a reader of your column, I noted your willingness to answer
questions from your readers. I need your help. I'd hate to lose this plant.
Our son gave me a gardenia for my birthday last
September. It was blooming when I received it in its six-inch pot and
the leaves were a deep, glossy green. There were dozens of buds on so
small a plant. I was delighted.
The flowers became yellow and after a few weeks, the
buds turned brown and dropped. The flower buds didn't develop after a
certain size. I resigned myself into having a lovely, healthy green plant.
Realizing that the gardenia was pot bound, I purchased
potting soil and an unglazed ceramic pot. Since repotting, I've
noticed that leaves are yellowing from the bottom of the plant up.
Please help. Thank you.
A. I get a lot of
questions about problems with gardenias. Common complaints include
flower buds falling off, no flowering, leaves yellowing, leaves
shriveling, or the entire plant dying. Many a gardenia has died on me
over the years despite my careful attention to its special needs.
The problem is the common gardenia is a fussy plant
and it is not suited to the growing conditions found in the average home.
I love the fragrance of gardenia, but I don't grow the
common gardenia anymore because of all its problems. Instead, I grow
an easy-to-grow, lesser-known relative of the common gardenia called
African gardenia. I like it so much I just started more so I can have
one in every room to enjoy its fragrance throughout my home. It is
one of my favorite plants.
gardenia has the same wonderful gardenia fragrance, but on a
dependable plant that is not fussy. It blooms reliably in the home
blooming almost continuously all year long with no extra effort. It
bears small, star-shaped flowers that are pink in bud and open creamy
white. The flowers are carried in clusters all up and down its stems
and even the smallest stem will have a few flowers on it. There are
dozens and dozens of flowers in bloom at any one time. The fragrance
easily carries on the breeze, perfuming a room.
It's a shrubby plant that looks similar to gardenia,
but on a smaller scale. It has short, slender leaves that are carried
on woody stems. It tends to grow rather flat and rarely grows larger
than a couple o