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Old 04-28-2010, 04:46 PM   #1
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Potted Gardenia is slowly dying... why?


I have a large potted gardenia that gets watered regularly. I don't fetilize, though. Recently, the leaves have been turning yellow and brown and it has ceased to bloom.

Any ideas? It also gets adequate sun exposure...

Thanks in advance

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Old 04-28-2010, 08:45 PM   #2
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Potted Gardenia is slowly dying... why?


This is the time of year for gardenias to shed some of the older leaves. That may be some of your situation or not. What do you call "water regularly?" It is possible you have some root rot if you keep the soil and roots too wet. You should be fertilizing on a regular basis. Anytime a plant is in a pot, its feeding and watering domain is limited. Since it can't stretch roots out to new soil, it had to rely on what you give it. That said, regular watering will leach whatever nutrients are in the pot. It's not a bad idea to deliberately flood the soil in the pot occasionally (once or twice a season) to leach out leftover salts then re-fertlize. Regarding salts- when you see a white crust on the outside or bottom of your pots, that is what I am talking about.

Describe the yellowing in a little more detail please. Is it older leaves or newer; top of bottom of the shrub; and is the yellowing on the entire leave, or along the veins or are the veins green and the rest of the leaf yellow?

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Old 04-29-2010, 12:35 PM   #3
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Potted Gardenia is slowly dying... why?


Hey downunder,

Thanks for the response! In regards to how often it gets watered...probably once a week. One thing I noted last time I moved the pot, was that underneath between the bottom of the roots and the base of the pot there are a couple inches of open space. I'm not sure how this happened, but is this a problem?

Do you have any recommendations for fertilizer for a gardenia? I have very limited knowledge about fertilizers...

I haven't noticed any white build-up on the bottom of the pot.

The yellowing of the leaves seems to affect new leaves as well as old leaves. I'd say about 1/4 of the leaves look unhealthy. Some green with yellow on the tips, that spreads to the center, then the leaf turns brown.
I'll have to look closer regarding the veins...
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Old 04-29-2010, 08:28 PM   #4
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Potted Gardenia is slowly dying... why?


Quote:
The yellowing of the leaves seems to affect new leaves as well as old leaves. I'd say about 1/4 of the leaves look unhealthy. Some green with yellow on the tips, that spreads to the center, then the leaf turns brown.
You definitely have a problem! When I mentioned that they will shed this time of year, that is natural but minimal. If it is a fertilizer (nitrogen) deficiency the older leaves will suffer so that the new leaves can grow. In other words, the new leaves should all appear healthy. If the leaf veins are green but the rest of the leaf is yellow, that could indicate a magnesium deficiency. The leaves actually look like some took a green pen and marked the veins. In any event, the leaves generally simply fall off, but not turn brown.

Once a week is too often for a shrub, especially during the winter. There is a very good chance that you have phytoptera root rot.

Check the roots. Are they whitish, or brown and rotty looking? Are the small feeder roots fairly strong or do they pull apart easily with a gentle tug on them? They may almost crumble when you pull on them. Sometimes the outer sheath of the root may pull away from the inner portion. If these conditions are present, you have root rot. You need a fungicide specfically for that. Check you local ag center or check with your local extension agent for a source. Since it is in a pot, you might take the plant to them for a better diagnosis. A deficiency of calcium can affect roots similar to root rot.

Another problem in later winter, spring is animal damage. Mice and other creatures will get in there and feed.

Case in point-
Several months ago I noticed that dirt (or soil if you prefer) had been disturbed in some pots in my greenhouse at work. At first I thought that some of the co -workers might have been in there but the next morning when I began watering a mouse ran out of the top of one of the pots. I suppose he wasn't ready for a shower! Anyway, these were begonia cuttings that I had been rooting during the winter and they were on a heat pad with some seedlings.

So the mice had two choices-
1. In some straw in the tractor shed outside in the 20's.
2. In a warm greenhouse with a heated buffet.

OK, so that's probably more than you asked for. I'm leaning toward the too wet roots. Once a month or so should be fine other than in really HOT weather, then every couple of weeks. You should water very well, which may mean soaking the pot several times until the soil is saturated. I presume your potting soil drains well. You cannot get the soil too wet, but you can keep it too wet.

I almost forgot your other question- generally any evergreen fertilizer should be OK for you. Look for something for camelias, hollies, etc.

Please post back and let us know.
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