My Gardenia Is Dying – What To Do?

Keeping all the plants in your garden happy and healthy can sometimes feel overwhelming. Do you have a gardenia you're noticing looks sick but have no idea how to save it? What are the symptoms of a dying gardenia plant? Lucky for you, we've done our research and have the answers below. Let's discuss!

If your gardenia flower begins to die, you need to act fast. Most importantly, gardenias need proper watering and good soil conditions to thrive.

For that reason, if yours is dying, we recommend removing it from the ground, amending its current soil, and making sure not to over or underwater it.

You can also try pruning off any dead sections of your plant once it is situated back into the ground.

As we begin, we will cover all things gardenias and discuss how to prevent one from dying. Whether this is your first time dealing with a sick plant or you notice this happens yearly, we're here to help. With that said, let's dive right into this topic!

white gardenia flower dying and leaves, My Gardenia Is Dying - What To Do?

Why Is My Gardenia Dying?

One of the more common causes of a dying gardenia is over-saturated soil. Typically, if you overwater gardenia regularly, this can eventually trigger their roots to drown.

This can also occur if the ground conditions around your plant are moist. For example, even if you aren't overwatering your gardenia, wet soil from natural climates can cause it to become waterlogged.

You could also have your plant in an over-shady location. Generally, gardenias prefer full sun or light shade, which can also help prevent root rot and overwatering.

Another common reason for dying gardenia is overfertilizing. Although giving your flower a boost of energy can be helpful every so often, doing this excessively can threaten your plant's health.

Pests and diseases can also target gardenia if your plant is already showing signs of death. If your flower is suffering from overwatering or lack of sunlight, that opens the door to disease.

As we said, the best way to handle a dying gardenia is to remove it from the ground and amend the soil, so that's a good first step to take.

The last thing you want to do is wait too long to save your plant and lose it.

dying Gardenia jasminoides in garden

Can You Save A Dying Gardenia?

Yes! If you act fast, you can generally save a dying gardenia. As we mentioned earlier, overwatering affects gardenias the most and can cause them to die.

If you find yourself in this situation, the best thing you can do is remove your flower from its pot or ground. You want to allow any excess water to drain from your plant's root system, allowing it to breathe for a few days.

We also recommend amending the soil where your plant was. Use fresh, dry soil with plenty of nutrients to ensure your gardenia survives when it's back in the ground.

Furthermore, you may also want to relocate your gardenia to a brighter, warmer location. Most times, the shadier a garden, the more prone to waterlogging its plants are, so this is crucial.

If you recently fertilized your flower, make sure to leave it be for a month or two. Even though fertilizing a plant can feel beneficial, too many nutrients can burn its roots.

You may even want to treat your dying gardenia with a fungicide if the overwatering/lack of sunlight is severe, so don't take anything off the table.

What Happens If I Overwater A Gardenia?

Dying Gardenia

If you get too crazy with your watering schedule, expect your gardenia to look sick. In general, once a gardenia becomes overly saturated, it will begin to discolor and die off.

Therefore, we recommend feeling the ground near your plant's base before adding water to prevent this from happening altogether.

However, if the damage is done, you want to let your plant dry out for a week or two. Ideally, you will remove the gardenia from its current spot and place it somewhere else with better sun and less moisture.

Especially if you have a gardenia growing inside a pot or planter, too much water can be deadly.

The best way to handle this is to create a routine watering system so you don't kill your flower by accident. You can also purchase a moisture meter to stick in the ground before you water, which can be helpful inside and out.

XLUX Soil Moisture Meter

This meter reads the water in the ground, works inside and outdoors, is easy to read, doesn't require batteries, and has a seven-inch probe.

Follow this link to see it on Amazon.

What Does An Overwatered Gardenia Look Like?

There are signs to look for anyone thinking they may have overwatered their gardenia. Typically, when a gardenia plant has too much moisture, it will begin to turn yellow.

You will start to see this at your flower's base, ultimately spreading throughout. There will also be a bit of leaf dropping in an overwatered gardenia, so if yours looks frail, that could be why.

In addition, an overwatered gardenia may develop brown leaf tips. When you see this, your plant is likely in the more serious phase of the dying process and might not be salvageable.

Again, it's imperative to find the root of the issue and address it ASAP when it comes to gardenias, so time is of the essence.

How Often Should I Water A Gardenia?

Gardenia jasminoides, commonly called common gardenia or cape jasmine, is native to Japan and southern China and is an evergreen shrub

In general, gardenias need roughly one inch of water per week. Depending on the season and size of your plant, you may need to adjust that amount.

According to HGTV, it's best not to let gardenias dry out entirely between waterings. So if the ground feels slightly wet but not too saturated, you should be fine to add more water.

As we said, you can use a soil moisture meter to test the ground beforehand to be on the safer side.

Soil drainage also plays a key role here. If the ground beneath your gardenia is compacted or doesn't have enough holes for water and air to move freely, that can become deadly.

For that reason, you want to make sure your dirt is porous, mixed with gravel or sand, and doesn't become too tightly packed together.

Are Gardenias Drought Tolerant?

No, gardenias aren't drought tolerant. Unfortunately, this flowering shrub won't do well without water, just like it doesn't like too much either.

One of the first mistakes people make when caring for this plant is not following a watering schedule. As we covered above, a gardenia plant only needs about an inch of water each week.

That is not very much and can be spaced out over seven days. However, you don't want to skip watering a gardenia for more than a week or so either.

Doing this can cause its roots to dry out, ultimately sending your flower into shock. Remember, gardenias are sensitive, so too much or too little of anything can be detrimental to their health.

Where Is The Best Place To Grow Gardenias?

In general, the best place for a gardenia is somewhere bright, warm, and nutrient-rich. According to, you want your flower to get plenty of morning light, with more shade through the afternoon.

If you live in a hot climate, it may be best to grow gardenia somewhere with partial shade. Even though this plant species love the sun, too much heat can burn your plant in the summer months.

Furthermore, the ground where you have a gardenia is critical. For example, if your yard has clay or compacted soil, you want to ensure it is mixed with sand or gravel beforehand.

Drainage can significantly affect the lifespan and health of a gardenia, so it's good to cover all factors.

How Much Sun Should A Gardenia Get Per Day?

For those wondering about how much sun exposure a gardenia needs daily: aim for at least four hours. If your flower doesn't receive at least four hours of direct sun daily, it may have trouble growing.

Also, considering that gardenias are prone to waterlog, not giving yours enough sun can cause this to be even more frequent.

The warmth from the sun can help dry the soil around your gardenia, which will prevent its roots from drowning or becoming unhealthy.

Additionally, you want to ensure your gardenia sees plenty of light in the morning hours. Sometimes, the afternoon sun can be too extreme on your plant, so the growing location can be tricky.

If you're stuck, you can always try pot-growing a gardenia and moving it around your garden until it finds the perfect location.

Every state/climate will affect gardenia differently, so expect to undergo trial and error.

How Long Do Gardenias Live?

Pretty gardenia flower (Gardenia jasminoides) blooming in the green garden

On average, you can usually expect a gardenia to live between 30 and 50 years. Of course, this will vary depending on the growing conditions and whether you maintain your flower well.

Although this species is somewhat temperamental, gardenias are also quite resilient. As we mentioned, you can typically save a dying gardenia if you act quickly, so don't count your plant out if times get rough.

To Conclude

white gardenia flower dying and leaves

Whether you have many gardenias in your garden or want to plant one, it's essential to know how to maintain and grow them. We found that a dying gardenia can be saved if you work fast.

Generally, you want to remove the dying gardenia from its current spot, let it dry, and amend its soil. From there, you need to carefully monitor how much water and sun it gets for a few weeks afterward.

Regardless of where you live, don't overwater or overfertilize your gardenia, and don't be afraid to use a moisture meter in the ground before you water!

Made it to the end? Check out these helpful related posts below!

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How To Overwinter Gardenia - In Pots And In Ground

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