Gardenia Bud Drop: What Causes It and How To Prevent it


Did you know that gardenia bushes are part of the Rubiaceae, or Coffee, plant family?

These elegant flowers are native to tropical and subtropical regions and come in a wide range of colors. Yet, it’s white gardenias that are the most popular.

Gardenia plants dropping buds. We share reasons whyGardenia plants dropping buds. We share reasons why

While beautiful and fragrant, gardenias can be quite demanding. They need constant management, which, if not done right, can cause problems.

One common problem is Gardenia buds drop off the plant before they’ve had a chance to bloom.

Why Do Gardenia Flower Buds Drop?

Gardenia buds tend to drop from their plant for several reasons. The most common is inadequate watering of potted plants. Soil that’s either too dry or too wet has a bad effect on these delicate plants.

You’ll find more reasons for this problem below, as well as some tips on how to fix each one.

7 Reasons Why Your Gardenia Buds Are Dropping

Read on for some common factors causing your gardenia buds to drop before they’ve had a chance to bloom.

Dry Soil and Uneven Watering

Gardenias flourish when the soil is moist. When their soil dries up, their buds tend to fall off.

Try to keep an eye on the soil to make sure it’s always moist. Moisture levels should be evenly distributed. The soil should never be soaking wet or soggy.

Tip: Use peat-based potting soil whenever you can. You can find it online or make it yourself and save yourself some money.

Too Much Lime

If you’re using good-old tap water to keep your gardenias moist, then it’s time for a change. Regular tap water contains large amounts of minerals, which is why it may appear cloudy at times.

Gardenias are sensitive to these minerals, especially lime. If you’re watering your gardenias with tap water, this could be one reason causing the buds to drop.

Tip: Switching to distilled water can help prevent gardenia buds from dropping. Distilled water boosts plant health and allows it to grow more heartily.

Dry Air

We mentioned earlier that gardenias are native to the tropics and subtropics. Still, you may be surprised to know they don’t like dry air.

Try to increase humidity levels for your gardenia plants, especially in the winter. One thing you can do is to use a pebble tray underneath the flower pot. Fill the tray with water and throw in some pebbles.

Your gardenia plant will soak up the humidity it needs when the water evaporates. At the same time, the pebbles keep the pot raised so the roots don’t become saturated in the water.

Tip: If it’s an indoor plant, use a humidifier. It’s a great way to keep your gardenia plant vibrant and healthy year-round. Plus, humidifiers are good for you and your home as well.

Too Much Sunlight

Gardenias can be picky when it comes to light. They prefer filtered or indirect light and don’t do well in direct sunlight, especially in hot climates.

To prevent buds from wilting and dropping off, place your gardenias somewhere well-lit. It should be somewhere that gets minimal direct sunlight.

If it’s an indoor plant, make sure you place it near a sunny window where it can get 6 – 8 hours of light daily.

Tip: Place your gardenias in a place that gets filtered shade. This way, they get the light they need without being subjected to harsh, direct sunlight.

Change in Location

Gardenias are super sensitive when it comes to their location. Once they’ve started growing, they don’t like to be moved or touched, or disturbed in any way.

Pro-tip: Before your plant, your gardenias, plan ahead. Observe your garden or home closely throughout the day for the perfect spot to place your gardenia plant.

Harsh Changes in Temperatures

Because they’re typically found in hot climates, gardenias can tolerate varying degrees of temperatures. For example, during the days, they flourish when it’s between 70 – 75° degrees Fahrenheit. At night, they prefer cooler temperatures, which range between 60 – 65° degrees Fahrenheit.

Above all, gardenias are highly sensitive to drastic temperature changes.

Tip: Add some mulch around the plant to stabilize its core temperature. This can make it less susceptible to varying temperature changes.

Lack of Nutrients

If your gardenia plant is lacking in nutrients, it may start dropping its buds. A great way to enhance plant health is to add fertilizer once a month. This is preferably done from March to October, which is their growing season.

Avoid fertilizing gardenias from November to February when they’re mostly dormant.

Gardenias are acid loving plants and prefer acidic soil. A gardenia fertilizer should be high in acidity with a pH level between 5.0 and 5.5.

You can choose to mix the fertilizer directly into the soil. Another way you can try is to dissolve the fertilizer in the water, then apply it to the soil.

Tip: Fertilizers that contain iron and/or copper can boost flower growth. They can also improve the health of plant leaves. Gardenia plants can experience iron deficiency or iron chlorosis. One ounce of iron mixed in water or iron chelate for plants once per month can usually fix the problem.

A Final Note Dropping Gardenia Buds

Many people love the idea of having fragrant and graceful gardenias in their gardens. Yet, these plants need round-the-clock care, or they’ll start showing signs of trouble.

Use our plant guide to find what causes gardenia bud drop on your plant. Soon, you’ll have healthy, thriving gardenias all year round.

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