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The Leaves on My Gardenia Bushes Are Turning Brown on the Ends

By Barbara Fahs ; Updated September 21, 2017
Several factors can cause gardening leaf tips to turn brown.
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Gardenias are a member of the large coffee family of plants (Rubiaceae). They are subtropical and have shiny, dark green leaves and fragrant flowers. They can suffer from nutritional deficiencies that can cause leaf tips to turn brown.

Nutritional Needs

Gardenias need proper nutrition to maintain healthy green leaves. The University of Rhode Island recommends feeding gardenias with an acidic fertilizer once each month, beginning in April and continuing until November. A potassium deficiency can cause yellowing, then browning, of the leaf tips, especially on leaves that have recently reached their adult size.

Water Needs

Keep the soil in which your gardenia is growing moist at all times. If you allow it to dry out, the leaves of your gardenia can begin to turn brown at the tips, then turn completely brown, die and fall off. Water your gardenia regularly and monitor the soil moisture to prevent this condition.


Several plant diseases can cause gardenia leaves to develop brown spots. They include bacterial leaf spot, other types of leaf spot and the Rhizoctonia fungus. The brown spots these diseases cause can occur at the leaf tips, or elsewhere on the leaves.


About the Author


Barbara Fahs lives on Hawaii island, where she has created Hi'iaka's Healing Herb Garden. Fahs wrote "Super Simple Guide to Creating Hawaiian Gardens" and has been a professional writer since 1984. She contributes to "Big Island Weekly," "Ke Ola" magazine and various websites. She earned her Bachelor of Arts at University of California, Santa Barbara and her Master of Arts from San Jose State University.