Caring for gardenias

Guy Barter, Head of Horticultural Advice at the RHS, answers your gardening questions
Gardenia
Use rainwater or deionised water on gardenias
Question: I bought a gardenia plant six months ago and it is not doing well. The leaves are falling off and the tips are turning yellow. I have tried repotting and applying fertiliser but nothing seems to work. Any tips would be helpful.

Answer: Gardenia are rather fickle; I think the likeliest cause is inadvertent over-watering - check the roots and if they are dead and rotted then consider repotting in a smaller pot.

If the roots are sound but the compost is on the wet side, dry it off with kitchen towels and go easy on the drink in future. Ideally, use rainwater or deionised water sold for car batteries or steam irons.

Send your questions for Guy Barter to: gardenproblems@standard.co.uk.

Only one question per fortnight can be answered. For further advice on handling problems in your garden, visit www.rhs.org.uk/advice/index.asp.

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