Are you curious about how to revive a dying gardenia?
Whether your gardenia is dying for obvious reasons – you forgot to water it – or some that are more mysterious in nature, the good news is that unhealthy gardenias can be saved.
Gardenias aren’t the most challenging plants to grow, but they do require some special care.
Understanding their unique needs is key when it comes to growing these beautiful flowers.
How to Revive a Dying Gardenia
If your gardenia is wilting or dying, it is likely caused by a pest or disease and can be remedied by adjusting humidity levels and pruning the plant. This will help improve airflow while also limiting the spread of disease. Using an insecticide and fertilizing your plant can also help.
The Ideal Gardenia Growing Conditions
One of the easiest ways to prevent your gardenia from dying or becoming weak in the first place is to make sure you are growing it in the proper conditions.
Gardenias, or Gardenia jasminoides, are hardy in USDA zones 8 to 11. Although they can be grown as annuals in cooler zones, don’t expect your gardenia to make it through the winter unless you bring it indoors and grow it as a houseplant in a container for the colder months.
These adaptable shrubs are native to Asia, Africa, and the Pacific islands, with showy tubular flowers that are usually yellow or white. When healthy, the plant has glossy evergreen leaves and bright berries.
Gardenias prefer acidic soil, ideally that which is fertilized with plenty of nutrient-rich material like compost. They grow best in sun or partial shade.
Provide your plants with at least one inch of water per week, whether that’s from rainfall or supplemental irrigation. Don’t allow the soil to dry out completely before you water.
Why is My Gardenia Wilting?
Sometimes a wilting gardenia can be revived with the simple addition of a bit of compost.
These plants are heavy feeders that should be fertilized in the early summer, toward the end of June.
If you notice that the leaves of your plant are turning yellow, poor nutrition is likely the cause. Fertilizing can help.
Often gardenias wilt shortly after being planted. This is generally a sign of transplant shock and when severe, can indicate that the roots are dying.
To prevent this, avoid moving gardenias at all costs. When you first transplant your new gardenias into the garden, be sure to water well and take extra care when handling the fragile roots.
Poor soil drainage can cause a gardenia to die, as can insufficient light and overwatering or underwatering. Be sure to grow your gardenias in the proper conditions to prevent these issues.
If you are growing your gardenias indoors and notice that they are dying, try moving your plant to a location where it will receive more sunlight. Consider your watering habits to make sure you’re not overwatering or underwatering the plant.
Other than improper growing conditions, the most common cause of gardenia death are pests and diseases.
Preventing Gardenia Pests
Aphids are some of the most common gardenia pests. They aren’t harmful in and of themselves, but have the potential to spread diseases like sooty mold, which we’ll address more below.
To get rid of aphids on gardenias, spray them off the plants with a heavy blast from the hose.
However, you may find that more severe infestations require the use of insecticides. You can use insecticidal soap or horticultural oil sprayed directly onto the aphids three times at five to seven-day intervals.
It is important that you do not apply these treatments in dry weather, as this can cause more damage to the foliage of your gardenias if they are already drought-stressed.
Other gardenia pests you may detect include citrus whiteflies, two-spotted spider mites, and Japanese wax scale. Introducing beneficial insects like lady beetles can help get rid of many of these pests.
Again, insecticides may be necessary for severe infestations that are causing your gardenias to die.
Common Gardenia Diseases and Remedies
The most common gardenia disease is sooty mold, which causes a tell-tale black coating on your plants. It is caused by a fungus.
This disease, fortunately, won’t kill your gardenia completely. It is spread by insects known as aphids, so getting rid of the aphids is key.
Powdery mildew is another common gardenia disease, also caused by a fungus. This disease will appear as patches of gray spots on leaves or other areas of the plant.
To prevent both of these diseases, space your plants so that they have plenty of air circulation. This can reduce humidity levels and stop the growth of fungus.
You may also need to prune back diseased portions of the plant to limit further spread. Most of the time, fungicides are not necessary.
However, if you are trying to revive a dying gardenia and the fungal infection is extreme, fungicides can be used.
One final disease that can cause gardenias to die is stem canker. It produces dark lesions with raised edges and is easiest to address with heavy pruning.
However, it is important that you only prune with shears that have been thoroughly disinfected with a solution of 10% bleach. This will prevent further contamination.
After pruning, be sure to irrigate thoroughly. Keep the soil moist, though not waterlogged, and wait to fertilize until a few weeks later.
Frequently Asked Questions About How to Revive a Dying Gardenia
What does an overwatered gardenia look like?
Overwatering causes symptoms such as leaf yellowing and leaf drop despite moist soil around the gardenia. It can also cause bud drop or brown leaf tips along with sudden wilting of your plant.
How can you revive a gardenia after winter?
As long as you are growing your gardenia in the appropriate growing zone, your gardenias will survive the winter months with ease. In the spring, you should prune any tissue that doesn’t produce new buds or shoots. Provide supplemental water and fertilizer until new growth is abundant.
Taking care of houseplants and gardening are my greatest passions. I am transforming my apartment into an urban jungle and am growing veggies in my indoor and outdoor garden year-round.