Gardenias are evergreen shrubs that produce beautiful, highly scented white flowers. Flowers are similar to roses, so if you don’t pay close attention to them you can confuse them. They are generally used as ornamental plants and also to form fences. They are plants that grow very well in Mediterranean climates and are resistant to drought to some extent. But how much can a gardenia withstand overwatering? we will answer that question in this post.
If you forget to water your gardenias, you will cause stress on the plants. If this continues for a long time, the first thing it will do is loosen the closed cocoons. After this, you will begin to see its leaves wither and the plant will end up dying. If you are overwatering, the symptoms are different, but the end result is the same, your gardenia will die.
1. Best tips for watering gardenia
Watering in gardenias, as in any outdoor plant, goes hand in hand with the rains. The less rain, the greater amount of irrigation to apply.
Its flowering is during the summer, it coincides with the highest temperatures, so this season is when it needs the greatest amount of irrigation. You must apply at least one weekly watering, especially if it has not rained.
It is important that you control the humidity of the soil. Gardenias do not like excess water, but the soil must be moist. When you see that the first centimeter of soil has dried, you should water. You should always do it without flooding or causing flooding.
In extremely hot and dry situations, the frequency of irrigation can be increased to two irrigations per week. While during the cold months (autumn and winter) it will be enough to water every 10 or 15 days. The plant is resting in these months so it does not need a large amount of water.
2. Overwatered gardenia
We have already seen how to water a gardenia. It’s not complicated, don’t you think? But although it is simple, it is very common for you to do it wrong and end up watering in amounts greater than what the plant needs.
When it comes to watering your gardenias, and in case you are not sure, it is better to stay short with the amount to exceed. You are always in time to reapply a new watering if you have fallen short, but removing the water already applied is impossible.
In this section, we’ll see what happens when you overwater a gardenia and what you can do to fix it.
2.1 What does an overwatered gardenia look like?
If you’ve applied a lot of water to a gardenia, you won’t notice symptoms instantly. Problems will start if the plant is exposed to excess water for several days, even weeks.
After that time, you will begin to see that the plant will look dull and unhealthy. It is very common that we believe that it has been attacked by some plague or virus. Its leaves may start to turn yellow and begin to fall off.
The longer your gardenia is exposed to this excess water, the more irreversible the situation will be. If you notice that its leaves and stems are too soft, it will be very difficult to save the plant. You can almost give her up for dead now.
2.2 Signs of overwatering in gardenias
When gardenia soil is moist for a long time, its roots cannot absorb the nutrients and oxygen it needs. Therefore, the first thing you will notice is that your plant looks somewhat sick. It’s like you can’t eat well, you’ll look weak.
This weakening and the large amount of moisture in the soil make it prone to root rot. This fungal disease is very difficult to treat, making it difficult to save the plant.
On some occasions, an excess of water can cause the appearance of white spots on the foliage. Then the tonality of the leaves will stop being an intense green, turning to yellowish tones. After a few days, the leaves will start to wilt.
One last symptom of an overwatered gardenia is softening of the stems and leaves. And as we said in the previous section, this appears when the problem is serious and almost irreversible.
2.3 How to Rescue an Overwatered gardenia
When trying to rescue a gardenia with excessive watering, two factors enter, which will define what we should do:
- The seriousness of the problem, do we suspect that there is root rot?
- Do we have our potted gardenia on the ground?
The combination of both situations will bring us different ways of acting. Let’s try to analyze each case.
2.3.1 Potted garedenia
If you have your gardenia in a pot, and you notice that there is excess watering, you should stop watering and take the pot to a place with good sun exposure. Do not apply more water until the soil is completely dry.
Stopping watering is a solution when the problem is not serious. If the leaves have started to get mushy, it is very likely that there is root rot. If so, you must act faster.
Start by taking the plant out of the pot and looking at the roots. If you notice that they are somewhat slimy and discolored, you are in the presence of root rot.
You should remove any roots that appear rotten. Next, proceed to transplanting your gardenia with a different soil than was previously in the pot. If you are going to use the same pot you must disinfect it, otherwise the fungi will return to the roots.
2.3.2 Outdoor gardenias
For mild symptoms of root rot, treatment is the same as in a pot. You should stop watering and not water until a good layer of top soil has completely dried.
Now, when serious symptoms begin to appear, with suspicion of root rot, the treatment is complicated. This is because it is not highly recommended to remove the plant from the ground to remove rotten roots. Especially in large plants, if it is a young gardenia it can be done.
What you should do is apply some fungicidal treatment. To do this, it is advisable to seek advice to find out which fungus is the one that has caused the problems. Otherwise, the fungicide may not be effective.
If the fungicide treatment doesn’t work, as a last resort, you can remove the plant from the ground, remove the rotten roots, and transplant it. In general, as the plant is very weak, it will not withstand the stress of transplantation and will die.
3. Difference between over-watering and under-watering
One problem you may have when spotting the signs of a watery gardenia is that the symptoms are somewhat similar to those of a lack of water. But do not worry with two checks you will notice if there is no or excess watering.
The symptom of leaf wilting occurs both when you water a lot and when you water little. But if you touch the leaves of a silver with excess water, they are soft, while if there is no water, the leaves will be crisp. It is enough to check the soil, if you dig and it is dry you must water, on the contrary if it is very wet the problem is a lot of irrigation.
- GARDENIAS AT A GLANCE – edis.ifas.ufl.edu
- Common Gardenia – ctahr.hawaii.edu