Many people love keeping gardenias in their gardens because of how vibrant they are. The deep green of gardenias really stands out in many gardens, and they’re also pretty easy to take care of.
Overall, these are hardy plants that don’t require you to baby them to get good results. They’re very popular in the southern portions of the United States because of how well they tolerate heat and high humidity levels.
It’s great that gardenias are supposed to be easy to care for, but this doesn’t mean that you can’t encounter issues with them. If you notice that your gardenia’s leaves are curling up, then you’re going to be wondering what’s up.
What would cause a gardenia’s leaves to curl this way? Read on to learn about the different things that can cause this to happen so that you can figure out what to do.
1 – Soil Issues
Soil issues should be among the first things that you consider when your gardenia’s leaves begin curling. These plants need to have soil that has an acidity pH range between 5.0 and 6.5.
If your soil doesn’t fall within the right range, then that very well might be the problem. Many people will choose to test the soil before planting gardenias because they know that gardenias need the right soil to thrive.
If your pH level is too high, then you can make adjustments before planting gardenias. When you’ve already planted the gardenias and have leaf curling issues to deal with, it’s still possible to make adjustments.
You can add things such as aluminum sulfate and chelated iron to the soil at a slight distance from the plant. As long as you keep things about three feet away from the gardenias, it should help you to balance out the soil properly.
Eventually, your gardenias should start to look healthy again once you’ve made changes to the soil. It might help to give your gardenias some fertilizer to help things along as well.
Experts recommend using a slow-release fertilizer that’s good for plants that like acid. You should also keep checking the soil now and then to ensure that the pH levels remain in the right range for the gardenias.
2 – Not Watering the Gardenias Properly
Not watering the gardenias properly could be causing the leaf curling issue. This can go both ways since watering too little or watering too much can be problematic.
Gardenias are supposed to be watered regularly, and it’s not going to be good if you forget to water them a few times. You might notice the gardenias looking less healthy than usual, and leaf curling could be a possibility as well.
Watering gardenias too much will wind up being a big problem. This could cause the leaves to curl, and it could also put the plant in danger of experiencing root rot.
Ideally, you want to water the gardenias often without allowing the soil to get sopping wet. It’s said that gardenias require at least one inch of water on a weekly basis.
This water can come from you physically watering the plants, but you also need to take rainfall into consideration. Sometimes people will forget whether it rained during the week and will accidentally water the gardenias too much.
Your problems could wind up being due to a simple error such as this. If you can do a good job of keeping track of how much you’re watering the plants each week, then you’ll be able to turn things around.
It’s also recommended to place a layer of mulch in the garden with your gardenias. This can help to keep moisture from evaporating so quickly, and you’ll have an easier time making sure that the soil is evenly moist.
3 – Spider Mites
Sometimes spider mites are the cause of gardenia leaf curling issues. These pests have a tendency to bother many different types of plants, and they’ll essentially suck the moisture out of the plant.
You might notice that the leaves on your gardenia will start to form spots or they might even start yellowing. Often, this is the first thing that signifies that there is a pest problem since it’s so hard to see these tiny little bugs.
There are other things that you can look out for that will tell you that spider mites are present, though. They leave behind webbing on leaves that is so fine that you’ll have to pay attention to spot it.
It’s possible to wash spider mites off of gardenias if you use a garden hose. Many people choose to use insecticidal soap spray to get rid of the bugs, though.
You should also keep in mind that spider mites are more likely to bother your gardenias if they’re dry. This means that you should do a good job of watering your plants to keep things from getting dusty and dry.
4 – Climate Issues
It’s also possible that climate issues are playing a role in what is happening. You know that gardenias are supposed to be fairly easy to grow, but they do better in medium or warm climates.
When you’re trying to care for gardenias in a colder climate, it’s possible that you might have problems. Some people have said that temperature fluctuations have caused the leaves of the gardenias to react negatively.
If you are keeping gardenias in a colder climate, then you’ll need to be careful about protecting them. They do better with temperatures of 65 degrees Fahrenheit to 70 degrees Fahrenheit during the day.
At night, it’s fine for things to get as cool as 60 degrees Fahrenheit, but much cooler than that and the plant might have some issues. It’s also noteworthy that these plants need high humidity levels to thrive.
You might notice that the leaves look funny if things aren’t humid enough in the area. This might be fixed by trying to add some humidity artificially, and you can always raise gardenias in a greenhouse environment if your local climate simply isn’t suitable.
Now you know the basics about what can cause leaf curling in gardenias. It’s just going to be up to you to figure out what’s going on and what steps you should take to get the plant back to looking healthy again.
Growing up with a mom who filled her home (inside and out) with all sorts of plants, Lisa got her start in gardening at a young age. Living now on her own with a home and yard full of plants (including an indoor greenhouse), she shares all the gardening tips she’s gained over the years.