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Gardenia Plants

Q.Gardenia Plant: Brown Coverings On Stems

Zone 22101 | ruhana.hafiz added on July 6, 2020 | Answered

I live in McLean, VA, US zone 7b. I bought a Semi mature gardenia plant in a pot and reported it in a big container with a drainage hole and saucer. Its on a sunny spot on my deck (~6 hours of sunshine daily). While I see new buds and leaves growing, I noticed the stems being covered with a thin papery brown skin and some leaves are turning yellow. I water it every other day and drain the excess water from the saucer. Is the brown stem covering a disease? Thank you!

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Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Answered on July 7, 2020

Watering on schedule will lead to root rot, usually. Watering should be done as the soil dries, completely, down to about 1 or 2 inches or so. This is a delicate balance, since they do not tolerate dry soils, nor wet soils. The action of drying and re-wetting is what oxygenates the roots, and letting it remain constantly moist will cause the expected. Lack of oxygenation to the root zone. Conditions, such as this, will lead to the environment that promotes microbial growth.

It is important to let the soil dry out, just a little, between watering.

I would treat with a fungicide. This article will help:


This article will help you to grow Gardenias, which can be quite finicky:


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