Asked on May 09, 2017

How can I revive a barely alive gardenia bush?

I have a gardenia bush that is in a planter, it was one of my mothers prized plants. It's barely hanging in there...any suggestions?
  14 answers
  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on May 09, 2017

    It most likely needs to be re-poted. Put in the next size up and make sure the pot has drainage holes.

    • Colleen Sturma Reynolds Colleen Sturma Reynolds on May 09, 2017

      I'm not sure a bigger pot would fit through the door this fall! I did add fresh potting mix when I moved it outdoors this spring.

  • Shaley Shaley on May 09, 2017

    If you liven an area where you can plant it into the ground do so with soil requirements. To thrive, gardenias require well-drained, acidic soil with a pH range of 5.0 to 6.0. The soil should also be rich in organic matter and kept moist but not wet. Gardenias grown in alkaline soil will have difficulty obtaining the nutrients the shrub needs to thrive.. You can also test your soil with a soil pH test kit. When plants are grown in the wrong soil pH, their roots have trouble taking up all the necessary nutrients from the soil. Iron deficiency is the main concern for gardenias and other acid-loving plants grown in neutral or alkaline soil. A gardenia that isn't taking up enough iron will slowly fade from dark green to pale green to yellow, often with the veins of the leaves remaining green. The gardenia will also have an overall unhealthy appearance and poor growth. Ideally, you should adjust you soil pH before you plant a gardenia, but you can also mulch around the plant to help lower the soil PH. Before planting, work in conifer bark chips, organic compost, peat moss or aluminum sulfate. If you use aluminum sulfate, follow all package directions for the correct amount to apply. If your gardenia is already in the ground and showing signs of iron deficiency, mulch around the shrub with a 2- to 3- inch layer of bark mulch or compost. (We know yours is in a planter move up 2-3 inches in dia. amend the new soil) To avoid disturbing the roots, do not work mulch into the soil of an established gardenia. Giving your gardenia the correct fertilizer will also help keep the shrub healthy and the soil at the optimal PH. Once at the beginning of spring and once at the beginning of summer, feed your gardenia with a fertilizer specifically intended for acid-loving plants. You can also fertilize you gardenia with blood meal or a fish emulsion fertilizer. If you have trouble lowering the pH of your soil or if you want to give your gardenia a boost while waiting for mulch to break down and acidify the soil, feed your gardenia once a year with chelated iron. With any fertilizer, follow the package directions regarding how much to apply.

    I also mix 2 TBS Epsom salts to one gallon water, mix and spray the shrubs making sure I get the underside of the leaves as well, Calcium will always win out over Epsom salts in the uptake. I always see results within two days if this was the issue. our hardy gardenias were hit hard for the second time during an cold winter so we lost almost all the leaves. ours is just now sprouting new leaves after treating them with Epsom salts.

  • Colleen Sturma Reynolds Colleen Sturma Reynolds on May 09, 2017

    I just did the Epson Salts. While doing that, I noticed that I am getting some new leaves in a pretty bright green color!! Yay I was afraid I had trimmed too much of the dead looking stuff off of it. I am hoping now that it's outside with some fresh potting soil in it that it will be a happy gardenia in no time soon. Thanks for your help!!!

  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on May 09, 2017

    Adding fresh soil will not help as the roots need to be thinned out.

  • Maria Garcia Maria Garcia on Apr 15, 2019

    I transplant a gardenia in planter and left it out for the sun. After a couple of days the plant is dry like if it was burned. Please help!!!!! what can I do? should I bring it indoors?

    • Annie Annie on Jun 24, 2021

      Lots of plants shock when they are transplanted. If you keep it in light shade with just a bit of sun for a few days, that might help it to settle in and be healthier.

  • Cindy Cindy on Aug 17, 2019

    You could mix one tablespoon of Epson Salts into a gallon of water. Sprinkle it on the soil where the plant meets the soil. Doing this will put enzymes into the soil. Finish it off by giving it a regular watering. The extra water will help the roots receive the salts quicker. You can use this solution on any of your plants whether inside or outside. Plants flourish with this. Gardenias like acidic soil. One way to achieve this is to put used coffee grounds in the soil. I put my grounds in the soil used for my tomato plants. Great results. Best wishes headed you way.

  • Libbie B Libbie B on Jun 23, 2021

    I would try repotting and adding fresh sould with Epson salts.

  • Lindsay Aratari Lindsay Aratari on Jun 30, 2021

    I would try to repot

  • Sheila Sheila on Aug 19, 2021

    I would repot it into a beautiful pot thst i have thanks & God Bless

  • Deb K Deb K on Sep 06, 2021

    Hello, 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.

  • Kathleen Kathleen on Apr 19, 2023

    I have a gardenia plant inside and I can't grow any leaves. It's just a plant with stems. what can I do to bring it back to life?

  • Helena Helena on Nov 05, 2023

    To revive a struggling gardenia bush, ensure it's planted in well-drained, acidic soil with partial sunlight. Water it deeply when the soil feels dry to the touch, avoiding over-watering. Prune any dead branches to promote new growth. Apply a fertilizer formulated for acid-loving plants, and check for pests like aphids or spider mites. Mulching can help retain moisture and regulate soil temperature. If indoors, ensure high humidity and adequate light. With proper care, your gardenia should recover.

    There are many gardening tips on the website that may be useful to you in the future.

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Nov 05, 2023

    Dig it out and repot it in new compost!

  • Redcatcec Redcatcec on Nov 05, 2023

    Repot into a larger pot with fresh dirt, add epsom salt to the soil, be careful to not get it onto the plant above the level of the soil. Water.