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Foley’s Guide to Gorgeous Gardenias

Gardenias are a beauty of any garden with their intoxicating scent and creamy white flowers. Mass plant as a hedge, incorporated into cottage or Mediterranean style garden or featured in pots, the possibilities are endless.  

When planting gardenias, try to choose a warm sunny location, preferably protected from the hot afternoon sun. If you are planning on planting in a position in hot western sun, ensure that your plants receive plenty of water to ensure our harsh sun won’t harm your plants.  

Once planted, gardenias need ongoing care year-round. From pruning to fertilising, this blog will answer the most common questions gardenia growers will face.  

Fertilising gardenias is vital to ensure lush green foliage growth and beautiful large flowers. In your garden, they will benefit from a dose of cow & compost mix in early Spring along with a controlled release fertiliser. Remember to mulch well to protect your plant from the Summer heat and retain water. Fertilising potted gardenias is similar, ensure to apply a controlled release fertiliser every three months and throughout the growing season a liquid fertiliser, like PowerFeed, will work wonders for healthy foliage and flowers.

 Gardenias respond best to deep, regular waterings. 

A common question asked about gardenias is “Why are my leaves yellow?”. This issue can be caused by a number of reasons: cold weather, old leaves, incorrect soil pH or nutrient deficiency.  

Yellow leaves from cold weather or old leaves which then drop off are nothing to be concerned about, this is normal plant behaviour.  

Nutrient deficiency is a very common problem when growing gardenias, however with the right fertilising regime and soil preparation at the time of planting you can generally avoid these issues. If you feel you have a gardenia with very yellow leaves it may be lacking in magnesium, iron, nitrogen and other trace elements. At Foley’s we have a range of products that will target these elements and help to nourish your plant in no time.  

If you feel you have been on track with your plants fertilising regime and have tried to top up your plant’s nutrients with no change in plant health, its possible that your soil is not the correct pH for gardenias. Gardenias prefer a slightly acidic soil and if the soil pH is incorrect it can inhibit the plants ability to draw nutrients from the soil. If this is the case, it may be worth while testing your soil with a simple kit from your local hardware store and you may find you can lower your pH with a liquid sulfur.  

Pruning gardenias can be fairly simple. Pruning when needed or to reduce their height is common, and best under taken after a flush of flowers, this may be in late Summer into early Autumn. Another method is tip-pruning during the flowering months, either prune off any dead and dying flowers to stimulate better flower growth or prune off the new flowers to bring inside so you can enjoy the fragrance around your home.  

To grow beautiful, fragrant gardenias in your garden, stop by Foley’s today to view our range. 

Remember - water daily until established!


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