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September 22, 2018
I want to plant a dwarf gardenia bush. It would face morning sun. Should I wait until
spring or plant now? Do you know of a variety which is more winter hardy?
Since none of us can predict what type of winter we are going to have, my preference
would be to wait until spring to plant a gardenia outside. Mild winters pose no threat,
but cold winters can do damage on established gardenia plants from central Arkansas
northward, so newly planted ones are at more risk. There are many great varieties
of gardenias, including single and double blooming varieties, and some are more cold
tolerant than others. ‘Radicans’ is a dwarf that trails more than it grows upright
with double blooms; ‘Daisy’ is a single flowered form but it produces all of its blooms
all at once and is done. Some larger but quite cold tolerant varieties are ‘Jubilation’
and ‘Frost Proof’.
June 23, 2018
Last year in February I failed to tell the person pruning my shrubs to not touch my gardenia bushes. I just knew they would not bloom that spring, but I had the most
beautiful blooms ever! So thought I would test it this year. I had them pruned in February
this year and have had the fullest blooms. They have been beautiful. Thought you
might be interested to know this. I will continue to prune them each year with the
I wonder what variety you have. There are many new varieties of gardenias that bloom
on both the old wood and the new wood. I have a single Kleim’s Hardy or Daisy variety,
and if you were to prune it in February you would never have any blooms, since it
only blooms once on flower buds set in late summer/early fall. I also have a huge
old-fashioned double variety that is covered in blooms now and has never been pruned,
but it only blooms once a year, and again, pruning it would have removed the flowers.
I also have quite a few gardeners who have gardenias that got nipped back by winter
weather and have no blooms thus far this season, but should get some blooms on new
growth. I have some Jubilation gardenias which bloomed on the old wood and will continue
to bloom on the new wood as well—I often have blooms for several months on these.
Have a reason to prune, but if it is working for you, don’t fix something that isn’t
February 24, 2018
I have a gardenia that is approximately ten nine feet tall. It needs pruning but I
don't know how much to prune off nor when I should do it. I live in Faulkner County.
Gardenias set their flower buds in the fall before going dormant, so wait until after
they bloom to prune them. Normally gardenias bloom in late June to early July for
their first flush of flowers. Prune as soon after blooming as possible. We have
seen a bit of gardenia damage in some landscapes due to colder and drier conditions.
I have been asked by quite a few folks if they should prune this off now. Don’t do
anything until new growth begins in the spring and then assess if there is damage.
Hopefully it will be minimal and not impact flowering.
February 10, 2018
I have a gardenia in the front yard that looks like it has really been damaged by
the cold weather. My husband wants to cut it back now, but I know you have said that
the flowers are on it when it goes into winter. If he cuts it back, will I get any
At this point, I would tell him to hold off on pruning. For two reasons. One, we
can all hope that any damaged foliage is just that—burned leaves, and that the new
leaf buds and flower buds are still intact. We will only know that once new growth
begins in the spring. Secondly, we have at least another month (or six weeks according
to the groundhog) of potential winter weather. If it gets pruned now, and we do have
severe cold weather, you have lost any added protection and you may have to prune
back further. You are not alone in seeing some damaged landscape plants, but wait
a bit longer to begin pruning. If you do have to prune it way back, flowering will
be greatly reduced.
May 1, 2017
I received a gardenia plant for mother’s day and an azalea. Both are in bloom now,
or are beginning to. Can I plant them outside now, or must they be kept as indoor
The florist variety azaleas are not considered as hardy as the typical nursery stock.
That isn’t to say they won’t live outside, but it needs a more protected spot. Enjoy
both plants indoors while in bloom, and plant outside as they finish blooming. Transplanting
in the midst of blooming may shock them and cause the flowers to abort. Make sure
you plant them in a well-drained location with good morning sunlight and afternoon
April 15, 2017
We have a gardenia bush we planted on the south side of our home. On its original
label, it was noted as typically blooming between May and August. During last fall's
warm season, it continued to produce new blooms. We had intended to prune it, since
it has become tall and spindly, but we are unsure as to when we should now do this.
Gardenias are one of the plants that don't follow the normal rules of pruning. While
it can have two sets of blooms, the main flush is usually in June to early July (although
as early as our spring has been, that may be bumped up to May this year). The flowers
that appear first are from flower buds they set before they went dormant last fall--so
on the old wood. If your plant needs to be pruned, do so as soon as these first blooms
fade. It may impact some of the later flowers that appear on the new wood in late
summer to fall, but pruning in the fall will remove the bulk of your summer blooms.
October 22, 2016
When would be the best time for me to transplant my gardenia bush? I have it in a
barrel on my porch now but it has grown double since I put it in there. I would like
to put it in the ground
In a perfect world it would have been better to plant in the spring to get the root
system established before winter. That being said, it will be more winter hardy in
the ground than in the container, so plant it ASAP. Make sure the site is well drained
with morning sun and afternoon shade. Water well when planting and monitor watering
needs when we don’t get rain. Pay particular attention prior to freezing temperatures.
If a plant is dry going into a cold spell it is more sensitive to cold damage.
About 10 years ago or so, we planted seven dwarf gardenia bushes in two small to medium
beds around our patio. At that time they looked great but now have overgrown the areas
and all or part need to be removed. They are very healthy but are hard to manage (trim)
due to their low growth over the ground. Do you have any suggestions on transplanting
them or drastically cutting them back?
The time to prune them has passed, and I also would not transplant gardenias in the
fall, but rather wait until late winter or early spring. Gardenia plants can get
winter damage in a cold winter, and if you move them or prune them this late, they
will be more susceptible to damage. Get through the bulk of the winter then move
them. Gardenias set flower buds in the fall for the next summer’s flowers, so by now
their flower buds are set for next year. If they need pruning, do so immediately
following bloom next summer. When you do transplant them if you end up pruning them
back or damaging them when moving, you will be losing some flowers for that season,
but the plant should bounce back.
August 13, 2016
My gardenia bush was damaged by heavy rain in early spring. When is best time to cut
back? Also, what about Crape myrtle?
If your gardenia needs pruning you need to move fast. Gardenias have
finished blooming in most yards and will begin to set flower buds for next year in
a month or so. The window of opportunity to prune is short, so shape them up now
and then make sure you keep it watered if it gets dry so it can recover. Crape myrtles
are pruned in late February to mid-March, before new growth begins.
June 18, 2016
I have two beautiful gardenia trees in pots on my patio. They are full of buds that
have been there for a few weeks but they haven't bloomed except for a couple. Is
that normal or is there something wrong that I might be able to fix?
Different plants bloom at different times. I have one single bloom gardenia that has
already finished, one double that is in full bloom and another that is just beginning.
As long as the buds are green and firm, I think you should be fine. Don’t let them
dry out or that can impact the flower buds.
June 1, 2016
Last August I pruned my gardenia bushes way back. This spring they looked almost dead
with very black leaves on them. They have somewhat revived, but about one fourth of
the bush looks dead. When is the best time to prune? Did I wait too late? Mine bloom
twice a year, and I waited until after the second set of blooms before pruning. Should
I have waited until spring?
Gardenias are in full bloom across much of the southern half of the state now. This
was a mild winter for our gardenias, and most came through with flying colors. For
now, prune out any dead wood, and if blooming, wait until they are finished before
pruning anything more. The time to prune gardenias is immediately following the first
set of blooms. But have a reason to prune. Pruning after the first set of flowers
may prevent the later blooms, but waiting to prune until August will hurt your main
blooms the following summer. Gardenias set their flower buds in the fall, so you
want to allow recovery time after pruning. Only prune if needed; if there is plenty
of room for the plant to grow, leave it alone.
April 1, 2016
We have a large 16 year old gardenia plant on the north side next to our home in Hot
Springs Village. The plant has done well and has produced many blossoms each year--even
came back after the big ice storm. Its leaves have always been shiny and healthy
looking. Right now they are dark with no shine and look like they might have some
kind of fungus. What can I do for this condition?
The black covering rubs off—it is called black sooty mold and it is a by-product of
sucking insects, probably whiteflies. The insects suck sap out of the leaves, typically
feeding on the underside of the leaves, and then they give off a sticky substance
called honeydew. Wherever honeydew lingers, a black sooty mold will form. Control
the sucking insects and you control the problem. While black sooty mold will not kill
a plant, heavy covering of the foliage can cut down on photosynthesis which can impact
growth. Systemic insecticides will give you the best control.
November 7, 2015
I made several cuttings from my gardenia in the spring. They were all six doing fine,
set in pots. Yesterday I showed them to some relatives visiting and all were intact.
Today I went out to water and one is cut off at ground level, two others are cut of
several inches above ground. I first thought someone had actually cut them, but then
I noticed on one, below the cut, it looked like something had been chewing on it.
Any ideas what is going on?
Sounds like a squirrel or other creature has had a nibble. I would suggest you move
the cutting s inside now for the winter. Put them in a sunny window in a cool spot
in your house and let them regrow. They are too fragile to be planted outside this
late in the year. Wait for spring, after all chances of frost have passed and plant
in either a larger container outside or in the ground.
October 31, 2015
We are planning to put in a hedge to screen us from the property next door. I think
Elaeagnus would be best to reach at least 6 feet and would grow quickly. There are
many varieties of Elaeagnus and I am somewhat confused as to which one would be the
best and will grow in north central Arkansas. Also, how invasive are the roots and
what is the best month to plant? Can you help?
There are several varieties of elaeagnus, but I would avoid Russian olive (Elaeagnus
angustifolia) and Autumn Olive (Elaeagnus umbellate), since both can be invasive.
Thorny elaeagnus (Elaeagnus pungens) is a great evergreen shrub which is blooming
right now. The flowers are as fragrant as gardenias, but hidden within the bushes.
They tend to have a few wild sprouts periodically throughout the year requiring a
little pruning. Another one that is not as common in central or northern Arkansas
is Elaeagnus multiflora or goumi berry, which does produce edible berries, but is
deciduous. Overall, your best bet would be the thorny elaeagnus. They are quite
winter hardy, so fall planting would work well—any time from now through spring is
October 24, 2015
I need some help in rooting small bushes and plants. I can't root anything. I snip
the cuttings about 6" and I've tried putting them in water with no luck. I've bought
root hormone and it doesn't work either. I've tried getting cuttings at different
times of the year, mainly in the spring. What am I doing wrong? I would really like
to root cuttings from a Japanese maple, Gardenia and a Camellia that I have growing
in my yard.
Timing could be part of the problem, and also the type of plants you are trying
to root. Some plants root at the drop of a hat, while others can be a bit more finicky.
For most woody plants, taking cuttings in mid to late June through early July is the
easiest time to root. The stems have had a chance to harden off from new spring growth,
but they aren’t overly woody. The woodier the cutting is, the longer it will take
to root. Take cuttings that are three to four inches in length. Strip off any foliage
at the base of the cuttings. Get a pot and fill it with fresh, sterile potting soil
that has been moistened to the consistency of a run out sponge. Then put your cuttings
in. Use a rooting hormone if you have one. Then place the pot with cuttings inside
a clear plastic bag. Put it in a bright window indoors—out of direct sunlight and
be patient. You have just created a mini-greenhouse to keep the humidity up while
rooting is taking place. With woody cuttings it can take months and especially now
in the cooler months of fall and winter. Leave the cuttings sealed up for a month
or two and then see what has happened
Please tell me how and when to prune a 40 year old gardenia that has grown to 12-15
ft at least. It was in my yard when I moved in 39 years ago, about 4 - 5 feet wide
at the time. I have never pruned it except to cut blooms off for bouquets. It blooms
faithfully every June and September...this year on through October. It seems to have
several trunks but I cannot see it clearly. If I cut some of the branches way back
at the bottom, will it be harmed? I don't know whether to trim it back into some shape.
It is really too big and overtaking some azaleas planted at least ten feet from the
If it needs pruning, do so as soon after it blooms in June next year. The flower buds
are set now for that bloom period, so any pruning now would reduce your flowering.
Another reason not to prune in the fall is that it would take away some winter protection.
Gardenias can struggle in a really cold winter, so leave it as is until next summer.
Recently, I asked you about my dwarf gardenias not keeping their blooms very long.
I have been introduced to Epsom Salt this year and have been doing some experimenting
with different plants and having wonderful results. The gardenias also received a
dose of ES and are now blooming again. Not many, but a very few blooms and very little,
if any, fragrance. We are curious if the salt has produced the extra blooms. We do
not recall them blooming after spring last year.
Epsom salts are magnesium sulfate, and many home gardeners swear by it for magnolias,
tomatoes and roses. If your soil is low in magnesium, this is an easy way to raise
the level. Many of our old acidic soils may lack in magnesium. Having you soil tested
will determine where your levels are. Gardenia varieties vary tremendously by how
long they bloom and whether or not they can re-bloom. Weather conditions can also
alter the bloomability. This year, many plants bloomed very early and if they have
been watered, I have seen a large number of the plants setting new flower buds. I
even have some new buds on my single blooming Daisy gardenia, which has never re-bloomed
before. Enjoy the new blooms, but don’t depend solely on Epsom salts as your fertilizer
regime, and I wouldn’t use it much later in the season on gardenias.
My dwarf gardenias were full of blooms this year but lasted only a couple of weeks.
What can I do to prolong the bloom period?
Different varieties bloom at different rates. I have a Kleim’s Hardy or Daisy gardenia.
It has a simple flower and when it is in bloom, it is a solid mass of white flowers
that all bloom at one time. But it only lasts for about a week. My double standard
gardenia blooms for at least a month with flower buds opening over an extended period.
Some varieties re-bloom such as August Beauty and Jubilation.
This may be a crazy question but here goes. I live in Little Rock and my daughter
is getting married June 8. She loves gardenias and would like to use them at her reception
as centerpieces, probably floating in water. Gardenias are expensive to buy and I
know very delicate. Is there any way to grow our own this spring? I am not good in
the garden at all. I have friends who have gardenia bushes so I know they can grow
in Arkansas but I don't know the conditions or the timing. I know it might be risky
but could this be a possibility? Do you have any suggestions?
Gardenias grow quite nicely in Little Rock. As a cut flower, they usually start to
decline pretty rapidly, so I would float them a couple of hours before you plan to
use them. There are numerous plants that will have flowers on them that would be available
from local nurseries. I would also put the word out to family and friends to see if
they have plants. As early as things are moving this year, I would bet on flowering
gardenias by June 8. I know many nurseries sell them loaded with buds for Mother’s
Day which would be a few weeks before. Depending on how many tables you have, you
could actually get some small blooming plants ordered and use those as your centerpieces.
I've been trying to plant a Gardenia near my backyard deck for years. I love the smell
of the flowers and have purchased numerous plants only to have them die in the winter.
I purchased another plant last spring and planted it in a pot on the deck. The gardenia
is now about 24" tall and I have it in an 18" diameter pot. I had planned to transfer
it to a larger diameter pot before winter, but am wondering if I should wait until
spring. I have moved the plant to the screened in back porch for the winter. What
should I do as far as care for the Gardenia to get it through our winter?
I am surprised you have had winter damage in Little Rock. That was common in the 80's
but we haven't seen much in recent winters. Gardenias typically experience winter
damage when temperatures drop to below 15 degrees. In a container, they would be more
susceptible to damage since the soil is elevated. On your porch, monitor the temperature
and if it gets close to 20 degrees, you may want to move it to the garage for a night
or two. Repotting it now is not necessary. Water when dry, but don't keep it saturated.
Gardenias do best where they get full morning sun and protection from the hot afternoon
sun. They like a well drained soil and an acidic one. I would consider planting it
outside this spring and let it get established during the growing season to have a
stronger root system for winter. There are also some more cold tolerant varieties
on the market that should overwinter even in NW Arkansas that you may want to try.
Frost Proof has been out for awhile and Jubilation is a new gardenia for central Arkansas
My gardenia (August Beauty) bloomed again in September, October and a few blooms now
in November. There were lots of blooms in October. Will I have any blooms next spring?
I have never seen it bloom this much in fall.
August Beauty is a variety of gardenia that has one of the longer blooming periods.
It often has a big display in June and then rests for a bit and rebounds in late summer
through fall. I surely hope it has another display set for next spring, but there
is nothing you should do now except enjoy any late flowers. I think it was just as
happy as we were to leave summer behind that it celebrated a little longer this season.
I planted August Beauty gardenias in May. I have them on the north side of my house.
The leaves are turning yellow and falling off. I have watered them every other day.
They look like they are dying. Please help. I saw a vine that is called Hardenbergia violacea--- Happy Wanderer--- Purple vine Lilac. Will it grow in Hot Springs Village? Does
it take over like wisteria or Honeysuckle. If it is a good plant, where can I find
it? It is very pretty.
What is the drainage like where your gardenias are planted? How much sunlight are
they receiving? On the north side, I would suspect very little. Gardenias don’t like
wet feet, so overwatering could be a possibility. Stress from this summer could be
causing some yellowing, but overall I think it is water related. Hardenbergia is not
winter hardy in Arkansas. I have never seen it in the states, but did see a beautiful
vine in New Zealand a few years ago—you are right, it is very pretty.
Can (or should) Rose of Sharon bushes, gardenia bushes and/or mock orange bushes be
pruned and if so, when is the best time to do it?
When pruning any plant there are three questions you need to ask before grabbing the
pruning shears: why, when and how? Why do they need to be pruned—have they overgrown
their space, do you need a specific shape or size, or has there been any damage to
them. Once it has been determined that you need to prune, then know when is the best
time. If they are spring bloomers, like mock orange (Philadelphus coronarius), then
all pruning should be done AFTER they bloom. Spring blooming plants set flower buds
at the end of the growing season. Pruning as soon after flowering will give them ample
time to recover before they need to set more flower buds. If your plant blooms in
the summer, like the Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus) they bloom on the new growth
and should be pruned before growth begins—in late February until mid March. Pruning
later simply delays the first set of flowers. As with all things there are exceptions
to these rules—Gardenia or cape jasmine (Gardenia jasminoides) and big leaf hydrangea
(Hydrangea macrophylla) and oak leaf hydrangea (H. quercifolia) bloom in the summer
but set flower buds in the fall. Some newer cultivars of gardenia and hydrangea ‘Frost
Proof’ gardenia and ‘Endless Summer’ hydrangea actually set flower buds in the fall
but also set some flowers on the current season growth. Choosing a plant that fits
the location will limit how much it needs to be pruned. If pruning of gardenias or
hydrangeas are needed, do so immediately after the first big flush of flowers in the
I currently have a small gardenia bush that is growing in a container - I would like
to permanently plant in a small flower bed facing west and want to know if I can over
winter it here and it survive? I live in Greers Ferry.
You are borderline for gardenia survival outdoors. This past winter we did have a
little winter damage on even well established gardenias. Dwarf gardenias and florist
gardenias tend to be less winter hardy. Plant it in a protected spot with morning
sun and afternoon shade. I would avoid the western location if possible, since the
plant will be subjected to more fluctuations of winter temperature. Pay attention
during the winter and consider covering it should temperatures fall below 20 degrees.
We can have damage at 15 degrees.
Is it o.k. to trim gardenias now? When is the best time?
Now is not a good time to prune gardenias. Most gardenias bloom from flower buds set
last fall. Pruning now would remove those buds. Wait until after the plants finish
flowering with their first flush of blooms, and then prune as needed. There are several
new varieties that also set some flowers on the current season growth—re-blooming
again in late summer. Try to prune as little as possible to prevent losing out on
any blooms, but prune as soon as the first flowering season ends. If you choose a
plant that fits the location, you may never have to prune.
I have three beautiful gardenias in my yard. They bloom wonderfully every year, but
my only problem seems to be white flies. I used the Bayer insecticide that you put
into the root system and Malathion, but I still have a problem. Do you have any other
Imidacloprid (Bayer Advanced Tree and Shrub Insecticide) does do a pretty good job,
but the results will not be instantaneous. The plants have to absorb the chemical.
Occasionally a second application applied midsummer is needed for all season control.
Other options include: Resmethrin, Permethrin, Talstar, and Mavrik are other options.
I have recently planted three gardenias on the front of my house. These plants receive
the morning sun and afternoon shade. My question is what makes the pretty green leaves
turn yellow and fall off? Please help me with this problem . I am trying to make a
hedge with the gardenias.
Several things can cause yellowing of gardenia foliage. Some are nutritional, or soil
related, and the other can be insects. If the pH is too high, they can suffer from
iron chlorosis. This condition usually causes yellow foliage, with green veins in
the leaves. Although our soils are often acidic, occasionally liming or other conditions
can cause a more alkaline condition. If they are planted next to a new foundation
or new sidewalk, often the lime can leach out of the concrete causing a rise in pH.
A soil sample can determine the pH and help you lower the pH. Another nutritional
problem can be a lack of nitrogen, which can cause yellowing of the foliage. Poor
drainage can also give rise to a weak and a more yellow plant. Another, and often
more common problem is an insect called whitefly. Adult whiteflies often fly when
the plant is disturbed, giving an almost dandruff like scattering of white. The larval
and egg stages congregate on the underside of the foliage. These insects suck sap
out of the foliage, and can cause yellowing and even a distortion of the leaves. Heavy
infestations often give rise to a black coating on the leaves, caused by black sooty
mold which builds up on the sweet honeydew given off by the insects. Whitefly is not
easy to control. Systemic insecticides applied early in the season can give you some
control now, or you can use Resmethrin. Other products are also available. But before
you start spraying, try to determine the cause of your problem. Your county extension
office is a great place to start.
I made a cutting 4 or 5 years from a gardenia in Little Rock. It has done well in
a pot and bloomed for the first time last summer. It has bloomed a lot this summer.
I want to plant it outside. When is the best time to plant it and where would be the
best location? I live in Searcy County. What kind of protection might I need in the
winter? Any help will be greatly appreciated.
If you plan to plant it outside, I would get it planted as soon as possible. You need
to allow the plant a chance to get its roots established before cold weather sets
in later this fall. Plant it in a protected spot in your yard where it gets morning
sun and afternoon shade. The soil should be well drained. Searcy County is pushing
the hardiness limits. Be prepared to cover it when temperatures drop to 15 degrees
or lower, and leave it covered until they get above that. If it does get winter damaged
it will not bloom that season, since it sets its flower buds in late summer. If it
is small you can get a large cardboard box to cover. Good luck.
My gardenia plants were all bent over, weighted down with snow and ice. Is there possible
permanent damage to them? Do I do something now to help them?
By now, I would hope that they have straightened up or are on their way to doing so.
My loropetalum was touching the ground and it is already almost totally upright again.
Check to make sure that no branches were broken under the weight of the snow. If you
do see broken branches, prune those, but otherwise wait until spring to see if any
permanent damage was done. Burned foliage should be left alone.
Between our house and the patio edge there is about a 20" wide ground space. There
is a gardenia planted between the house and patio. It needs to be moved and/or cut
back. When should it be moved? When should it be cut back?
First, decide which you prefer, cutting it back and leaving it where it is, or moving
it to a new location where it can grow at its will. A large gardenia is a pleasant
thing to have when they are in bloom. If you decide to leave it where it is, pruning
should be done immediately following bloom in the summer. If you want to move it,
wait for the bulk of winter to be finished, and then move it in late February or March.
Gardenias need either morning sun or filtered sunlight with an acid environment and
even moisture, but a well drained site.
We have several Cape jasmine bushes rooted in a bucket. We would like to know when
we should plant them and which side of the house? These cuttings are off my mother-in
laws bush and we do not want anything to happen to them. Are they Cape Jasmine or
Gardenia's? They have cream colored blooms and a very sweet smell and very slick shiny
Cape jasmine is the same thing as a gardenia, although some will argue the point.
Common names can be misleading, but both refer to the plant Gardenia jasminoides. If the plants are newly rooted, I would hesitate to take a chance on them over wintering
outdoors, unless they are provided extra protection. If they were mine, I would pot
them up and leave them outdoors until mid October. Then move them to a sunny, cool
location indoors. Keep them a bit on the dry side while indoors and then plant in
their permanent location outdoors next spring. If indoor relocation is not feasible,
plant on the east or north side of the house as soon as possible. The quicker they
can root the better. Mulch lightly now, then heavier after a killing frost to insure
We have a rather large Oleander that was absolutely beautiful this summer but it has
gotten tall enough that the branches are falling over. Is it safe to prune and if
so, how much. Does it need to be fertilized? Also, I need to prune my gardenia bushes
but they are still producing a few flowers. When will it be safe to cut them back?
Oleander is only moderately winter hardy in central Arkansas, a bit more so in south
Arkansas and very limited, if at all in north Arkansas. I would not prune it as it
heads into winter, or you would expose it to potential winter damage. Get it through
the winter and then prune as needed before growth begins in the spring. It will bloom
on the new growth so pruning should not interfere with flowering if you do it early.
Fertilize monthly during the growing season to keep it blooming. Do not prune the
gardenia now. Not only would winter be an issue with it as well, the flowers you are
seeing now are bonus blooms. Some varieties set some late blooms on the new growth,
but the majority of flowers are set in the fall but bloom in late June to July. Any
pruning that is needed should be done after the summer flush of flowers.
I live in Fairfield Bay, Ark and in the middle of trees. My three gardenias are located
at the front SW corner of my house, and mostly in the shade due to my trees and the
tall trees on the west side lot next to me which are about 10' away. They do get a
little sunlight in the early part of the day. They are about 3' high. Can I cut them
back to about 1 - 2' to stimulate new growth, and when, or can I cut half of the plant
back now and the rest later? What kind and when to fertilizer, and mulch? What kind
of pesticide(s) are to be used? When does the gardenia bloom and how often, once,
There are different varieties of gardenias and size can vary by variety. If you choose
a plant that fits your location, you may never have to prune. If you do need to prune,
the goal is to prune as soon as the first flush of flowers have faded in late June
or July (depending on our season). There are some varieties of gardenias which have
more blooms in the fall, but they are usually not as showy as the first summer blooms.
If you need to prune, you may not get the late season flowers. Prune only as much
as needed, even then. Pruning now is not advisable. It would remove the flower buds
for next summer’s blooms, plus it would expose the plant to potential winter damage.
You are pushing it as it is, growing them as far north as Fairfield Bay. Fertilize
with an Azalea type fertilizer as new growth begins in the spring. Watch for white
flies, which gardenias tend to be a magnet for. If this becomes a common occurrence
each summer, use a preventative application of Bayer Advanced Tree and Shrub insecticide
in late March to April. Mulch should be on all plants all the time. Organic mulches
include hardwood mulch, pine bark or pine needles.
I have two miniature gardenias and I was wondering if you could please tell me when
and where I should prune them. Their limbs are starting to spread all over the ground
and I have never trimmed them. They are beautiful with all the white blooms but really
need help. I think they would look much better if trimmed up.
If there is room for them to grow, and they are full plants, there is no need to prune,
however, if they have overgrown their location, you can prune, but do so soon. Gardenias
bloom in the summer and turn around and set flower buds in the fall. By now, many
of the dwarf gardenias have finished their blooming season. If yours are still blooming,
prune as soon as the flowering season ends. If needed, thin out some branches and
cut back to a manageable size. Lightly fertilize after pruning and the plants should
Last spring (2005) I set out a Cape jasmine that we had moved with us from Union County
just above the LA border. It lived, put out new leaves, and is a nice healthy green,
but hasn't bloomed here in N-W Arkansas, Benton County, just 5 miles this side of
MO. It is very hardy stock -- a 4- or 5-year old cutting from a plant we moved from
an old house place in the Ouachita River bottoms; nothing left of the house but the
chimney, and tall pines and oaks growing where the house had been. That plant had
survived plenty of neglect, dry summers and ice storms in its lifetime, definitely
not a hothouse plant! This cutting had blossomed the last three years that I'm sure
of, so what I'm wondering is, does it have to get adjusted to the different latitude
and altitude here on the Ozark Plateau? If that isn't a problem with it, what could
you suggest? I've fed it plant food especially formulated for flowering plants, and
don't know what else I can do to encourage it to bloom. Sweet talk, maybe?
I am surprised it survived, but then again, we didn't have much of a winter. Cape
jasmine or gardenia is usually not hardy in north Arkansas since it is considered
a zone 8 plant --hardy to about 15 degrees. My guess is that it set flower buds last
summer but they were frozen or winter damaged. Often times gardenias get nipped back
and while their root system survives, the flower buds are lost--since they set them
at the end of the summer. Two options would be to either give extra winter protection
- particularly when temperatures are predicted below 15 degrees, or secondly to containerize
the plant and move it into the garage or protected area for the winter. Gardenias
should be evergreen with foliage intact year-round.
We moved from Chicago (with its wonderful black topsoil) about a year and a half ago.
Now that we are into my second Arkansas gardening season, we have a perplexing problem
with which we hope you can provide some guidance. When we bought a home in Diamondhead,
outside of Hot Springs, we acquired a raised garden plot of some 180 sq ft. We have
tried to plant shrubs and perennials that are deer resistant, and have been mostly
successful in that regard. Our problem is that some of our plants (especially two
gardenias and a caryopteris) over time have been slowly losing their leaves - they
turn brown or yellow and then fall off. (Last summer, we thought, the problem was
related to extreme summer heat, but it is already occurring again this year.) Other
plants don't seem to be affected. Our neighbors have a cat that runs free, and who
we are quite sure had frequently been using the garden plot as a convenient litter
box. (We have taken steps to keep the cat out of the garden.) Could he be the cause
of the problem with our plants? If so, what can we do to fix the soil to be more tolerant
of our plants?
It is possible that the cat is causing problems. Have your soil tested to see what
the pH is and the salt levels. Gardenias like an acidic soil and can have yellow leaves
with green veins if the pH is too high. If you are worried about the cat using the
flower beds as a litter box, mulch the garden with sweetgum balls. The sharp spines
usually keep them away because they like to scratch the soil when they go to the bathroom.
Aerate the soil under the plants and water well after taking a soil sample to try
to leach out any ammonia problems and let’s see what the soil sample says.
My neighbor was recently in the hospital where she received a big, gorgeous, gardenia
plant. How does one take care of it? Can it be put outside? What kind of care does
it need? Also it's getting yellow leaves. Please help, it's so fragrant and beautiful,
it would be a shame to see it die.
Enjoy the plant inside for now. This gardenia should be treated as a houseplant for
another few weeks, since it was forced into bloom in a warm greenhouse. By mid April
it can be safely moved outdoors. If you live in central or south Arkansas, the plant
can be put in the ground as a permanent shrub. Plant it on the east or north side
of the house where it gets bright light in the morning. If you are live in the northern
counties, it will not survive outdoors year-round, but it does make a great container
plant. Don't over water it indoors -- allow it to dry out slightly between watering.
Give the plant bright light while it is inside and it should make it through until
it is safe to move outdoors.
I have several plants that I would like to keep over the winter. Mosquito plant, Mexican
heather and begonias. Are any of these winter hardy in central Arkansas? If so, what
can I do to get them through? If not, how can I over winter them inside? Also, do
I need to cover my gardenia bush for the winter and if so what is the best material
to use for cover?
Except for the gardenia, none of the plants you mentioned are reliably winter hardy
in central Arkansas. Mexican heather and some begonias have managed to survive a few
of our winters, but you shouldn’t count on it. To guarantee these plants back in your
garden next season, you will need to either move them indoors or take cuttings for
new starts. I would advocate the latter, if these plants are in the ground. The mosquito
plant -- a scented geranium is not going to make it, even with extra mulch, so move
it indoors or store it in your garage. For the Mexican heather and begonias, after
taking some cuttings, add extra mulch when the weather turns cool and see what you
have next spring. Gardenias only need protection if the weather gets below 15 to 20
degrees. If needed, cover with something porous -- a sheet, blanket, or cardboard
Last August I pruned my gardenia bushes way back. This spring they looked almost dead
with very black leaves on them. They have somewhat revived, but about one fourth of
the bush looks dead. When is the best time to prune? Should I have done so when I
did since that is when they had finished blooming, or should I have waited until spring?
Gardenias are in full bloom across much of the southern half of the state now. Some
plants took quite a hit this winter, and did get nipped back. Several actually died,
while the majority that were injured have recovered and have started growing. Some
of the damage was superficial--just the leaves were nipped, and the flower buds were
undamaged, and beginning to bloom. I don't think there was much you could have done
to prevented damage, other than covering them during the huge shifts of temperatures--the
70's to the 20's. For now, prune off the dead wood, and if blooming, wait until they
are finished before pruning more. The time to prune gardenias is immediately following
bloom. August is a bit late, since they set their flower buds in the fall, so you
want to allow recovery time. Last year, many gardenias continued blooming off and
on into the fall, so it was hard to prune. Only prune if needed; if there is plenty
of room for the plant to grow, leave it alone.
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