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GARDENIAS

Gardenias are popular shrubs and ornamentals in the southern part of the United States where severe cold won't damage the plants. Plants always seem to have more blooms at the time you receive them than any other time in their life due to less than favorable growing conditions in most homes.

Gardenias thrive on 68-74 degrees F. day temperatures and 60 degrees F. evening temperatures. Plants prefer full sun indoors; if grown outdoors for the spring, summer and early fall, keep plants in partial shade. An east or covered west porch will be satisfactory.

High humidity is essential. Avoid misting the foliage, though, as leaf spot fungal problems will develop. The soil should be kept uniformly moist, but don't overwater. A loose, well-drained organic soil is recommended.

Fertilize monthly between April and November with an acid fertilizer.

Check regularly for insects and other pests such as aphids, mealybugs, spider mites, thrips and scale. Follow recommended control practices if pest problems occur.

The most irritating problem encountered is "bud drop" -- flower buds will abort just before blooming. Common causes include low humidity, over watering, under watering, insufficient light, high temperatures, rapid temperature fluctuations, cold drafts, or change in plant locations. In other words, the plants are temperamental.

Plants that don't set flower buds may be experiencing too much warmth.
 

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