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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.

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

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Wednesday - October 07, 2009

From: Cedar Park, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Non-native gardenia in Cedar Park, TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

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.

ANSWER:

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is committed to the use, care and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which it is grown. The only gardenia in our Native Plant Database is Gardenia taitensis (Tahitian gardenia), native to Hawaii. We found a website from lovetoknow Gardenia Plant Care that might help you out. However, we noticed right away at least a couple of reasons why your plant is not flourishing. In the first place, gardenias, native to China and Japan, need to be in USDA Hardiness Zones 9 to 10. Williamson County is in Zone 8, so survival of the plant outside would be marginal. Second, the gardenia requires very acid soil, and Central Texas soils are very alkaline, as in very non-acid. 

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Gardenia taitensis

 

 

 

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