Q.Three weeks ago I planted three Gardenia bushes outdoors. I watered them thoroughly when planted and Ive watered them weekly and
once with Maxsea, a acid fertilizer. But two of the plants have wilting leaves and appear to be too dry. The soil appears to be reasonably moist. Do you have any suggestions? Thank You.. –Jon Grant
Jon, You fertilized way too soon after planting and used a high nitrogen chemical fertilizer. Normally you shouldn't fertilize for the first month or two, until the plants start to put out some new growth.
Gardenias are sensitive and I suspect that it is either that, or they have also suffered physiological stress ("transplant shock") from root disturbance and/or drying out, even for a few minutes when the roots are exposed, during the planting process.
Water deeply and heavily to dilute and leach some of the high salts chemical fertilizer. Apply peat moss or compost mulch. Attend to a good water management program in that harsh desert climate.
Wait until February to fertilize again. And consider using a more mild, slow release organic fertilizer like the Dr Earth Acid Lovers on this page: