Gardenias need acid soil, good drainage, ample water, full sun along coast, part shade inland, and regular fertilizing. If buds fall off it’s not from disease as often supposed, but because plants didn’t get 20 degrees difference between day and night temperatures during spring and early summer. Patios are often too warm at night. Insist on a grafted plant. ‘Aimée’, ‘Belmont’, ‘Mystery’ or cold-tolerant ‘Chuck Hayes’, are good varieties. (Heat-tolerant ‘Kleim’s Hardy’ with single, star-shaped flowers doesn’t need grafting.)
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