick it up. They even have an annoying scream. If I bring them home, the buds dont just fall off, they detonate and fly off and stick to the wall. The leaves don't just dry up and turn brown. They send up wisps of smoke and smolder turn black and burn a hole in the floor where they dropped. Please people, do yourself the greatest kindness and resist the horrible gardenia plant. Don't torture yourself. And if you must buy one, give it as a gift to someone you don't like. Together, if we try, we can get them off the market and resume our happy lives.

∑ Posted by: PVick z6 NY (My Page) on Sun, Jun 17, 01 at 17:48 You all are TOO funny! I grew up in the Virgin Islands, and my grandmother had a gardenia in her side yard. I SWEAR I never saw her take any special care of that plant - it was watered, of course, and maybe once in a while she would throw that last rinse water from the cleaned fish at it, but that's all! Maybe it was the heat and humidity, maybe it was the sandy soil, maybe it was the brutal afternoon sun, maybe it was the tradewinds - but what a beautiful plant; the smell of gardenia still reminds me of my Mama. I came upon this thread because I would like to grow a gardenia, in a pot on my terrace, and was looking for some advice. Well!!! My jaws hurt, I've been laughing so hard! I now KNOW that I'll be trying that plant. There's something to be said about being a bit crazed - inures you a bit for the rest of the world's offerings! "Happy" Gardenia Growing! PV

∑ Posted by: TimCT 6, New Haven, CT ) on Thu, Jun 21, 01 at 12:53 PV above suggested I look in this forum on advice for my gardenia woes.... After reading this thread I feel better that I've been able to keep my gardenia alive. :-) Mine is 2 years old and a very green and healthy shrub, the problem being no blooms. I'm going to purchase some miracid and give that a try. If anyone knows the approximate bloom time for my area (Southern New England/NYC metro region) I'd be grateful. Thanks also for the chuckles.. looks like quite a few of us are willing (or not so willing) servants of these beautiful plants.

∑ Posted by: joan 10 ) on Thu, Jun 21, 01 at 14:12 hello again! angel has it precisely right - gardenias ARE the spawn of the deevil. oh, those glossy, lusciously dark green leaves. the stunning contrast of the gorgeous white blooms. er, the blooms that are only to be seen when you *buy* the plant, and of course in movies. and (what we're really after), the seductive, blissful-coma-producing fragrance. ah yes, the gardenia! satin's spawn. i'm telling ya. pitch 'em. i'll have you know this is my second gardenia-free year. ok, so it took an intervention or two, and a year's worth of therapy. it was worth it! i did, though, have to rapidly scroll through all the cruel posts of those who said things like, "what's the problem? they thrive like anything here. blooms galore, and more on the way." i will not buy another gardenia. i will not buy another gardenia. i will not buy another gardenia. i will not buy another gardenia. COME ON FOLKS, SAY IT WITH ME! and jim, i hope your wife is still speaking to you! joan

∑ Posted by: Amy 8 Oregon ) on Wed, Jul 11, 01 at 0:06 Well, I was blissfully ignorant up until now. Satan's spawn, huh? I have three 'Kleim's Hardy' that I bought last summer and let sit out in the pots in the driveway all fall and winter. I figured I must have killed them by the time I was ready to plant them this spring, but no, they were still there so I plopped them into the ground in front of my walkway not being careful of the roots or anything. One time they got drowned in a horrible thundershower and if I don't keep the gutters clean they get drowned from the overflow. Now the crazy things are blooming like mad. I was so encouraged I went out and bought a 'Chuck Hayes' and a species 'fortunei'. Maybe those 'Kleim's Hardy' are just the advance tantilizers to get me suckered into the black hole.

∑ Posted by: Gale ) on Sun, Jul 15, 01 at 10:21 I grew up in Michigan (zone 5) watching an elderly neighbor wheel her (huge) Gardenia in/out of the house each spring/fall. She did almost nothing to it but it got bigger and bigger each year. Her pot was clay, her dirt dug from the backyard. In the summer it sat on a porch, facing south...she did mist it. In winter it sat inside, on a back door landing, mostly in the dark. It bloomed like crazy and smelled like heaven. It was this exposure that first attracted me to the Gardenia. However, my experience has been nothing like hers. Reading the thread on this board a question occurs to me, do you have to be elderly to grow this plant?

∑ Posted by: Preston Rich MD ) on Thu, Jul 26, 01 at 12:07 When I was a boy in zone 7 (Baltimore, MD) my mother grew a huge gardenia plant from year to year in a 50 gal. container. The gardenia plant as I remember was been some 6' tall. I remember the plant having started out as a typical small houseplant. It spent the summers out on the south-facing terrace next to the house and was brought in (with a significant effort by our gardiner assisted by a hand-dolly) in the fall and situated in the corner of a south facing "sun room" (but not directly in front of a window). I remember it being covered w/blooms in some years and bloomless in others. However, I don't ever recall her spending any extraordinary efforts in feeding or fertilizing this plant which lived a good 39 years until she died in 1981. The plant did get a little spindly later on as I don't believe it was ever trimmed or pruned significantly. It suffered through dozens of hurricaines in the 50's and early frosts as well. I don't even think the large tub container was even vented at the bottom. Mother died sitting up in a chair next to the plant in the winter of 1981. We finaly had to get rid of the plant when we sold the house as it was too large for our new home. Since mother died, I don't think my wife nor I have ever had a gardenia plant last more that one or two seasons. -Preston

∑ Posted by: paul ) on Wed, Sep 5, 01 at 18:31 HI! My name is Paul....and I grow Gardenias(sigh),woe,moan remorse. I started 2 cuttings from different areas of the state in a glass of water and have recently transplanted them both to pots (1) clay (1) plastic. should I give up now and just toss them oout or is their a chance. I am about to throw coffe grounds on top of the soil,but I am afraid to set outside on the balcony due to white flies and other critters. Advice please.

∑ Posted by: Marlene 9 SF, CA ) on Thu, Sep 6, 01 at 12:18 Since you just planted your cuttings, I would not move it outside, fertilize, or throw coffee grounds on them yet. They need some time to adjust to their new environment from the glass of water to the pot with soil. I would probably move it out gradually in 4 weeks if all goes well.

∑ Posted by: seapoem 10 CA (My Page) on Tue, Sep 11, 01 at 16:11 Joan, You are in So Cal? Where? If in the LA area, and if you ever want to buy a gardenia again, I have just the place for you, (shh.. it's a wholsale nursery) where you can buy VERY healthy plants and watch them bloom (and for the price, throw them out at the end of the season!!! No coddling, no cooing, no chicken dance and chakra stones to worry about. Just green babies that bloom even in my cool costal semi-shade in Orange County with virtual neglect. By the way, here is my quote that will become world famous someday y'all: "A watched plant never grows."

∑ Posted by: melba 7 ) on Fri, Sep 21, 01 at 21:00 Oh, my goodness! I thought they were the easiest plants to grow! Now that I know everyone hates me, I'll tell you about MY gardenia. 15 years old, in a 10 gallon pot, repotted about every two years in cheap old potting soil from Home Depot. Bought it at the grocery store when it was about 6" high. It's now about 3 feet high, the same across, and had over 50 blooms last May. I had a chat with it the other day, because if it needs a bigger pot I won't be able to move it in and out, and it will have to stay in. Hope it understands the problem. After it blooms, I cut off the old growth and it puts out more leaves, and will bloom again next spring. It gets fish emulsion once a week from February through October, lives in a cool sunporch (70 daytime, 55 nights), and is a very happy camper. I don't fuss with it, although I am very fond of it. Inside, it sits in a big group of plants -- a lemon tree, a calamondin orange, assorted fancy begonias, a brugmannsia, etc., and spends the summer on the patio in dappled light. I once grew one in the ground when I lived in Indonesia (hot, humid, volcanic soil, lots of rain), and it got so big that it blocked the driveway, causing much heartburn to my husband. I think that the individual plant is the secret -- I am not sure why, but many of the plants aren't properly rooted and just don't do well. Perhaps there's something to the age thing -- I'm over sixty. Could it be that gardenias, like the Chinese, respect age and grey hair? Very funny thread, and please, no nasty remarks about my success with G. vietchii. I have killed far more than my share of other plants.

∑ Posted by: leelu 8b/9aSETX (My Page) on Mon, Sep 24, 01 at 1:55 Well, maybe a nice flood would help. I don't recommend them, but one saved my poor gardenia. Several years later I took a branch to the nursery and they saw some tiny bugs inside the buds that were eating the buds from the inside out. Also, the leaves turned yellow. The place is now out of business, but if I can find the product (may be iron something), I will repost for you.

∑ Posted by: Vincent ) on Sat, Oct 13, 01 at 7:57 Hi everyone, I live in Auckland, New Zealand. I can't believe the extraordinary lengths people have gone to to keep their gardenias alive! I am now just starting to appreciate how prized these shrubs are....I have one very large (1.7m by 1.2m) 10yr old shrub that grows in a stone chip covered corner of the house facing the north (sunny side here down under), which receives full sun, and probably good humidity (especially in Auckland). It grew and bloomed at an astonishing pace before I paid any attention to it, now I've pruned it, fertilised it, acidified the soil and it seems to be a bit sad looking. Is there such a thing as acidosis? (too much acid fertiliser). Do brown patches in the centre of yellow leaves mean there are too much salts? I can't get much advice in NZ so any help would be appreciated. It seems ignorance IS bliss. By the way, the most appropriate thing for struggling growers would be to try and replicate the conditions found in its native China, particularly Southern China....ie high humidity, warmth, sun, peaty acidic soil, generally conditions like all other Chinese plants require. For a great historical context, see "The Garden Plants of China", by Peter Valder, 1999 (I hope this isn't seen in any way as "advertising"). Its Chinese name, in Mandarin, "Zhizi" means "wine cup", and has been in cultivation probably since the Han Dynasty (202BC-220AD).

∑ Posted by: Diggerb 5 (My Page) on Wed, Oct 24, 01 at 20:10 I just loved everyone's comments about what seems a plant from hell. I've never been drawn to a gardenia. And I cann't stand their smell. it rates right up there with paperwhite narcs. and lilac trees (the bushes i can deal with) and musk oil (i'm alleergic). Guess I have three plants that i will never grow-

∑ Posted by: Enid NW Florida (My Page) on Mon, Oct 29, 01 at 14:45 Good gods! I have laughed until I had tears streming downmy face, you guys are hilarious! I have one of this devil plants myself and it thrives on neglect. It's planted where it gets full sun from noon onwards, when I first got it I forgot about it on the back of the hopuse till it was nearly dead with something like a dozen leaves left onit, then I planted it in this Florida sand, no fertilizer, no nothing. I guess it figured out early I was not going to coddle it and it decided to spite me by growing and flowering. Since we have been having a drought I started watering in the summer after sundown, now its a very green little thing that looks great, we had some rains a few weeks ago and it flowered again. Saw some mites on it and sprayed it with addams flea and tick spray...it looks even better now... my advice? IGNORE THE PLANT! I think you are killing it with kindness, they like the same conditions as azaleas and camelias and god knows I ignore mine... Good luck y'all! By the way, when I bought it it had no tag, but the guy in the walmart garden center told me it was a dwarf variety, now if someone can tell me if persimmons are easy to grow from cuttings.....

∑ Posted by: erik ) on Sat, Nov 3, 01 at 23:52 I have two gardenias, one is low to the ground about a foot high and 2 feet wide, the other is taller ( a different variety, what I don't know - I always throw those tags away) about 3 ffet high, 2 feet wide. The little bugger is great, but the big guy is getting real skinny, leaves are turning yellow, yellow leaves are sprouting with green veins- what's going on? Well I thought it was a lack of water (I'm not a smart man) and flooded the sucker every night this summer - well I guess I was wrong. I came on this site looking for insite on how to fix it, and I just went outside and dumped the old coffee grinds from this morning around it...hope it works - guess I'll try some miracid too. The little guy is great though, and as I was dropping the grinds looked at him and he had a bloom - so I picked it, inhaled it, absolutely shook with delight from the smell, put it in a cup with water and put it next to my sleeping wife, so she could have sweet dreams. There is nothing like the smell of a gardenia - it is what heaven will smell like.

∑ Posted by: ismailju ) on Sat, Nov 10, 01 at 6:03 I've been lurking here for a while since I need more plant advice than I have to offer. You guys have helped me to grow and propogate my hisbiscus with great results -- thanks! With regards to the gardenia, all I can say is yikes! I had no idea what I was getting into when I too was lured by the scent of the gardenia at the nursery the other day. We always had gardenias around when I was growing up in southern Louisiana and didn't do anything special for them. It sounds like they like heat and humidity though and they would have gotten plently of both in Louisiana. I have no idea what zone I am in. I am currently living on the Arabian Peninsula in the UAE. My gardenia is in a pot, in ordinary run of the mill potting soil in a northeast facing so it gets full morning sun and then shade the rest of the day (hibiscus also here). It is fairly humid here most of the year so that should be okay. I guess I'll have to see what is TOO hot for it -- it can get up to 120F + here in the summer months!!! It's only been 2 days since I brought the gardenia home and it has 3 buds on it. I'll have to check in later on to let you know if it has followed in the way of it's suicidal brethren. Good luck to all of us!!! Jennifer

∑ Posted by: dplantlady 6A ) on Sun, Nov 18, 01 at 11:09 What a funny group of postings! The one from Melba 7 had a good tip, as did one a few farther back. Temperature is supposed to be important in getting them to set buds (and hold onto them), as is humidity. Misting every morning, so leaves aren't wet at night, and keeping them on a humidity tray (plant sets ABOVE the water on pebbles or marbles) helps with that aspect; the temperature thing is actually the CHANGE in temperature -- down to about 50-55 at night! and up to whatever during the day is what triggers bud formation. At least it's worked for me. Good luck all.

∑ Posted by: VioletsAreBlue Italy (My Page) on Fri, Nov 23, 01 at 16:24 What have you started here, Joan? I'd have to say, this is my favorite forum by far. I was laughing so hard my hubby got so curious, then I got him laughing by reading him Robert's "experience" with his Gardenias, and you also Joan. I had the same wonderment what I was doing wrong with the Gardenias that have died in my hands, because when I was about 10years old, we had this 6feet by 6feet Gardenia Shrub and it was the greenest and bloomed it seemed year round, mind you this was in the Phillipines where I grew up. And the fragrance was Heaven! And I can tell you nothing special was done to this shrub for I was the one in charge of watering the plants in the yard. Soooo, years later, in U.S., I thought okay Gardenia, should be easy enough since I grew up with one that was bigger than I was and with no problems. Well, I don't think I need to tell my horror stories with it for you've all told it. And now I presently live in Italy(by Lake Garda) and I regularly go to this big, beautiful Garden Nursery, a bit on the expensive side but you get what you pay for, so to speak. After my rounds of picking the plants I want, I do a last stop at the discount table, and guess what? I found a 1foot by 1foot, potted somewhat sickly Gardenia on sale! I contemplated at first but at the price of $5.00, mumbled "oh, what the hell". The workers actually thought I was on crack for placing this sickly Gardenia in my cart. But I thought okay, since healthy Gardenias die faster than a speeding bullet in my hands, maybe reverse psychology, so to speak? I planted this half-dying Gardenia into my cement hard clay soil in full sun right on my walkway. Mind you, it's very hot here in the summer, low 90's and very humid. It's so hot here that I actually water twice a day! Once in the morning and once in the evening. Lo and behold, that little sucker actually started getting greener! So next step was to make it bloom (chuckle). Well, after waiting for a couple of months it started getting yellow leaves but still healthy looking. So after reading up on it from my garden books, I stopped feeding it Miracle-Gro and instead started giving it Miracid. I even gave it some "Bloom Booster" from Miracle-Gro since that's all I fertilize with. By the way, I swear by Miracle-Gro, it really does miracle things to plants, even Gardenias! Been using it for at least 17years. And the leaves started turning green again. And to my surprise, it started budding. And after anticipating about the buds just falling off just before opening, they'd actually all opened, all 7 of them!!! And now, it's November right after Turkey day and that Gardenia is the greenest thing out there in my garden. So you see, Miracles do happen! I'll let you all know how it survives the winter here, although it is mild. Now, Camellias, that's the same horror story for me here. VioletsAreBlue

∑ Posted by: hnwillis z8 SC (My Page) on Thu, Nov 29, 01 at 15:22 Ya'll gotta be some of the funniest people. After going through the ordeal of many a gardenia suicides, I decided it was time to plant them outside (great humidity and heat-Z8 SC). I hate to say this but two years ago I planted 2 gardenia plants on the northwest side of my house. They have been doing just fine. They are just at 2-3 feet tall. I have pruned them together this past sprng into a low hedge next to my white picket fence. I have planted the trimmings amongst a groundcover of Gerbera Daisies in a 24 inch plastic pot that I also planted a 10 ft crooked willow tree on the southside of my house. I also put some trimmings into small pots with cheap Wal-Mart garden soil. To my surprise, they have taken root and are growing like crazy. I put one particular cutting into a pot by itself to be able to bring in the house. I left it outside all spring and summer (it rained constantly when I first planted them). This one stayed in 5 inches of water/dirt for 2 months. I have brought the sole potted plant into my sunroom and placed it inside a miniture greenhouse. I doesn't seem to be growing like it did outside. I'm really thinking that it likes to be outdoors in humidity, heat and southern exposure. Go figure? So from 1 pruning of two plants I have successfully propagated 10+ little ones. I can't wait until they bloom. Also, the main idea for planting them outside is that my neighbor has a 10 ft tall, 7 ft wide "gardenia bush" that is heavenly when it blooms. I have taken pictures of it because people don't believe me. I know she doesn't do anything special to any of her plants. One thing we do have in common is acidic clay soil which our azaleas and camellias seem to thrive on.

∑ Posted by: bedou z10 Ft. L. Fl (My Page) on Fri, Dec 7, 01 at 1:15 Its 1:09 in the morning. My laughter must have woken my husband up, so I suppose I should put the kettle on! From a nude plot of land in Ft. Lauderdale, I have tried to fill it up with fragrant choices. Yes, Gardenia included. Its yellow leaves tend to give me a good contrast against all those green ones that are flourishing. Alas, they tend to fall off, so I just use them as mulch where they land. Time to find something else! I certainly shall not spend time agonizing over it, from what you have all said. Oh well, I had such high hopes!!! Joanmary

∑ Posted by: fpogoda 5 N NJ (My Page) on Mon, Dec 17, 01 at 12:21 Just wanted to be sure regarding the indoor gardenia temp. issue: is the optimum temperature 70 degrees during the day, then 55 degrees at night? Thanks

∑ Posted by: yugoslava 6 ) on Sat, Dec 29, 01 at 20:56 I have been fairly successful with azaleas and rhododendrons and wonder if it would be possible to keep gardenia dormant over winter and bring it out in spring, plant it among rhodos and leave it until it gets cold. I have admired gardenias from afar for the longest time, but I knew indoor conditions in the winter were not the best, so I have never had one to call my own. Would it be possible to keep gardenia cool over winter as I do with my fig tree and brugmansia? The scent is absolutely intoxicating! One word about people who live in warm or coastal areas. You have no trouble growing tropical plants which we can only see when we take tropical vacations for which we have to pay dearly. I live in Great Lakes Region with short seasons but we all dream of exotic plants growing luxuriantly indoors. Which is why we fret and fuss endlessly.

∑ Posted by: Jenn z9/19 SoCal (My Page) on Tue, Jan 8, 02 at 10:16 This has to be the funniest thread I've ever read at the GardenWeb. I laughed so hard I could hardly talk and had tears in my eyes!! I printed out the whole thread to share with other pour souls who have tried to grow Gardenias according to all the best recommendations, only to watch them wither away. We have a Gardenia growing on a slight slope in alkaline clay soil under a Japanese Black Pine tree. It gets mid-to-late sun. It gets watered whenever we run the lawn sprinklers. It isn't the most prolific plant we grow, but at least it's alive and produces some blooms for us each year. The success is probably due to the fact that my husband is the one who cares for it, and he is not a by-the-book gardener... he just waters whenever he thinks the lawn needs water, feeds it when he remembers (I think the last time was about 2 years ago), etc. LOL!!!

∑ Posted by: Rosalie 5-6 salt lake (My Page) on Wed, Jan 9, 02 at 11:30 this thread is hilarious! and now famous -- a link to it is posted at the garden party forum, so some of us have wandered over to check out your battles -- i believe i will stick with xeric types -- no chicken dances for me -- thanks for the laughs! and good luck to all -- rosalie

∑ Posted by: ccl38 8A Savannah, GA (My Page) on Thu, Jan 17, 02 at 15:59 I too have had trouble with vetchii. Mine was so large and so heavy with blooms I decided to prune it. We couldn't get past it down the walk. Once prunned it went into a decline and it has never been the same. I have another variety that I rooted about three years ago from a large bush growing at the edge of the swamp near where I work. It is mostly in shade, never gets watered and would probably measure 5 feet, and it has those huge saucer size blossoms and smells wonderful. I don't shake a chicken so I guess I must have held my mouth right when I planted it. They are my favorite plant. For me it is a pass along plant. I root them all summer and give them to anyone who comes along and wants one.

∑ Posted by: Joanmary_z10 z10 Ft. L. Fl. (My Page) on Thu, Jan 17, 02 at 19:23 cc 138 you must have 'the magic touch'Well done, and I say that with honest envy. The question is, are you ready, willing and able to produce 75-+ rooted cuttings from a 'proven' specimen with the right karma, one for each of the above postings, to restore our faith in this plant and to bring aid and comfort to all of us who have been brought down by this picky, picky plant? lol!!! Joanmary

∑ Posted by: Lily 5 IL (My Page) on Fri, Jan 18, 02 at 21:16 I got a Gardenia "Veitchii" last January as a gift, loaded with buds. Looking for culture info I found this thread. Aftering reading everyone's experience, I thought I was going to kill it for sure. I held my breath when I was anywhere near it. I misted it daily and then decided not to mist after my hard water left ugly mineral stains on the leaves. More then half of the buds dropped and it refused to bloom indoor! It got a lot of half yellowed leaves before I dragged it outside in late Spring. It thrived outside and bloomed! In the mean time I got hooked on orchids. I started using the leftover orchid water (rain water with 1/4 strenth of fertilizer and a drop of Superthrive/per gallon) to water the gardenia. It's been growing like crazy! Now it's back in the house in front of my south facing window, and in bloom! It's in a 12" plastic pot and about 2 feet tall. Maybe it's the rain water or the superthrive, but there is definitely hope for all gardenia lovers!

∑ Posted by: Jenn z9/19 SoCal (My Page) on Sun, Jan 20, 02 at 13:40 So that's the trick... "water with leftover orchid water". Why don't the gardening books say that?!? LOL!

∑ Posted by: Lali z9, 18, So Cal (My Page) on Mon, Jan 21, 02 at 15:16 I can't believe how long this topic has gone on for. It is sooo hilarious! Anyway, I'm trying my first attempt to grow gardenias. I put them in the backyard (northern exposure) with ferns and azaleas, so I'm hoping they will be ok. Now that I've read this post, I'm really really really skeptical that they will bloom or even live by my hand. Thanks for the laugh! Lali

∑ Posted by: freesias Z9 ) on Tue, Feb 19, 02 at 23:35 Oh My GOD! I just planted THREE 1 gal. 'Veitchii' gardenias in my front yard mixed border. I have a feeling, my are gonna DIE on me. I am definitely not touching these guys! Will water once every couple of weeks. THAT'S IT!!!!

∑ Posted by: susan_CA z9 CA ) on Sun, Feb 24, 02 at 16:05 What a great thread! Gardenia culture is such a thrill of success/agony of defeat experience. Anticipating an unknown failure rate, I bought 6 'Veitchii'! The two planted directly under a tree (where I wanted to sit) and northern foundation exposure died. The two planted in eastern foundation exposure with shade mid-day on bloom copiously all summer. The two planted in western foundation exposure, where light tree shade relieves afternoon heat after 4pm do almost as well. All get composted manure in early spring, pine needle mulch, half-strength chelated minerals whenever leaves begin to pale or MirAcid if I think of it, water from sprinkler system early a.m. (including on leaves) daily in summer in the hot, dry central valley, and have FAST drainage. The two that died were in locations with slower drainage and more shade. The only year I had some bud drop was the year we had a late, wet spring, but they bloomed fine all summer. I have seen specimens in full sun in the central valley; they bloom well, but leaves & blossoms show sunburn damage. So I'm going with the sun/shade, wet/dry, feed/not theory.

∑ Posted by: jxnphx Zn9 AZ (My Page) on Fri, Mar 8, 02 at 0:42 Oh my, oh my! The woman at the nursery said I could have an indoor gardenia in my east-window-garden (morning sun, high level of light the rest of the day), but it sounds like she forgot to tell me I'd need to install a swamp for it, as well. I certainly have plenty of heat for it, here on the low desert. I may be joining the ranks of the guilty gardenia group: I'm not likely to "mist" the miserable thing, nor am I likely to change my habits in on-going care (I am sadly irregular about watering and feeding my only other plant--a low-maintenance Madagascar Palm--dracena). I prepared the soil well enough though (a standard potting soil mixed with half-again as much peat moss), I placed the plant "high" in the middle of the pot, added a layer of peat moss on the top, and covered it all with some additional organic mulch, watered it in with an "acid" feeding, and set it above a large, relatively deep saucer with plenty of water for evaporation. I may have misunderstood the nursery lady's comment about the roots, though, because I removed a great deal of the soil from the root ball and treated the roots with hormone before placing it in the new pot and soil mix. I read in the messages above that this plant may not have liked that messing about with its roots. I believe I'll acquire one of those devices that gives a reading of the humidity, to see just how dry my window garden area really is. We'll see what happens. While I may be capable of sustaining this thing's life for a short while, after reading all of this, I'm not planning on much success with it. I tend to move on to other projects, and I'm afraid the poor thing will have to shift for itself more than it is constitutionally capable. Of course, reading about the success of those who largely ignored their gardenia gives me some hope. That's more my style. At least I have a good excuse for turning the AC down to 70 starting in April. I just don't think the local power usage police are going to understand it when I tell them that my astronomical power draw is necessary for the health of a plant. This is going to be expensive emotionally and monetarily. Who would have thought a trip to the nursery would result in such bondage?

∑ Posted by: Joanmary_z10 z10 Ft. L. Fl. (My Page) on Fri, Mar 8, 02 at 13:16 Oh, what a wonderful laugh this has been! My poor old gardenia is there in Florida, with no one to care for it, depending on the sprinkler system to 'do its thing' and I have no clue what is happening to it. However I have my dark moments when I can see the Christmas lights decorating its bare twigs come December! Taking it that I will be using its twigs as mulch sometime soon, I have bought as a replacement, the African Gardenia. Now I wonder if this is in the same category? Here's to Gardenias who can take neglect!!

∑ Posted by: jxnphx Zn9 AZ (My Page) on Sat, Mar 9, 02 at 15:31 I discussed my newly acquired gardenia issue with my elder sister who, smirking, told me it would probably do me good to have something to worry about. I can only think she was being complimentary about my faultless children and long-ago departed harpy of a wife. She herself has a half-dozen off-spring who provide her with plenty of heart-rending despair. Just in case she was being a smart-ass though, I bought my plant an ultrasonic humidifier which pumps 2.6 gallons of water vapor into the air each day, and I hurried to the used book store and increased my holdings in James Lee Burke (setting: southern Louisiana). I suppose I could have picked up some Faulker, as well, but he's so damned hard to read. I can't stand Tennessee Williams. I am thinking that a few dark and decadent thought-waves might make the gardenia feel a little more at home here in the bright, parched protestant desert southwest. Although it's only been a couple of days, I'm sure it's looking a little better than when I brought it home from the nursery; but just the same, I'm going to keep my eye on a new leaf that is looking a little yellowish. I don't want my dear sister to have the last laugh.

∑ Posted by: BarbC coastal SC (My Page) on Fri, Apr 12, 02 at 15:53 LOL - I have tears rolling down my face and flooding the den. I have 2 unknown variety gardenias that I bought at HD 4 years ago. Since then, I have done ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to them and yet they thrive. They survived the great flood of '99 (were under 6 FEET of nasty swamp/river water and were still green 3 months later when the water finally went away) They were only 1ft tall at the time, so literally had 5ft of nasty black water on top of them. I even had to pick dried toilet paper off them, as the flood had taken the contents of 1000 septic tanks along its path. Those two gardenias and the roses were the only plants to survive that mess. Anyway, once I could finally walk through my yard again (without sinking up to my eyeballs in slimy mud) I dug those suckers up and moved them to my new (dry) house (roses too). They are still there and doing beautifully in full southern afternoon sun. I do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING special to them. I don't even ater then during droughts. Maybe that's the secret? The guy across the street has a couple and he also does ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to his and his are even nicer than mine. Perhaps we are killing these plants with kindness? Maybe what they really want is to just be left alone?

∑ Posted by: svenska CA18/19 (My Page) on Mon, Apr 15, 02 at 22:12 Well, I don't feel so bad about my five year old that when ignored will occasionally give me a wad of blooms -- just often enough to keep me from shovel pruning it. I do understand the sunburn damage from central CA valley. I'm from there, 55yo and have plenty of sunburn damage myself. Remember the days of beside the pool swimming in baby oil and cocoa butter? Say, maybe just a little on the leaves to help hold in the humidity......

∑ Posted by: jxnphx Zn9 AZ (My Page) on Wed, Apr 17, 02 at 2:54 It's blooming! A half dozen buds have developed on the plant, and I had been waiting for them to turn brown and drop off. But, NO! The first one bloomed on the 15th, and the second one on the 16th. I figure I've got about $100 in each one. Because I destroyed the first ultrasonic humidifier with tap water, I invested in a distiller and a back-up humidifier that handles tap water (it has a special filter). I've bought (and read) some more James Burke, and I've resisted the urge to clean out the large tray the plant sits over. It truly looks like nasty swamp water. I now collect my coffee grounds, and I pile them on the soil, beneath the mulch from time-to-time. OK, I admit it, I "mist" the damned thing, too--but only with distilled water. That's the closest we come to "rain water" here on the low desert. All-in-all, I am most pleased with my gardenia. It was among the smallest (and cheapest) at the nursery, but it is beginning to look like a champ.

∑ Posted by: Pawleyslady MW Wisc (My Page) on Wed, Apr 17, 02 at 12:15 It's great to find so many other Gardenia addicts out there! I swore off them for about 10 years and on a recent trip to New Iberia, LA, was seduced in the garden center of a Lowe's. I think I figured one from the South would work better. Then, back home in WI I bought 2 more (one large, one small) in a HD. I'm like an alcoholic off the wagon. So far so good, however. I've had about 10 blooms out of the 3 of them and not a bud or leaf has fallen. I mist them twice a day and have them in windows facing the SE. I also go the reading route with James Lee Burke and Anne Rice. "The Witching Hour" set in the Garden District of New Orleans seems to have been effective. They are probably just setting me up for the inevitable heartbreak but the scent and beauty is worth it while it lasts.

∑ Posted by: Shadows_Angel 9 FL (My Page) on Fri, Apr 19, 02 at 15:52 And I thought it was just me! My sickly gardenia was bought by my mother for my wedding. She used it's beautiful leaves all around our wedding table for decoration. So I felt the need to keep this plant alive considering its sentimental value. The last year and a half of its life has been with myself and my husband and it ACTS LIKE WE ARE IT'S PARENTS. I originally planted it outside of our house. It was doing great. It had about 1/2 a dozen blooms on it. But we soon had to move. I left it in the ground for my friend to water and take care of it until I could move it to our new location. When I returned one month later - it was a dark transylvania-type looking thing. I thought for sure it was doomed to it's life in hell. But I again fell for sentimental value and uprooted it, planted it a big terracotta pot and moved it to the other side of the Florida coast to our new temporary home. I trimmed it almost down to nothing and gave it Peters food and gave it a little water everyday. It lived on our porch where it received very late in the day sun. To my surprise and delight, it came back! I left it in the pot, since I knew we were going to have to move again very soon. Sure enough a few months later we were on the move again...this time to our final destination - thank god. I have kept it in its pot and it has since gone through yellowing and browning and all that typical stuff so we moved it indoors. It did okay but then started to freak out again. It had plenty of leaf buds but never any flowers. So my husband and I repotted it together. While we did, I told it how we loved it and maybe it would do better with the two of us giving it love at the same time. I gave it a kiss. And the very next day...IT WAS GREEN FLOWERING AND 10 MORE NEW ONES ON THE WAY! It bloomed beautiful flowers for the next two days. We couldn't believe it! But we then had to leave for the weekend...I thought for sure it would die without our love. Sure enough, when we returned 2 days later it was dropping its buds, yellowing and looking all sickly again. The moral of the story is that I don't think we kill them with kindness, I think they just need love from two people at the same time at once and a good kiss. OKAY, OKAY, so I'm insane like the rest of ya. But this is what it's come to. My last resort is to put it back into the ground and leave it alone (aside from the occassional kisses from myself and my husband - but only when the neighbors aren't looking.

∑ Posted by: Michele_in_OC 10a/CA Sunset23 (My Page) on Fri, Apr 19, 02 at 17:35 This thread is powered by the Energizer bunny!!! I have only to add my one experience with gardenias convinced me that they are either sentient aliens with a really sick sense of humor or they are allergic to humans. Now I have a neighbor with a row of gardenias out in his front lawn that grow just fine. I know that they get watered when the lawn gets watered and that they don't get fed or anything. He cuts his grass when it gets about 8 inches tall so you can imagine how much time he spends coddling plants in the garden. Go figure!

∑ Posted by: buster808 z11 HI (My Page) on Thu, Apr 25, 02 at 6:48 I LOVE gardenias!!! I have Amy (5yrs old ground bush); First Love ( 1yr old pot bush); and Camelia(?) which I just recently purchased from a plant sale 3 weeks ago in a 6" pot. My Amy is blooming like CRAZYYY! They love the humidity. It's been growing on the west side of my house with morning sunlight. I feed her Osmocote (used for acid loving plants such as azalea,camelia,or gardenia) at least 1 x month or every 2months depending on the amount of time you water. I water only when the soil is very dry or leaves drooping (Do Not water to often or leaves will then turn yellow). When I notice yellowing leaves, I immediately give it a soaking of Greenlight, a liquid soil acidifier. Also, if they are planted in the ground or pot, I'll mix in 1 part soil to 3 part peat moss (helps to acidify the soil). GOOD LUCK, I hope this will help.....

∑ Posted by: jxnphx Zn9 AZ (My Page) on Mon, Apr 29, 02 at 1:10 Wellll.... I had three blooms in rapid succession, and then a fourth about a week later. Now it is thirteen days after the first, and three buds have DROPPED OFF! There is one bud left. At this rate, I've got $50 in each bloom so far, but if I figure in the great waxy green leaves that have come on (say $5 apiece), this whole project has been worth it, even if I never get another bloom. Of course, if that happens, my treatment for depression will have to be figured in, as well. I've slacked off of the direct humidification, and I wonder if that has been my downfall, even though I keep the humidity above 40%. My 60+ year dry skin certainly loves the moisture, but I tend to shrivel up when I go outside in our dry, dry, low desert heat. I recall reading (in this chain of messages) that the buds require chilly nights to "set", on the order of 55 to 60 degrees. I guess the time has come to crank up the AC and run the risk of apprehension by the power-usage police. I'll have to drag out the blanket and pajamas again, though. My window garden warms up into the 90's during the morning, when the sun shines in it, even though the AC keeps the rest of my abode below that while I'm gone. Usually, I keep it in the upper 70's during the summer (already arrived here). I'm not quite sure how I'll actually proceed. I'm wondering if these "everblooming" plants take a respite between batches of blooms, anyway. Maybe I should wait and see. I you have any thoughts on this issue, I'd be pleased to hear (or read) them.

∑ Posted by: amycjes z9 FL (My Page) on Tue, Apr 30, 02 at 0:32 wow, now i feel a little better....can't grow peonies cause it stays too hot; can't grow tropicals like BOP or Royal Poinciana cause it gets too cold....but i DO have a gardenia bush that currently measures appx. 8x10' and all i ever do for it is smell the flowers.........water? fertilizer? it's never heard of them!;) amy

∑ Posted by: roy_a z7 MD (My Page) on Sun, May 5, 02 at 21:49 I think the key to growing a gardenia is lots of heat and humidity. I am in the military and stationed in maryland, but I have a home in New Orleans. My gardenia down there grow almost as fast as the grass and they always look very green and healthy with numerous flowers. However the 1 gardenia plant I have here in maryland, I have to bend over backwards to keep it alive.

∑ Posted by: beth_AL 7 AL (My Page) on Mon, May 6, 02 at 13:08 I am not terribly knowledgeable in the area of flowering plants, but recently, I started seeing this guy that gave me a gardenia bonsai plant loaded with buds, which I thought was just the sweetest thing. So when the leaves and buds started dropping, I felt awful. How could I go and kill this nice gift? Determined to offer reports to this guy about how great the plant is doing and how lovely the blossoms are, I got a replacement and turned to the internet for help. It didn't take me long to stumble on to this troubling saga of the Suicidal Gardenia. While it is comforting to know that you people that actually know something about plants have had trouble with and have sworn off gardenias, it is too late for me. I am now obsessed, and I must get this plant to bloom. My second is now obviously suffering, too. So with two caffeinated, half dead plants in my window (dead chicken dangling over each), I am left to ponder, what kind of cruel test, trap, tease, trick or lesson in humility was this "gift?" I would ask for advice on the plants, but the above suggests that there are no clear answers. I am moving them outside to fend for themselves in the hot, humid Alabama summer. The advice I need is do I cut it off with this guy now or a year and three more dead gardenias from now, while trembling and mumbling absurdities from the confines of a straightjacket?

∑ Posted by: BarbC coastal SC (My Page) on Fri, May 10, 02 at 5:08 I just walked out on the back porch (I am a night owl, and its 4am) and was greeted with the most wonderful heavenly scent... guess what? My poor "neglected" (on purpose) gardenias which sit on either side of the back porch steps have bloomed just since this afternoon. They are LOADED. I was just out there this afternoon grilling hamburgers and noticed nothing in the way of fragrance, much less flowers. Again, I stress: I do absolutely NOTHING to these bushes other than an *occasional* watering (indirectly while watering the lawn) and a handfull of Scotts Turfbuilder when I fertilize the centipede each spring... and this is how they reward me - with a wonderful 4am surprise like this!!! I think some of you are stressing over them too much and making them way more difficult than they really are. They sit in full western exposure afternoon SC sun (its been in the 90's). I have several in pots which also thrive on the same neglect in the same conditions (sun, exposure, etc). I just inspected them and they are also full of buds. My friend has two that I gave her as cuttings last year that are about a foot tall and blooming like mad. She never does a thing other than admire them, either. Do we see a common theme here?

∑ Posted by: byteme36 z9 TX (My Page) on Sat, May 11, 02 at 0:28 OK, here goes... I tried gardenia once. I did everything but water it standing on my head. ( Never tried the chicken thing. )It died. Quickly. I happened upon one a couple of months ago and, being the daredevil that I am, brought it home, stuck it in some questionable soil in an old clay pot and plopped it down on my front porch. It gets watered with the hose every other day with all the other vegetation. It has done BEAUTIFULLY! Now that I have said this, I expect it will wither and die overnight.

∑ Posted by: clawdayo z7b TX (My Page) on Sat, May 18, 02 at 2:47 This thread is huge! My gardenia has been in the front yard without any shade at all for 10 years, has survived three droughts without water for months, an overzealous lawn boy who kept attacking the trunk with a weed eater, and me constantly forgetting to give it any of the miracid I bought for it, and it grew and bloomed fine. Finally last year, when I was going to be out of town for a couple of months, I hammered in a few of those tree spikes for evergreens and returned to the thing blooming its fool head off. This spring a few more spikes, and today it put out its first five blooms and there are plenty of others on the way. Truly, it just sits in the sun doing a Gretta Garbo impersonation. "I Vant to be Alone" So I try to leave it alone. Claude

∑ Posted by: jenny_in_SE_PA Z6 Sunset 32 (My Page) on Sun, May 19, 02 at 17:42 Well... Spike has a 100-message limit on threads and this should be the last post I expect... I was able to hold onto mine for a couple years until the spider mites got to it... I didn't keep the humidity up enough around it during the winter. But at least I know what the problem was... Anyway, this thread has been going for almost 3 years now and hopefully someone will start a new one to keep the good suggestions coming AND give us all a shoulder to cry on!! LOL!!! ****Sue here, I'm going to add the second post string on suicidal gardenias before it drops off the board at the 100 post limit***

* Posted by: tracm 10 CA (My Page) on Sun, Mar 28, 04 at 9:17That was hilarious! I wished I had read it before I went to Lowe's yesterday morning and purchased one. I am keeping my fingers crossed I at least get a couple blooms...I always thought it was just me being a terrible gardener, I never knew so many people had the same issues with those tempermental plants. Glad to know we're all in the same boat.

* Posted by: Calistoga USDA 9 Ca 15 (My Page) on Sun, Mar 28, 04 at 10:10Well I bought another one, this time a 5 gallon for $12 from Costco. To be safe I dug the pot into the ground where I would like it to grow. If it likes it there I will pull up the pot and plant it in the ground. It took me 3 tries to find the right combination for Daphne but now the problem is keeping it within the space. Al

* Posted by: DedoVerde Zone 9 CA (My Page) on Sun, Mar 28, 04 at 12:37The only gardenia I ever killed was 'Candlelight' and I notice you don't see it in nurseries anymore. Oh but what a beauty it was!!!

* Posted by: Temecula z9/19 CA (My Page) on Mon, Mar 29, 04 at 14:30I remember reading that post in Fragrant Plants after killing several gardenias. I've been off them for years having disposed of several until my husband and I sunk three vectchii (sp?) into our camellia bed a few months ago. They're planted on the north side of the house where the soil has been amended for years from each year's Christmas trees. Camellias and ferns love it and if gardenias don't, then so be it. The only water they'll receive is overspray from lawn sprinklers. Fingers crossed as they currently have buds. But, I have to say, the leaves are getting lighter, not fully yellow, but no longer dark green and I can see the dark veins in the leaves. Yikes!

* Posted by: Calistoga USDA 9 Ca 15 (My Page) on Mon, Mar 29, 04 at 14:36 Temecula mine also are showing signs of clorosis and I have given them iron as well as some acid fertilizer and will hope for the best. Al

* Posted by: labrahamian z9 CA (My Page) on Mon, Mar 29, 04 at 18:57 Mine (two Vetchias and one White Gem) respond well to MiraCid. I'm organic virtually everywhere else in my yard, but this blue stuff combined with the bi-monthly applications of chelated iron seem to help them out quite a bit as they've been around for six years now and flower profusely from mid May to late September every year.

Lawrence Montrose, CA Z9/SZ21

* Posted by: DedoVerde Zone 9 CA (My Page) on Mon, Mar 29, 04 at 22:10 I used to have luck alternating Miracid and Bloom. I forget whether I did dilute solutions with each watering or a fertilizing every 2 weeks with either M or B.

* Posted by: tracm 10 CA (My Page) on Thu, Apr 15, 04 at 20:20 Two buds that smell like heaven. Fingers crossed and many prayers that I'll get more as I have spotted 4 other buds. I have had the awful experience of buying a gardenia loaded with buds and maybe got 2 or 3 that actually opened. The others...well...you know the rest the story!

* Posted by: Sachis2112 z10 CA (My Page) on Fri, Apr 16, 04 at 0:19 I have about 6 buds coming but they aren't fully matured so I don't know yet if they'll dry up and drop off just before blooming.... fingers and toes crossed.

* Posted by: Loudmouth z9 Central CA (My Page) on Fri, Apr 16, 04 at 2:22 I bought a small Vetchii Gardenia last year and put it in a bigger pot. It never bloomed last year. It has grown some but not a lot. It formed a bud in about August. That bud has slooooooooowly increased in size, but has yet to open. In the last month this same small plant has formed 17 tiny buds (and they are getting bigger).

* Posted by: RSimon z9CA (My Page) on Fri, Apr 16, 04 at 15:29 Interesting thread, I had no idea they were hard to grow. I bought my house last year and there was this pruned down stick near the garage and it kept growing so I finally let it leaf out so I could tell what it was... A gardenia, it should be blooming soon. I think the previous owners mowed it down because it is growing too close to the garage, but I might just keep it and see how it does...

* Posted by: tracm 10 CA (My Page) on Fri, Apr 16, 04 at 21:49 I think its a California thing with them. I heard that they love living in Texas!!

* Posted by: ezawada z9 CA Livermore (My Page) on Fri, Apr 16, 04 at 23:04 Had 2 blooms so far already this spring on one of the 5 Vetchii that I got. HEAVENLY.......

* Posted by: SoCalOL USDA9b or Sun23 (My Page) on Sat, Apr 17, 04 at 1:14 I have had two Vetchiis in the gallon pots I bought them in for about two or three months.. just haven't gotten around to putting them in the ground. The were chlorotic when I bought them, so I had thrown in some Osmocote and a little ironite before reading this thread.
After reading this thread in its' early stages I was pretty discouraged. So I stopped worrying about them. I threw my left over coffee (no milk) in their pots every now and then.. and they even went limp a couple times from lack of water. Today they are doing very well. They are no longer chlorotic, have some nice lush growth and large buds. I still have to transplant them, but because of my tough love I think I snapped them out of their suicidal tendencies. Or at least that's what I like to pretend it is.

* Posted by: Jenn z9/19 SoCA (My Page) on Sat, Apr 17, 04 at 1:46 LOL! See, just do the opposite of everything you've read -- ignore them, throw coffee on them, and they will come back to life. Give them everything the books say to do, and they will shrivel up and die.

* Posted by: Temecula z9/19 CA (My Page) on Sat, Apr 17, 04 at 9:59 My Vetchii are still sitting there, not growing, but not dying, yet . . . knock on wood. Buds haven't increased in size, but haven't fallen off either. I suppose its better to have little gardenia stumps than weeds . . . sigh.

* Posted by: tracm 10 CA (My Page) on Sun, Apr 18, 04 at 21:21 Found a dead bud on the ground. Funeral tomorrow at noon.

* Posted by: Sachis2112 z10 CA (My Page) on Mon, Apr 19, 04 at 13:34 3 of the 6 buds are growing. Nothing larger than the tip of a finger yet and still immature. But, hey... at least they are still attached!

* Posted by: joyce5 (My Page) on Mon, Apr 19, 04 at 14:28 My mother (with absolutely no green thumb) had a six foot tall gardenia growing in a southern exposure with hot, hot San Fernando Valley sun. The thing gave and gave - virtually covered from head to toe in blooms. No feeding, no attention. Alas,I cannot get one going.

* Posted by: SoCal_Janine z10 CA (My Page) on Tue, Apr 20, 04 at 19:20 My dad had one in a half barrel, also in the very hot SFV area. It was under a covered patio but still had lots of PM sun. He always babied it and fretted over it, but it never looked good, just kind of moped around the way that they do.

Sadly, the gardenia outlived him. He died last April. My mom, who once spent a year watering and "taking care of" a silk ficus (she couldn't tell that it was fake) has zero interest in plants and doesn't do anything but throw water at them if they are lucky. I was over there last weekend and was shocked to see the gardenia thriving and covered in flowers.

Good thing Dad is already dead, because it would kill him to know that all his attention was apparently for nothing! I'm convinced that it did this just for spite.:)-Janine

* Posted by: tracm 10 CA (My Page) on Tue, Apr 20, 04 at 22:14I have one bud left. Glad to report that the plant actually has gotten bigger and I can see the beginings of tiny baby buds forming. I can't figure out these fussy things! If it really starts to die on me I will try the abuse and neglect method. And then if that doesn't work, I might just go buy myself a silk ficus!!!

* Posted by: Desert_Heat z9 AZ (My Page) on Sat, Apr 24, 04 at 1:07 These sound really finicky. My mother had 3 large Gardenia bushes in Sacramento when I was a kid and they were very hearty and bloomed profusely. I bought one in HD today because I missed their fragrant smell. I am putting it in a pot and under a covered entryway. The dirt around here and the brutal sun just don't seem right for a Gardenia. They will get eastern sun in the morning and a little sun filtered through a shade tree from the South. They house will block all western sun. The guy at HD said if it gets any direct sun do not let it get any from the west or it will fry! It is so dry here right now I guess I should mist daily? The pots will probably dry out really fast as well.

* Posted by: spambdamn_rich Sunset 16.5 (My Page) on Sat, Apr 24, 04 at 2:26 All I have to do is think about planting a gardenia, and, somewhere, somehow, a Gardenia dies.

* Posted by: pauma 10 so.cal. (My Page) on Sat, Apr 24, 04 at 8:37 My neighbor loves Gardenias and last spring planted a bunch out in full hot sun.By early summer they were very unhappy,I could have sworn they were cooked. She moved them to a morning-noon sun location and this spring they look fantastic and have lots of big buds.pauma

* Posted by: DAVISSUE_zone9 z9 Sunset 14 (My Page) On Sat, Apr 24, 04 at 10:55 I was wandering thru Home Depot a few weeks ago, and saw one gallon vetchii's for $4.50, and thinking of this thread, couldn't resist. I stuck it in a likely spot, and have made it a practice to never look directly at it or show any evidence of interest.(this technique has kept a daphne odora alive for me for several years) I noticed a lump of white out of the corner of my eye the other day, and with much casual sauntering by, realized it was a flower. Too bad I don't dare come up to it to smell it, but at least I have a blooming gardenia.

* Posted by: Sheryl_Ontario ONT z3/4 (My Page) on Sat, Apr 24, 04 at 19:45 I have two gardenia babies, rooted cuttings I got last year in a trade. They are not doing very well. One is just now growing some new, pale leaves and the other has lost all leaves.

I grew up in Memphis, Tenn where we had two huge ones in the back yard, always full of blooms. I had no idea these were so hard to grow! I'm disappointed!

* Posted by: Jenn z9/19 SoCA (My Page) on Sat, Apr 24, 04 at 23:40 LOL!!! Too funny!!! 8-D

* Posted by: tracm 10 CA (My Page) on Mon, Apr 26, 04 at 9:41 My bud opened yesterday! Its a beauty. Not holding my breath that its on an upward trend.

* Posted by: Mich_in_SC_CA z9 /Sunset z17 (My Page) on Thu, Apr 29, 04 at 19:13 My two potted gardenias are covered with buds. Based on last year's experience, I might get a total of three malformed flowers.

* Posted by: ladyb001 z8WA (My Page) on Fri, Apr 30, 04 at 13:30 This is too funny. I bought my special gardenia in a grocery store, brought it home and the beautiful buds dropped right off!! So 4 years later it buds and blooms for me regularly. I just wanted to move it outside for the summer and came her for advice. Sad thing I saw was when I went to look at a large gardenia at a garage sale and it was dead looking!! She promised it would "come back" but mine at home was still pretty and green. Hmmmmmmm, what was she thinking.

* Posted by: Calistoga USDA 9 Ca 15 (My Page) on Fri, Apr 30, 04 at 15:43 I have applied Iron twice two weeks apart and the new growth looks Ok. The whole plant is covered with buds and none has dried or fallen off, so I think it will be OK. Al

* Posted by: tracm 10 CA (My Page) on Fri, Apr 30, 04 at 18:13 All I know is that my Gardenia is a daily obsession. I don't really fuss with anything else, my other "children" in the garden seem to thrive (except that darn Fuerte avocado tree)!

* Posted by: debrazone9socal z9losangeles (My Page) on Sat, May 1, 04 at 13:44 I've bought and killed many a grdenia. However, months ago my gardener redesigned my front planting beds, and planted two large shrubs. They have survived nicely, and are covered with buds.

I'm not touching them.

* Posted by: jtarrents (My Page) on Mon, May 10, 04 at 21:45 I'm thinking of growing a gardenia....Is it a good idea to deadhead them?

* Posted by: Melle_Sacto Z9/Sunset 14 CA (My Page) on Mon, May 10, 04 at 23:20 I've never heard of deadheading a gardenia but it probably wouldn't hurt!

I bought a Veitchii 1 1/2 years ago from OSH. It was small (about a foot tall wide) and CHEAP! I tucked it into the corner of a planter in the front yard with a northwestern exposure, close to the front door (my mom always grew one by the front door). Yes it gets the late afternoon blast of sun.

Well, I've dug it up twice, once to raise the level of the bed a few inches, once to actually move it. The plant lives on, has doubled in size, and blooms on occasion.

It's really interesting to read people's stories! The gardenia seems to be an enigma, I am very surprised mine is still alive because I don't give it that much extra attention.

* Posted by: debrazone9socal z9losangeles (My Page) on Tue, May 11, 04 at 0:30 Don't move. Don't breathe. It's got two beautiful flowers on it. Don't say anything. Stop posting. Wave a dead chicken, jump up and down and bury three pennies.

There are lots of buds. There are two gardenias. I've ignored them for months.

How did this happen?

* Posted by: Temecula z9/19 CA (My Page) on Tue, May 11, 04 at 8:42 I've got two flowers too! I pass our three gardenia babies (I would NEVER spend good money on such an "iffy" plant!) every time I throw the trash out. Too hard not to stare as I go by, so I have started sending my children with small batches of trash. They love being mommy's helpers and I can avoid my gardenias. This technique seems to be a good one as the buds and leaves remain on the plant and two of them have actually bloomed. My husband reported the blooms to me, I refuse to look at the things! I made my husband pick the flowers and bring them inside so my plants would not know I'm interested. They may think he is though and will probably begin their slow descent in order to torture us. If you're lucky enough to get flowers, I say enjoy them as you may never get them again! These plants owe me BIG for all the gardenias that have died on me in the past!

* Posted by: Jenn z9/19 SoCA (My Page) on Tue, May 11, 04 at 10:03 LOL!!!

* Posted by: tracm 10 CA (My Page) on Wed, May 12, 04 at 1:29 I have a bud that fell off and about 3 or four leaves are yellow. Its been fed a special diet. I have coffee grounds all around it, it has a beautiful shady spot in my "wanna be" cottage garden. I can't believe how ornery it is! It acts like my two teenagers. Maybe I need to start taking away privleges like I do them.

* Posted by: Westelle z9 Fresno CA (My Page) on Thu, May 13, 04 at 1:54 You guys are too funny!

jterrents: It is wise to clean up the spent blooms because there is some disease that is carried on the spent blooms -- sorry, I don't know the name. Most of the blooms on our Gardenias fall off, but the ones that hang on I just pull off, they're not tightly held-on.
(Sometimes when too many hang-on, i pay my Grandaughters a penny a flower to pick them off -- and to give the girls something to do.) :^)

* Posted by: Sachis2112 z10 CA (My Page) on Thu, May 13, 04 at 12:51 Maybe this is one of those things where you're not supposed to look at it. You know... if you look at it out of the corner of an eye, you're OK. But if you look at it straight on, Poof! Spontaneous combustion.

At least then you'd have a burning bush. They're pretty.

* Posted by: Tracy_M 9-Sac/CA area (My Page) on Mon, May 17, 04 at 20:42 After reading the suicidal gardenia story last week and just rolling, I thought about it this weekend when I was in the front yard looking at my neighbor's gardenia shrub in full bloom. She does nothing to it - planted in clay soil with no amendments, abused and ignored and rarely watered. I, on the other hand, am cherishing and babying the one bud I see on my well taken care of, fed, watered and pampered gardenia. It's just not fair, it's just not fair!%$!!*&

* Posted by: Jenn 9 (My Page) on Mon, May 17, 04 at 23:44 Tracy, LOL!!! That story is just like ours and our neighbors' former Gardenia. Ours is big, planted in clay soil beneath a pine tree, never gets fed, is watered when we run the lawn sprinklers, and otherwise ignored. Our neighbor had admired it for years and sometimes plucked a bloom for herself (that's OK, after all it was loaded!). Finally, she and her husband planted one for themselves. After a few years of watching it slowly die from their tender loving care, they replaced it with something completely different. And ours lives on.

Jen .

* Posted by: Tracy_M 9-Sac/CA area (My Page) on Tue, May 18, 04 at 21:15 Well, guess I have to buy a new one and plant it in the all clay-no amendment area of the yard, ignore it and have beeeuuuuutiful blooms. It really is funny to experience this.

* Posted by: tracm 10 CA (My Page) on Tue, May 18, 04 at 22:06 I am going to ignore mine too. I'm not going to feed it and no more coffee grounds, that's it! I was just at my bank the other day. And outside are 5 huge Gardenia bushes, loaded with blooms!!!! Now I am sure these plants get no loving care and they're in Full sun to boot. Go figure.

* Posted by: Jenn 9 (My Page) on Tue, May 18, 04 at 22:13 I was out in the front yard this evening, moving the hose to the next rose along the fence, when suddenly I detected a sweet smell behind me. What's that? I thought. Then, I remembered -- our poor, neglected Gardenia. :-)

It's about 4 feet wide, 3 feet tall, and growing beneath that pine tree where it gets only south-western sun.

Jen

* Posted by: DAVISSUE_zone9 z9 Sunset 14 (My Page) on Wed, May 19, 04 at 0:58 Jen, you sure like to live dangerously. Or did you use a telephoto lens at a discrete distance?

* Posted by: Jenn 9 (My Page) on Wed, May 19, 04 at 10:00 Sue -- LOL! I tried to not look at it very long. But now I'm scared.... I didn't use a telephoto lens, I got up close. Oh no. I'll be sure to give it extra neglect for a while.

* Posted by: Temecula z9/19 CA (My Page) on Wed, May 19, 04 at 20:50 I'm thrilled to be on my third flower and you have sooooo many!!! I'm so jealous! But, you have it under a pine tree, mine gets Christmas tree mulch, you give yours lawn sprinklers only, mine gets lawn sprinklers only, you give yours no amendments or fertilizers, mine as well . . . I sense a pattern here. Ignore, ignore, ignore!!!
.

* Posted by: Sachis2112 z10 CA (My Page) on Thu, May 20, 04 at 13:08 A bud is starting to open! (Doing the happy dance.) You'll all hear about it if it shrivels and dies before comepletely opening.

* Posted by: prunella1 10/FL (My Page) on Sat, May 22, 04 at 11:15 My gardenia here is southern Florida had one or two blooms the first year we lived here (it was an established shrub in partial shade) I read about coffee grounds and started sprinkling them around it...no particularly schedule, but my husband drinks a lot of coffee. Also gave it a couple doses of acid-loving liquid fertilizer. This year it was loaded with beautiful fragarant blooms! I'm a novice gardener and am thrilled the "acid" treatment worked.

* Posted by: Calistoga USDA 9 Ca 15 (My Page) on Sat, May 22, 04 at 13:46 I picked my first Gardenia bloom today with many more ready

* Posted by: Sachis2112 z10 CA (My Page) on Tue, Jun 1, 04 at 20:26 Woo hoo!!! Three blooms open! Many on the way! It sarted Saturday, one daily. I'll have to see if there is a fourth when I get home! But, alas, I am getting over a head-cold and have only been able to smell a little bit.

* Posted by: Sachis2112 z10 CA (My Page) on Wed, Jun 2, 04 at 15:55 Five blooms open as of this morning!

* Posted by: labrahamian z9/ sz21 CA (My Page) on Wed, Jun 2, 04 at 16:09 We currently have no less than 30 blooms open immediately beside our front porch, with many more unopened buds to mature. Its is almost intoxicating to just walk by

But alas, we do not ignore it, but rather tend to its every desire

* Posted by: Temecula z9/19 CA (My Page) on Wed, Jun 2, 04 at 22:41 Al, you dare to look at your gardenia??? You are a dare-devil ") Mine has several more blooms and I dared to cut them myself and bring them inside which, of course, means that I dared look at it too!

* Posted by: rainfaerie USDA 9 N.Calif (My Page) on Thu, Jun 3, 04 at 17:49 I have what's often been mistaken for a shrine to the porch Gardenia. She has been serenaded and offered MirAcid, but She must be displeased, as I have not been favored with a blossom this spring...

* Posted by: dulcie2003 sunset 19 (My Page) on Mon, Jun 7, 04 at 5:54 I bought two gardenia "Mystery" tree's today and smiled all the way home reveling in the delicious fragrance. Tonight I thought I would do an internet search to find out just how to plant them, and what do I find, the "Suicidal Gardenia" thread. I laughed until my sides hurt, but then my heart became heavy (sigh). Do I just pitch them out and save myself the sorrow of a long drawn out death, or do I plant them and go shopping for chickens tomorrow? Do I plant them using the special soil amendments I purchased, or just plop'em in the ground? The flowers look so beautiful in the moonlight, maybe I'll just go spend some time with them while I have them. Decisions, decisions....alas...it's going to be a long night.

* Posted by: Amy_the_Gardener (My Page) on Mon, Jun 7, 04 at 12:23 My Gardenias are just sitting there since I planted them last year. Did not grow, did not die, flowers dried out, leaves turned yellow, little new growth and now, I have two small flowers. I'll just ignore them.

* Posted by: CDGORMAN 10 (My Page) on Mon, Jun 7, 04 at 20:36 Our Gardenia here in So Cal is absolutely loaded with blooms - the branches are drooping there are so many and multiple blooms all over it. We *ignore* this plant completely - it gets full sun the whole afternoon and we don't even feed it! It's right by our front door, and mysteriously last year every plant we had in the little corner just croaked within a couple of weeks - and I'm talking "vinca" died! Anyway, after reading these posts I can see how the illusive Gardenia is such a pain, and undoubtedly our soil must be highly acidic or something... but lucky us, I hope we enjoy our Gardenia for years to come!

* Posted by: Temecula z9/19 CA (My Page) on Mon, Jun 7, 04 at 21:13 Dulce2003, LOL! Enjoy it while you can and who knows, maybe you'll get lucky. It's taken me a few tries to find just the right spot (actually it hasn't been that long, I shouldn't get my confidence up), but now I have several gardenias going strong. I have tons of buds and new flowers opening every few days! If yours don't make it, try again in another spot. I would definitely amend the soil to try to make it acidic, but keep adding pine needles (use your Christmas tree every year or beg, borrow, steal from your neighbors). Good luck ")

* Posted by: tracm 10 CA (My Page) on Tue, Jun 8, 04 at 9:50 I just bought a Vecthii yesterday at Home Depot yesterday. My other "Mystery" is just sitting there doing nothing. Have buds but not one has opened in the last 2 months. I don't know why I put myself through this torture. My new Vetchii is going in a pot and I plan on ignoring it and letting the sprinklers water it. Tough Love is my new motto.

Posted by: Sachis2112 z10 CA (My Page) on Tue, Jun 8, 04 at 14:59 I've been fortunate enough to have one new bloom open every day. It's a tiny plant and it looks sort of silly with all these huge blooms on it. Gotta love it!

* Posted by: rainfaerie USDA 9 N.Calif (My Page) on Thu, Jun 10, 04 at 14:43 Are you guys just posting to make me jealous?! If so, you've succeeded! My gardenia had better realize that tomorrow is yard waste pick-up day.

* Posted by: Vickie704 7 (My Page) on Tue, Jun 22, 04 at 7:51 I live in Virginia (zone 7) and think it may have something to do with the humidity (or lack thereof in California). Here it is extremely humid this time of the year and 7 out of 10 homes have them growing in their yards loaded with blooms. We have two and I never give them any attention at all and they bloom profusely. The problem we can encounter here which affects many plants is a little creature called a vole. He lives underground and gnaws the roots off of many plants. I had one gardenia destroyed that way last year.

* Posted by: Sachis2112 z10 CA (My Page) on Tue, Jun 22, 04 at 14:19 I think you might be surprised just how humid it can get here in SoCal. But I'm certain that you're right. I think it has plenty to do with humidity...

* Posted by: Westelle z9 Fresno CA (My Page) on Tue, Jun 22, 04 at 14:30 That could be why mine do so good. They are in a sort-of-enclosed walled walkway where there would be more humidity captured from the twice daily watering the area gets. The walls would keep it somewhat trapped.

* Posted by: MayFlowers_CA9 z9, CA (My Page) on Thu, Jun 24, 04 at 1:19 I remember the largest, most glossy green glouriously smelling gardenia's growning around my Mame's home in the CV hills growing up - her secret was to dillute urine (left by one the her many wards in the potty chair)and water daily.

* Posted by: kbeard2323 z9 FL (My Page) on Fri, Jul 9, 04 at 10:51 You've got to use the ol' reverse psychology on gardenias to make them grow. I really think overwatering kills them most often. We had one in a bed near the hose on the side of the house where the soil stays pretty damp, even without watering. I pulled it out of the ground when it had 1 leaf left, ripped it into 4 pieces (seperate plants potted as one by HD), stuck them in plastic pots and put them on the other side of the house and have ignored them completely for the last month and a half. Now I've got 4 gardenias with 20 new leaves on them.

I think this is why gardening types have so much trouble with them.

Ken

* Posted by: rainfaerie SF Bay Area 9 (My Page) on Fri, Jul 9, 04 at 11:40 I think I've found my solution. I got a 'Radicans' gardenia. It's very much a dwarf, but with big fragrance. So far, it's thriving in it's porch container.

* Posted by: emtmom12 z6VA (My Page) on Sat, Jul 10, 04 at 10:44 Well, here goes my first post to the Garden web. I took great delight in reading all the trials & tribulations you all have had with gardenias & decided to throw in mine as well.

I have a love/hate relationship with gardenias. I love them, they hate me! It never fails too....everytime I buy a new one, I wind up having to travel somewhere. Invariably, when I return from my travels, I come home to see my once lush & blooming treasure withered & shriveled & dead. Why? Because my family is allergic to watering my plants while I'm gone. Oh, they make sure they, themselves, are fed & watered. But my plants go by the wayside. And wouldn't you know that the one & only plant they kill off is the gardenia.

So, once again I purchased a plant, then went on an unexpected trip, came home, found it shrivelled but this time only nearly dead. I could still see some green in the stems, so I took a chance. I cut that stinker waaaay back to where it looked like I was growing sticks in a pot. And I watered it. Didn't do anything else at all but water it. For weeks I watered it, checking it daily for any signs of new life. Finally, I decided it was time to once again toss it & give up forever. As I reached for the pot, I noticed....no, it can't BE? Dare I hope? Mom! Come quick! Does that look like a little green shoot to you? We both peered closely, not speaking for a moment, just looking. Then we looked at each other, a smile appearing on both our faces. Yes, indeed, that IS a new green shoot!!!! Oh happy days!! We did the happy Snoopy dance on the lawn then ran back to the pot to recheck...make sure our eyes weren't deceiving us (we ARE getting old, after all). So now, a couple of weeks later, there are actual leaves growing on each & every stick. I'm scared to death to even move it from it's spot or give it anything other than water. God, Himself, only knows if this little bugger will actually bloom, but I have hope. Could this be my success story? My big comeback? I'll report back later.

Hugs to all,
Annie

* Posted by: ljk73 Zone 7-MD (My Page) on Thu, Jul 22, 04 at 15:15 My mother-in-law, my best friend, and others all advised me to NOT attempt it. I'm a beginner gardener, see. But, me being me..... Well, I was in a grocery store, and there it was; a small thing-but with plenty of green, green glossy leaves and buds. I couldn't resist for $12.

So, I took it home and put it in a container, and sat it in the sun...........and watched all the buds drop and the leaves turn yellow. Really nice.

I moved it to a new location with shade, and modified the soil and watering. It began to recover, so I moved on to other projects.

I notice that it's growing and growing. I bought it in May, and it is now huge. I mean, it's a GIANT. Overflowing the container and basically thriving like a weed. Tons of beautiful, perfect green glossy leaves. Just one thing missing....blooms!!!

Taking advice from this forum, I gave it some Miracid about a week ago. This morning I was out on the porch puttering and I smelled something so nice....... I looked around and couldn't figure it out. Then I walked over to the gardenia and bent down and took a big whiff. That was it!! But, there are still NO BLOOMS!

So, my question is: Is the gardenia just teasing me? Or is it possibly making a peace offering?

ARE THERE ANY BLOOMS IN MY FUTURE?!?!?!?!?!

Why is there the glorious aroma w/o the flowers? Anyone else experienced this?

* Posted by: dulcie2003 Sunset 19 (My Page) on Fri, Jul 23, 04 at 23:05 It's been six weeks and my gardenias actually look healthy, although the blooms dropped after I planted them. I took the advice to ammend the soil heavily and the leaves kept turning yellow. So then I cut back on the watering and tried to ignore them. I only water once a week now but the ferns around them get watered more frequently. No more yellowing leaves so I must have been overwatering. I peeked the other day and they have new leaves and look very good....shhh..I hope they didn't hear me say that...eeek. Thanks for all the great advice!!

* Posted by: DAVISSUE_zone9 z9 Sunset 14 (My Page) on Mon, Aug 9, 04 at 20:58 Boo-hoo, the first real hot spell, and my cheapo HD gardenia wilted and died overnight. It had been blooming and getting a lot of new growth on it, and I thought the danger period was over. I looked it over and can't for the life of me figure out why it died. The roots looked ok, no dead stems, etc. The plant just died for no good reason. Sigh.

* Posted by: kpapai SF Bay Calif. (My Page) on Mon, Aug 16, 04 at 18:11 NEW -- I just joined GardenWeb today (8/16/2004). These Gardenia posts inspired me. I planted my first ever Gardenias yesterday -- I moved them from the pots they came in from Sloat Garden Supply of San Rafael ($30 each) and put them in larger clay pots to sit on my front door step.Wish me luck as I wish all of you great luck in blooming as many as possible!
-Ken

* Posted by: wpirvine z10CA (My Page) on Wed, Aug 18, 04 at 3:50 I have this one bush for almost ten years. I have it in a raised bed. It used to have many buds, a few blooms and others fell off. I started feeding it with fish emotion for the last two years. It blooms profusely. Even with this heat wave, the blooms still hang on. They smells good.

* Posted by: emtmom12 z6VA (My Page) on Fri, Aug 20, 04 at 12:35 Well, like so many before me, my gardenia committed suicide! It must have cuz I didn't kill it. I swear I didn't! Hey! You can't prove a thing!

One day it had new leaves growing & the next...poof! All gone. Dried up. Dead! No hope.

Funeral services will be held a week from Tuesday. In lieu of money, please send any other kind of plant but NOT a gardenia.

In mourning,
Annie .

* Posted by: entwife NorCal9 (My Page) on Sun, Aug 29, 04 at 0:27 There is a gardenia in my back yard, planted by the previous owners of my house. We've lived here a year, and the thing is STILL slooooooooowly DYING! How long does it take a gardenia to die, anyway? Does it WANT to die? It sure dosen't want to LIVE, because no amount of water and fertilizer makes the SLIGHTEST bit of difference to this thing? What does it want? Why dosen't it like me? Can I just rip it out and put the thing out of its' misery?

Signed,
Suicidal Gardenia Owner

* Posted by: kmckg z6PA (My Page) on Tue, Sep 7, 04 at 7:55 I must have a hidden gardenia gene...I received a small gardenia as a gift a couple of years ago and kept it inside until this summer. I moved it outside, and within a month had to put it into a bigger pot. Its now 6 feet tall, 5 feet wide, and is always covered with blooms. One fell off during a heavy rainstorm... Now I'm wondering when I should move it inside for the winter (its too cold here in PA for it to winter outside)...and am trying to figure out WHERE to winter it so that it gets enough sun and stays out of the drafts from the heater vents. The danged thing is so big I'm going to have to rearrange the furniture.... any suggestions of a good wintering spot?

* Posted by: Calistoga USDA 9 Ca 15 (My Page) on Tue, Sep 7, 04 at 9:35 Well I am happy to report my Gardenia has adjusted to the location now and is full of new buds with no sign of clorosis. The very hot temperatures have not bothered it at all and it has doubled in size since April. Al

* Posted by: Steveningen (My Page) on Sat, Sep 11, 04 at 23:16 I can remember my first encounter with The Gardenia. I was but a wee,wee lad from the cornfields of Illinois. I was visiting my grandparents in Florida. My grandmother did volunteer work for sick people. She took me along on a visit to see a seriously ill woman. I remember being terrified of her. That is until we sat down in her parlor. I was immediately overcome by a scent. The fragrance was nothing I had ever known before. Then I spotted a white flower floating in a little glass bowl. That's where the smell was coming from! I asked the sick lady what it was and she told me it was gardenia and asked if I would like to take a flower home. I said "yes ma'am, please." I put the flower in a glass bowl and placed it on my nightstand. I remember waking up several times that night to take a good, deep whiff. I was hooked.

That was 35 years ago. Older and wiser, I've come to the conclusion that the gardenia is not an evergreen, not a perennial, not even an annual. It is a bouquet. It is a transient sniff of heaven sent by angels directly to a Home Depot or Safeway near you.

I've learned over years to buy the most over the top, busting with blooms plant I can find, enjoy the heady aroma for as long as it lasts and wait for the inevitable. I then sit with that sad pot like Bette Midler did with Barbara Hershey in Beaches (although Barbara Hershey's remains were probably not hauled of by the Yard Waste people).

I like to stay positive. I've left instructions to have a gardenia planted next to my headstone. I have a gut feeling that sucker will thrive.
.

* Posted by: pasogirl75 z10 CA (My Page) on Sun, Sep 12, 04 at 15:58 wow, i never knew they were so much trouble! my riding instructor in florida had one on the south side of here house in the shade of some pine trees. it was about 8 ft tall and covered in blooms every year. she was a heavy coffe drinker (multiple pots all day)and the gardenia got all the grounds from that. and it got a good 3pm drench every day from thunderstorms. so i guess if you can replicate that:) sounds like they REALLY like acidic soil.

* Posted by: Katie_Z z11 CA (My Page) on Mon, Sep 13, 04 at 15:06 I've never been too interested in challenging plants, but I was reading this thread and laughing at it, and then I walked into the local nursery just as their plants were delivered and there was a gardenia, and it was so pretty ...

One thing I do have is pine needles, thanks to my neighbor's 50 foot pine tree. I dug out a boring planter under a tree fern, planted a few azaleas and my gardenia and it burst into bloom. So I got another one. No blooms on that one yet but it does have new growth. This just might work out.

I have hard clay soil, so I mixed in about a third compost and a third pine needles. I never remember to feed plants, but we have a bucket of railroad ties and I'm going to sink a couple by each gardenia to give them the iron they need.

Who knows if it will last. So far all I'm doing is slopping some water on them a couple times a week. I definitely recommend the pine needles. That's the only 'extra' they got from me.

* Posted by: AprilFritz 10 (My Page) on Sun, Sep 19, 04 at 23:28 I thought you all might be amused by the following story. I wholeheartedly agree and sympathize with Robert Huggins who is about the 9th post down on the now infamous suicidal gardenia thread. My experience has been pretty much the same as his... that is... until now.

So I purchased 4 Scented Gem Gardenias last spring because they are supposed to be easier to grow than other gardenias. I planted them. One died the first month. Two of them flowered and then died two months after that. This left me with one. It was beginning to decline and I was so afraid that it was going to die because it was in the wrong place that I dug it up and laid it on its side under another plant's leaves. Every few days I would kinda squirt it with the hose and ponder where in the heck I should plant it. Long story short (if it's not too late already) I guess I kinda forgot about it when my Snail Vine obscured it and then we went on vacation. Today I was cleaning out the beds and I uncovered it.

Low and behold there she was out of the ground, rootball exposed, on her side FULL OF BLOOMS.

They are the work of the devil. That is the only explanation.

* Posted by: lauralandscaper z9CA (My Page) on Fri, Oct 22, 04 at 0:00 Before this thread gets to 100 and closes, let me share. I LOVE gardenias - in the nurseries and grocery stores, that is! Their fragrance is heaven, and brings back childhood memories, because my parents and their friends all grew them no problem at all. Maybe it was a 1960s thing. Anyway, mine, Majesty, Grandiflora or Vetchii, all either fry in the sun, rot in the shade, get chlorosis and drop all their leaves or get bud drop and drop all their buds. I plant at least two or 3 a year. I've tried pots and in the ground, neglect and care, and all exposures. What's really frustrating is that the garden books and tags all state that they "Thrive in sun to part shade, with moderate water" as if they were a golden pathos or something (by the way, that's one plant it's impossible to kill! Someone should create a Gardenia/Pathos hybrid!)

* Posted by: youreit Sunset 8/9 CA (My Page) on Fri, Oct 22, 04 at 10:18 I made the mistake of buying one this year. As many have stated, I was sucked in by the beauty of the foliage, the large buds, the promise of scent and huge blooms. Right after I planted it, the intense north winds blew the beauty right out of it. When I told my mom that it was on its last leg, and that I was considering just ripping it out and replacing it with something native, she said she felt sick to her stomach.

What is it about this evil princess that makes normally level-headed gardeners lose their minds?

Brenda

* Posted by: emmy57tn z6 Tn. (My Page) on Mon, Dec 27, 04 at 10:53 Well I got one of these for Christmas. Was trying to read up on it. I have to say I am disapointed. I don't know whether to touch it or run from it.LOL It has little buds all over it. My son got it for me from Walmart. I guess I will wait and see what it does.HUH?
EMMY57TN

* Posted by: Jenn 9 (My Page) on Mon, Dec 27, 04 at 11:09 LOL Emmy, enjoy it while you can. :-)

Jen

* Posted by: kbeard2323 z9 FL (My Page) on Wed, Feb 16, 05 at 13:57 What i have gleaned:
IRON, more IRON, acid, more ACID, humidity for the leaves, avoid keeping roots too wet (i live in a swamp), they like some full sun.. maybe not all day.

I have not had bug problems with them yet.

Ken

* Posted by: KMLD 10 cal (My Page) on Sat, Feb 19, 05 at 14:14 One word for Gardenias....coffee....go to Starbucks and get the used grounds FREE..

* Posted by: dianacazadora z10 LA, CA (My Page) on Tue, Feb 22, 05 at 13:27 I did buy 2 Gardenias. The 1st. I take care of like it is of crystal (it is dying) The 2nd. I just let it be. It's green and happy. I can believe it. Everyday I look at both and I can't understand... can't understand... Do you think I need a therapist?
My husband call it: Gardenia trauma.
Diana

* Posted by: youreit z9b CA (My Page) on Tue, Feb 22, 05 at 14:28 No, the plant is messing with your head, Diana. Gardenias are famous for that. There should be a survey done on Gardenia owners who are currently on medication. :)

I left mine to die after giving it all the love I could spare. It stopped dying. I believe it hates me.

Brenda

* Posted by: Calistoga USDA 9 Ca 15 (My Page) on Wed, Feb 23, 05 at 19:58 My gardenia is still well. I noticed the first hint of chlorosis today and gave it a dose of iron. Will keep an eye on it to see if it takes. Al

* Posted by: Westelle z9 Fresno CA (My Page) on Thu, Feb 24, 05 at 0:43 Our gardenias were here when we moved in. We've lost one in 8 years -- it was the one I put the coffee grounds around as an experiment. The rest I ignor, except for some acid fertilizer when I think about it.

Entered by DAVISSUE_zone9

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