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Problems With Gardenia Plants

The gardenia is a popular type of evergreen plant that produces glossy, intense green leaves and fragrant white flowers. They are not an easy plant to grow and can cause a variety of issues for those who are new to cultivating and caring for them. Once a gardenia is established and thriving though, it is a stunning addition to a yard or garden that makes the effort worthwhile.

Blooming Issues

Since the plant is evergreen, it is easy to think that if the plant is not blooming with flowers then it is not thriving. Gardenias go in and out of bloom throughout the season, and will have times when there are no flowers at all.

There are several real blooming issues that can occur with gardenias, however. If gardenias fail to bloom at anytime, this is most commonly due to a lack of humidity. If blooms fall off as soon as they form, this can also be from a lack of humidity or from the use of alkaline water. Using distilled water will help prevent this issue as well as the yellowing of the plant's leaves.


Both the leaves and the blooms of a gardenia plant can become discolored for different reasons. Bloom discoloration is generally due to external contamination. Gardenia blooms are highly sensitive to being directly sprayed with any substance, including water, and to touch. Both of these things will cause the white flowers to turn brown.

The leaves of the plant will become pale if the plant isn’t getting enough light or fertilization. You may need to relocate the plant to correct the issue.

Falling Leaves

If the healthy leaves of your gardenia are falling off for seemingly no reason, the soil may be too dry to provide the sustenance the plant needs. The soil around gardenias should be kept moist at all times.

Strong breezes will also knock the leaves off of a gardenia. Placing the plant in a location that receives some protection from the wind is a good preventative measure. If the gardenia is already established in a location in your yard or garden that has no wind protection, placing a trellis around part of the plant can be beneficial.


Gardenias are susceptible to a variety of plant diseases, including canker, leaf spot, bud drop, cotton root rot, and mold and mildew. Once disease is discovered in the gardenia plant, the best course of action is to prune away all of the affected areas. This will prevent the disease from spreading throughout the entire plant and, if caught early, can keep the gardenia from succumbing to the infection.

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