How To Prevent Gardenia Leaves From Turning Yellow

The Gardenia plant is a delicate, evergreen shrub with rich perfume and substantial white blooms. They have been named after Alexander Garden, a well-known botanist. It originates from China. Gardenia is primarily an outdoor plant; growing it indoors can be very hectic. It was used as herbal medicine for centuries. It has a yellow fruit which is used to make dye traditionally which was later used as food colour and colour clothing.Growing this Gardenia plant can be a challenge for gardeners at times.

The plant is more delicate and needs more attention than other plants. Gardenias can be grown in pots indoors, and you can put them outside on warm days and then take them inside during the cold season.

Unfortunately, Gardenias tend to grow smaller in about five years and are best replaced with other new plants. Gardenias have wide varieties you can choose from, depending on your desire. Other Gardenias bloom later and others during early summer.

How to Grow a Gardenia Plant

The best time to plant Gardenias trees is during fall. To those around areas that get light frost, the best time to plant Gardenias is at minimum six weeks before the fall arrives. Those in cooler regions are advised to grow in the spring, ensuring your plant has enough time to settle before the winter strikes. It would be good to plant the gardenias in lime-free soil and out of direct sunlight but in good light. It would be best to use rainwater to ensure the compost is moist and regularly feed it. The indoor Gardenia plants need an even temperature and o good humidity level to flourish.

Caring and Maintenance for a Gardenia plant

1. Plant your Gardenia Plant during Spring

Gardenias perform the best during the day from 65 to 70 degrees and at night from 60 to 65 degrees. If it is colder in spring in your area, the best time to plant the Gardenia is in the late spring. You may want to plant it in the late winter and early spring if it is hotter.

2. Choose a Place With Light Shade or Full Sun

You must know that a Gardenia should acquire an average of 6 to 8 hours of sunlight daily. You will need to look for a place with morning light and shade in the afternoon to avoid your plant getting scorched. You should place potted Gardenias in a spot with no direct sunlight and try and put your plant beside the window for indoor plants. For the outside Gardenia, you should at least place it on a balcony or a less shaded deck.

3.Test for a PH of 5 to 6 on Your Soil

The best soil to plant a Gardenia is acidic soil since they like it. You should test the soil and choose where you want to grow your Gardenia. You can buy a probe from the store or make the soil acidic by buying sulfur and adding the correct and recommended amount to the ground. Do not plant your Gardenia near a foundation because the earth will be too alkaline.

4. Move the Plant to Soil Rich in Nutrients

You can buy peat moss and add it to the organic soil or make compost at home by adding and combining dead plants, leftover food and water. Dig a hole, place your Gardenia, and fill the hole you dug halfway with some soil.

Why do Gardenia Leaves Turn Yellow?

When Gardenia leaves turn yellow, they are usually said to be sick. There is always a cause for Gardenias to turn yellow, and there are other reasons why Gardenias turn yellow apart from chlorosis, where the plant lacks enough chlorophyll. The first thing you should do is have your soil tested for possible nutrient deficiencies. There can also be natural reasons for the gardenia plant to turn yellow; sometimes, it does not mean it is affecting your plant badly.

1. The Gardenia could be Ageing

It is one natural exception for gardenias to turn yellow, and it should not worry you at any cost. The old gardenias would turn yellow and drop, which tends to happen more often during winter and fall. When you notice a leaf turning yellow on your Gardenia, this should not cause an alarm, and you will not be required to do anything about it. Allow its natural course to take over, or you can cut it for decorative reasons.

2. Overwatering

When you overwater a gardenia, it is a mistake that you should not commit at any cost. Overwatering a gardenia will cause the leaves to turn yellow and sometimes brown. This browning will be noticed starting from the tips and will progress and take over more parts of the leaf. It is severe and can cause your plant to have root rot which is a dangerous effect on your plant.

3. Underwatering

If you underwater your plant, the leaves will eventually turn yellow, becoming dry. They have brown patches starting from the tip but not as a constant progression. Your Gardenia plant should not be completely dry, which can lead to your Gardenia plant death.

4. Root Rot

It is a severe problem and can even cause you to lose your gardenia plant. It is not rare for it to occur but can be problematic if it does happen. If your Gardenia has root rot and has not recovered in two or three weeks, the yellowing will worsen and spread to the branches. If something like this does happen, you will need quick action before your plant dies.

5. Poor Drainage

When there is poor drainage, the outcomes of your plant will resemble those of an overwatered plant. You must ensure your soil has enough sand but not too much because sand does not support growth. Poor drainage might also cause problems like fungus gnats developing, which can disturb the gardenia plant.

6. Excessive Light

Excessive light can cause yellowing on your gardenia plant leaves. Too much light can cause a massive problem whether your gardenia plant is indoors or outdoors. Too much light will scorch the plants and leave the leaves turning yellow and dry. Gardenias love the sunlight when it is fresh but prefer shade during the hot times of the day.

7. Little Light can Cause Your Gardenia to Turn Yellow

If it occurs that the light is scarce, the leaves would automatically lose their green colour and turn yellow. It will happen slower than when too much light and will occur uniformly. They do not just turn yellow; the leaves would turn pale green at first and lose the dark sheen green they first had when they were healthy and alive. This pale green would turn yellow after a while, and sadly you might lose the leaf forever. It can affect the leaves altogether or one side of the plant.

8. Nutrient deficiency

Nutrient deficiency is the most common cause of the leaves turning yellow on a gardenia plant. When you notice some brown dots, deformed leaves or yellow patches, your gardenia plant suffers from nutrient deficiency. There are two causes of nutrient deficiency: high soil Ph and poor feeding. Poor feeding occurs typically when the plant is in a pot or using the wrong fertilizers, even if it is an organic fertilizer. Organic matters like compost will directly feed the soil and give the Gardenia all the food it requires, while fertilizers feed the ground, not the plant.

9. Insects

Naturally, insects contain toxins that will enter the plant cells when they suck the plant’s sap. They will cause small black spots, and the leaf will eventually turn yellow. The most common insects that affect the gardenia leaf are the mealybugs. Ants, aphids, caterpillars and mites are insects that affect the gardenia plants. Where the insects move, there will be yellow spots left, which usually happens on the lower surface of the leaf since most insects have a habit of staying there. So you use constantly check the lower part of your leaf.

10. Improper Ph

Gardenia plants love acidic soil and need it to gain and absorb its required nutrients properly. The gardenia plant does well in soil with a ph of 5 to 6. If the ph of the earth is low or high, the gardenia plants will be unable to absorb their required nutrients like zinc, iron, nitrogen and magnesium. Lack of proper soil ph will lead to the gardenia plant turning yellow.

How to Care for Your Gardenia if it is Turning Yellow

1. Increase watering

Ensure you water your gardenia plant immediately when you notice that you have underwatered the plant. Do not give it water in excess but just the correct amount of water. Water your Gardenia one week later, and do not get tempted to give your plant extra watering only if it is scorching. Always ensure you continue the proper routine, and do not forget to include the rainy days.

2. Reduce Watering

In the case of overwatering, you should suspend watering the plant immediately and add sand soil to the plant’s soil. You should give it time; if the situation doesn’t improve, you should check for root rot. You can stop watering the plant and restart after a few weeks. It would be best to wait for the soil to be pretty but not too dry.

3. Improve Drainage

If the pot of your gardenia plant does not have drainage, you can create drainage holes and repot your plant by placing it in good soil with excellent drainage. You can sand soil or perlite to ensure the soil is drained.

4. Sunlight

As you know, gardenias require a minimum of 6 hours of light. You should ensure that you protect your plant from something that hinders them from getting the necessary amount of sunlight. When your plant has brown or yellow leaves, it is evident that your gardenia plant is receiving too little light or a vast amount of the sun. The best way to plant your Gardenia is where they can receive a good amount of soil during the morning and little in the hot afternoons.

5. Control the pests and diseases

You can use fungicide for fungal diseases or prune your gardenia plant to allow enough light and air circulation to reduce the fungus development. You can easily prepare fungicides at home, and for pests and insects, there are insecticides.

6. Boost nutrients

Good fertilizers that contain magnesium, nitrogen, iron, and some other nutrients for your gardenia plant are among the easiest ways to boost soil nutrients. If your soil lacks magnesium, you can easily mix one gallon of water with one tablespoon of Epsom salt. Add a quarter tablespoon of iron chelate to your plant when it lacks iron. You can use a cup of coffee grounds when your plant lacks nitrogen.

7. Check the Ph of the Soil

Ensure you check the soil ph using the meter. If the ph of the soil is in the required amount, then this might not be the cause of the gardenia plant to turn yellow. You should consider adding acidifiers to ensure that the ph has been reduced if it is above 6.5. You can easily make a homemade solution to acidify the soil. You can mix five tablespoons of vinegar with one litre of water and pour the results into the base or pour one cup of coffee around the bottom of the gardenia plant.


Gardenia plants turn yellow sometimes just due to ageing. Mostly this can be natural seasonal shedding or some changes that are occurring to your tree. The leading causes for the Gardenia turn yellow are overwatering, underwatering, change in the level of sunlight and mineral deficiency. Caring for your Gardenia plant is not that challenging as long as you use their unique tools and techniques to care for them. Ensure that the soil of your Gardenia remains acidic, add nutrient-rich fertilizers, use insecticides and grow your gardenia plant in a well-drained pot