Blackening of Gardenia Bush
The bark and leaves of my gardenia bush is black. It comes off when I wipe the leaves after watering it. But the bark is crusted with it. Also broke a piece of bark off and it has bugs in it. What can I do to clean the leaves and bush and make it healthier? It is getting ready to bloom soon so I don't want to cut the branches back.
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
This is sooty mold. It happens when the plant gets a pest infestation. I would recommend using neem oil, as this will get rid of the sooty mold fungus and kill the pests. Here are some articles that will help you: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/plant-problems/disease/how-to-get-rid-of-sooty-mold.htm, https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/problems/pests/neem-oil-uses.htm