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Gardenia

Question:

I received such a beautiful house tree/plant (I’m not sure which it should be referred to) this morning for Mother’s Day & I’m not quite sure what it is or how to take care of it! After submitting a description of it on the internet, I think it might be an azalea tree but the flowers do not appear to be what I remember azaleas look like. I will submit a picture to you as well as do my best to describe what it looks like & hopefully you will be able to tell me what my beautiful Mother’s Day gift is! Also, if you are able to identify it, any information about how to care for it would be greatly appreciated!! In my 43 years, I have never had a “green thumb” & would love to keep this one healthy!

Description:  the trunk is approximately 1 1/2-2 ft tall & braided, there are many dark green, oval & 1″ long (give or take the length) leaves surrounding the pink blooms, and as I stated above, the blooms look almost exactly like mini carnations.

I hope between the picture & description you will be able to help me!

Answer:

I wish I could gift you by telling you that your pink Gardenia is an easy to care for plant, but I cannot. The photo is a bit fuzzy and I cannot see the foliage clearly, but I do believe it is a Gardenia. This is an expensive plant that florists sell at this time of year to unsuspecting loved ones who have no idea how difficult they are to care for, even for experienced green thumbs.

Gardenias are temperature sensitive and very difficult to get to re-bloom outside of the greenhouse. Try to keep yours in temperatures between 60 and 70 degrees and close to a sunny window. Check the soil regularly and water as soon as the surface of the soil is almost dry. Individual flowers usually last for only about a week. If temperatures and light and watering are all on target, then new buds will open as older flowers fade. However, if any of those three condition are off-target, then the buds will fall off before opening. This ois a comon occurrence.

After it has finished flowering, it is not likely to ever flower again and that is the point of having these plants. If you want, you can keep your Gardenia as a foliage plant by providing lots of bright indoor light and watering as I described. Cool temperatures are important for flowering, but less important for foliage growth.

I wish I had better news for you, but I wish you a happy Mother’s Day nonetheless.