The gardenia shrub is one of the most popular plants in the world. There’s hardly anything better than walking out into your garden and letting the fragrance of a gardenia in bloom wash over you.
It’s one of the most popular flower shrubs in the world, and despite being a Southern charmer, these plants might need a bit of care to bloom properly. If you do not properly take care of the plant, it might not flower.
With a bit of care and love, you will be able to get success and really make the gardenia bloom. Many people often complain that they are unable to get their gardenias to bloom, and there could be a number of reasons why this might happen.
If you have had gardenias for a long while and they refuse to bloom, it might be a wise idea to evaluate your growing process and determine exactly what you are doing wrong. As mentioned above, the gardenia requires a bit more care than the conventional plants in your garden.
If you want your gardenia to bloom, you will need to first figure out what’s causing the problem, and then rectify it. Obviously, this is much easier said than done when you consider the many reasons why the gardenia might not bloom.
To simplify matters, here are the most popular reasons why the gardenia might not bloom, and how you can fix them.
Feeding the Gardenia
The gardenia expends a great deal of energy when it’s blooming, and as a result, you should know that the plant also uses a great deal of nutrients. Replenishing its nutrient resources is important, and the best way to do that is by adding a bit of fertilizer.
However, you can’t just use any fertilizer and expect the same results. You must feed your shrubs the right fertilizer. Ideally, you should choose fertilizer that is acidic and has a slow-release method for providing nutrition to the soil.
Camellia or Azalea fertilizer are both excellent choices, and you will notice a difference in the quality of your gardenia almost immediately. If you do not like to use fertilizer and prefer to stick with organic fertilizer, a blood meal, bone meal, or a fish emulsion will be an excellent choice.
It’s also important to determine the right time for applying the fertilizer. Once you know that there’s no chance of a frost and the cold winter gives way to the spring, you should apply the fertilizer to your plants.
Then, give it six weeks before you decide to add the fertilizer again. If you are not sure about how much fertilizer to add or when to add, the best thing to do would be to get a soil test done.
This will give you a better idea about the different nutrients that are completely missing from your soil and then replenish them.
Water is an essential resource for plants, and without water, you can’t expect flowers to develop. There is an important correlation between the amount of flower buds that develop on a plant once it reaches maturity and the amount of moisture in the soil.
When the plant is undergoing water stress (lack of water), it is likely to drop a great deal of flower buds before they even open. This is done so that the plant can divert its already reduced water reserves to the roots instead of the blooming.
This is basically your plant entering “survival” mode. If you have not been providing enough water to your gardenia, it could be a major reason why your plant is not blooming or not growing at all.
Watering the plant isn’t enough. You also have to make sure that the moisture in the soil remains there. The best way to do that is by using organic mulch. Organic mulch is an excellent thing to use for managing the amount of weeds and it can be added beside the plant.
Be very careful not to add the mulch on top of the plant, as the shallow-rooted gardenias are not able to tolerate cultivation. You have to be very particular about providing an adequate amount of water to the plants.
However, make sure that the soil does not get waterlogged in the process. Ideally, you should water your gardenias when the soil is about to dry out but hasn’t completely.
To check the soil first, you need to insert two fingers into the soil up to the second knuckle. Check whether the soil is dry or not. If it is wet, you should wait a day before you water it.
If the soil feels dry, you can just add water to the plant.
Pruning Your Gardenias
Just pruning the plant isn’t enough; you also need to make sure that you prune at the right time. Gardenias tend to produce flower buds in the last months of summer. They also produce these buds in the fall season for the blooms the following year.
To avoid getting rid of these flower buds accidentally while pruning, it is always better to wait until after the plant has finished its bloom in the early summer months.
The best thing about the gardenia is that it does not require a lot of pruning. You can cut back a little by pruning the uneven branches. Then, you should inspect the plant carefully to identify the smaller and the less productive stems, and then cut those too.
If the flowers are faded, you can remove those any time you want. The plant will begin to set new flower buds as the season changes, so it would not be a wise idea to prune your plants after the mid-summer months.
How to Fight Bud Dropping
There are also going to be situations where a properly healthy gardenia will develop a majority of its flower buds just because they bloom. This is known as a “bud drop,” and usually occurs due to a number of environmental factors.
It could also be caused due to a few cultural factors. In most cases, the blame lies with the water provided to the plant. It could be due to low humidity, or underwatering or overwatering.
You need to regularly irrigate to ensure that the soil remains moist, and also use mulching to conserve the moisture in the soil. If you live in an area where the sun shines bright and the moisture evaporates quickly from the ground, using organic mulch is a fantastic idea.
There are other reasons why your plant might experience bud drop as well. For instance, if the plant gets insufficient light and the temperature remains high during the night, it could affect the development of flowers in the plant.
The gardenia prefers cool temperatures in the night. Ideally, the temperature should be between 50 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit as this is what’s needed to allow the flower buds to develop.
But, you should know that most gardeners have no control over this thing. It’s primarily due to the region where you live. However, the amount of light that the plant receives is an important determinant.
If you plant your gardenia in a location where it remains perpetually covered, the plant will suffer. Gardenias love a bit of light, so you have to make sure that they get enough of it. This is an essential part of gardenia care.
If your gardenias are planted outdoors, you will want to make sure that they are in a sunny location, but not one that is fully exposed to the sun during the afternoon or the hottest time of the day. The plant prefers dappled sunlight at best.
Similarly, if you have gardenia bushes indoors, you need to take a variety of different factors into account. The best thing to do in this regard is to make sure that you place the plant in an area where it receives bright light, but not directly.
The humidity where the plants are kept is also going to play an important role in whether the plant is able to bloom or not. If the surrounding area is too dry, the gardenia might not bloom.
Thankfully, there are several simple ways by which you can make the gardenia bloom without much of a problem if the issue is related to humidity. Using a pebble tray is an excellent way to increase humidity.
A pebble tray can be made without much of an effort. All you need is a simple tray with some pebbles in it. Get the smooth pebbles from outside and then pour water in the tray until the pebbles are immersed at least half.
Finally, you can keep the tray near the plant. As the water continues to evaporate, you will notice the plant puckering up as well due to the increase in humidity.
These are just a few simple things that you need to do to get your gardenias to bloom with ease.
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.