Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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

Difficulty with Clay Soil from Palm Bay, FL
August 22, 2012 - I had a very nice little native shady area behind my house for over 40 years, but now it has been cleared except for a 100 foot tall live oak in the center of this raised mound (50' x 80'). I've be...
view the full question and answer

Non-native Pride of Barbados for Austin
July 07, 2009 - When does the Pride of Barbados need to be planted and where would I find a nursery that carries them?
view the full question and answer

Identity of plant in Kentucky with fuzzy grayish-green leaves
September 03, 2012 - I would like to know about a plant that I do not know what it is. I had this plant just come up in my flowerbed, that looked like a tobacco plant but the leaves looked like a lambs ear plant. It was ...
view the full question and answer

Is my Crimson queen maple dying?
October 20, 2015 - Is my Crimson queen maple dying if it's leaves are turning brown?
view the full question and answer

How to grow a non-native rue plant in Duncanville TX
March 15, 2010 - Can I grow a Rue plant from a clipping? If so, what do I need to do? Please explain step by step. I'm new to all of this. Thanks
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.