En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Saturday - July 11, 2009

From: San Ramon, CA
Region: California
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Problems with non-native gardenias in San Ramon, CA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a Gardenia tree planted in my front yard that gets shade and sun. It is dropping leaves and the leaves that are left are yellow. I had been watering it every day, but decreased that to every other day. I have another Gardenia tree planted about 10 feet away ( they flank my living room window outdoors ) that is doing just fine, although neither of them have bloomed since I planted them last year. Can you tell me what is wrong with the tree that is having yellowing leaves and de-leaving ? Thank-you

ANSWER:

There is only one gardenia in our Native Plant Database, Gardenia taitensis (Tahitian gardenia) and it is native only to Hawaii. It is more likely that you have Gardenia jasminoides, native to tropical Africa, southern Asia, Australasia and Oceania. At the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, we are committed t the care, propagation and protection of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they are being grown.

We looked for a website that could give you some help, and found this website from eHow: How to Care for a Gardenia Tree.  From that, we picked up this interesting excerpt:

"Gardenia plants thrive in daily temperatures in the low 70s. Do not plant the gardenia outdoors if your region is consistently hotter or colder."

It looks to us like Contra Costa Co., California, is in USDA Hardiness Zone 9, with minimum average annual temperatures from 25 to 30 deg. F, and probably maximum temperatures somewhat above the low '70s. We don't know if that is, indeed, the situation, but check out all of that website and see if you can find the solution to your problem. 


Gardenia taitensis

 

 

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Why aren't my Forsythias blooming in Stone Mountain, GA?
March 24, 2010 - We have a large forsythia stand that has bloomed beautifully for 14 years in a row. Two summers ago I cut them way back in July. For the past two years they have only leafed out, no, or very few bloom...
view the full question and answer

Non-native gardenia in Cedar Park, TX
October 07, 2009 - My gardenia, which is planted in a large pot, drops the buds before they bloom. What do I need to do. I already fertilize it with gardenia food.
view the full question and answer

Plant identification of bamboo-like plant in California
January 10, 2014 - We just bought a house in Cambria, CA. The plant I'd like to ID grows like bamboo -- spreading fibrous stalks abt 6' high with beautiful orange blossoms that protrude out the top of the stalk. The...
view the full question and answer

Problems with non-native Maytens tree in Saratoga, CA
August 05, 2010 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, My friend's Mayten tree (green spray)leaves are yellowing and we don't know if it is under-watered (surrounded by grass and fed with a time sprinkler for 20 min. maybe 2 or ...
view the full question and answer

Are Texas Sage plants being harmed by nearby Rosemary.
June 08, 2015 - For 6+ years I've been growing Rosemary shrubs interspersed with Texas Sage. For the past two years the Texas Sage has been looking sickly and have not produced any flowers and the Rosemary is becom...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center