Gardenia Flower
gardenia bush
(Image credit: Clarence E Jones III)

While their fragrant, creamy white flowers, tucked amid glossy evergreen foliage make gardenia plants (Gardenia augusta syn. G. jasminoides) a popular addition in or around the home, these stunning beauties are not the easiest plants to grow. Often gardeners have issues with gardenia buds falling off the plant or when gardenia buds won't bloom. Let's look at some of the issues that can cause this.

Dropping of Buds on Gardenia Bushes

A commonly seen problem is gardenia buds falling off plants. This can be caused by a variety of things. Probably the most common reason for gardenia buds falling off plants is a change in location. Gardenias do not like to be disturbed. They are extremely sensitive to being moved or even touched. Try to keep gardenia flower plants in one location, moving as little as possible. Dropping of buds on gardenia bushes can also be due to improper watering. Gardenias like to be kept moist. If they are allowed to dry out too much, they will respond by dropping their buds. Insufficient watering, as well as overly dry air, causes the buds to rot. Keep the soil evenly moist and increase humidity levels.

Gardenia Buds Won't Bloom

Even under the best of circumstances, problems with gardenia flower buds happen. For instance, one common problem is when gardenia buds won't bloom. Not enough humidity is oftentimes the reason for this, therefore, you should increase the humidity levels in the home using a humidifier or placing a tray of pebbles with water beneath the pot. Seasonal changes can also inhibit blooms, as gardenia flowers come in and out of bloom with the seasons.

Prevent Gardenia Buds Falling Off Plant

Proper care of gardenia flowers will help prevent gardenia buds from falling off. Sometimes when gardenia buds won't bloom or fall off, it is due to improper care. Gardenia flowers require lots of light, however, you should avoid direct sunlight. These plants also prefer to be kept moist, not wet, but do require slightly drier conditions during non-flowering intervals. Use peat-based potting soil, if possible. While gardenia flower plants will tolerate a range of temperatures, they prefer cool nights, between 60 and 65 degrees F. (16-18 C.), and warmer days, about ten degrees higher. Gardenia flowers thrive in humid conditions, therefore, the use of humidifiers or pebble trays is important, especially during winter. Gardenias benefit from a monthly dose of fertilizer and, although not a requirement, gardenias can be pruned for shape after flowering has ceased.

Other Problems with Gardenias

In addition to non-blooming buds and the dropping of buds on gardenia bushes, other problems may be seen, such as the yellowing or dropping of leaves. Exposure to extreme temperatures, especially cold, can lead to all of these problems. Make sure that gardenia plants are kept away from drafts. Improper watering due to overwatering can cause problems as well. Check to see if the plant is too wet. Also, use distilled water whenever possible, as gardenias are sensitive to large amounts of lime found in regular tap water. Leaf or bud drop is common when gardenia plants are too dry, either from lack of moisture in the soil or air. Once again, increasing humidity levels can help. Poor light conditions are another possible reason. Keep gardenias in well-lit areas. Growing gardenia flowers doesn't have to be a chore. Provide the best optimal care and these magnificent plants will reward you with beautiful, fragrant blooms.

Nikki Tilley
Senior Editor

Nikki Tilley has been gardening for nearly three decades. The former Senior Editor and Archivist of Gardening Know How, Nikki has also authored six gardening books.