Buying a gardenia plant only to see the flowers quickly turn brown can be a frustrating experience. You can, however, easily remedy this all-too-common problem. Brown gardenia flowers will quickly return to their creamy hue if you take the right measures. Providing the proper care to gardenias will prevent the flowers from browning and keep them looking their best.
Lack of Light
Lack of sunlight contributes to the discolouration of gardenia flowers. Even if you don't have natural sunlight in your home, you can easily improve the flowers' colour or prevent their browning by installing an incandescent light near your plant. Brown gardenia flowers will quickly return to the desired shade.
Gardenia flowers also commonly turn brown when you transport them from one location to another. Transporting them from a greenhouse to your garden, for instance, might change their hue. You can easily prevent this, however, if you give them extra light as soon as you have finished transplanting. Always plan ahead before you move a gardenia and be prepared to provide it with some extra care in its new location.
Gardenia flower discolouration can be a result of giving your plants a little too much love. If you overwater your gardenia plant, you might end up with brown buds that fall off the plant. Watering the right amount can prevent this from happening and can keep the flowers looking their best. Gardenias prefer soil that is uniformly moist. Stick your finger 1 to 2 inches into the soil. If the soil feels moist, don't water. If it isn't moist, water it until the water flows out the bottom of the pot. Do not let the gardenia sit in water, however. The best way to tell if you're watering your gardenia properly is to get a moisture meter. If the reading is above a 4 on a scale from 1 to 10, then you should not water. If your gardenia plants seem to be turning brown, it might be a good idea to mist them instead of watering them. Stop watering and start misting if your plants seem dry; you can resume watering them once they no longer seem dry.
Protect Your Gardenia Plants from Insects
Some insects, particularly spider mites, can damage gardenias. You might find these pests underneath the buds. Check your gardenia plants periodically to be sure they aren't infected with insects or other pests.
Planting in the Correct Temperature
Although gardenia plants are resilient, they thrive best when planted in a slightly cool area. If possible, you should keep your plants in a cool room to prevent the gardenia flowers from turning brown. If you are planting your gardenias outdoors, keep in mind that they look best when daytime temperatures are between 20 and 21.1 degrees Celsius, and the nighttime temperature is around 15.6 degrees Celsius. Keep in mind, though, that gardenia flowers are prone to brown if they are moved from one temperature to another.
- Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service; Gardenia Insects & Related Pests; J. McLeod Scott, et al.; August 2010
- "Texas Master Gardener Handbook"; Houseplants; Douglas F. Welsh, et al.
- University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences; Growing Gardenias in Florida; Joan Bradshaw, et al.; 2009