Gardenia plants are a notoriously fickle and complicated plant to grow in your garden landscape. However the allure of such a beautiful shrub with its sublime fragrance, awe-inspiring blooms and rich green foliage is too much for many of us to bear and we give in… we buy them and we ‘stick’ them in our gardens and then wonder why they flower once, lose their leaves and then ultimately die, leaving us with a very impressive dead shrub in the garden.
So we’ve arrived home with our newly purchased gardenia, but what do we need to do in order to give our new plant a chance of survival or rather what do we need to do in order to guarantee its demise?
Here are my best 5 tips on how to kill a gardenia:
- Always plant your gardenia shrub near concrete buildings, foundations or walkways. The chemicals (namely alkalis) held in the concrete leach out over time and collect in the soil. Planting your new gardenia near concrete will ensure that it has a slow lingering death. Although, before dying completely it will reward you with a striking display of yellow leaves which will eventually fall to form a yellow carpet around your ex-gardenia.
- Whatever you do don’t test the pH of the soil. Gardenia shrubs flourish in a slightly acidic soil that has a pH value of between 5.0 and 6.5. You shouldn’t test your soils pH and under no circumstances use acidic compost when planting, as this will only lead to you growing a healthy gardenia. By not testing the soils pH and by not planting in a suitable medium you will ensure that your gardenia leaves will eventually turn yellow, fall and the shrub die.
- Don’t fertilize your gardenia monthly with acidifying fertilizer like those designed for azalea plants as this will only help your gardenia and prevent the leaves from turning yellow.
- To ensure that you kill your gardenia plant swiftly, plant it in a zone that experiences consistent low temperatures. Gardenias grow best in zones which have daytime temperatures between 68 to 74 degrees F. and about 60 degrees F. during the night. Obviously some varieties of gardenias are more temperature tolerant and established plants will survive sudden drops in temperature. Plant a gardenia in a zone that doesn’t experience these sorts temperatures and you’ll be sure to get a black leafed dead gardenia in no time.
- Don’t provide your growing gardenia with the right amount of water. The soil should be moist but not soaked. If you over water, your gardenia won’t flower (the buds will drop off before they break) and those glossy green leaves will turn yellow.
By following any one of the above points you are destined to kill your gardenia or seriously impair its chances of survival. By not following the above your gardenia stands an excellent chance of surviving and providing you with many years of pleasure to come.