Q:

How do I give my gardenias the best care?

A:

Quick Answer

Gardeners can care for gardenias by fertilizing the shrub during its growing season. Gardenias also benefit from weekly watering with at least an inch of water or rainwater.

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Full Answer

Gardenias thrive in moist and acidic soil. Before planting gardenias, the soil should be pH tested. The ideal pH range is between 5.0 and 6.0. If the soil?s pH is too high, gardeners can apply sulfur to reduce the pH level. An acidic fertilizer, coffee grounds and blood meal also help maintain the soil?s pH balance as well as encourage growth and flowering. The best times to apply these fertilizers are during the early and late spring. To maintain adequate moisture levels, gardeners should check the water level every couple of days, especially if gardenias grown inside the home. The soil needs to be moist but not wet, as wet soil may cause leaves to yellow.

Gardenias require regular care and attentiveness. Frequent deadheading, or removal of faded flowers, encourages the gardenia to branch and flower. Gardenias attract white flies, aphids, spider mites and other insects, which may destroy leaves or impair their growth. To prevent this, gardeners can apply an insecticidal soap. As an alternative to caring for a gardenia, HGTV suggests buying and planting gardenias while they are in bloom and then discarding the shrub when it declines.

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