Saturday, April 19, 2008

Brown Gardenia Blossoms

Dear Anne,
I have a large gardenia bush which usually has an almost uncountable number of blossoms. I notice that presently (mid April) the blossoms which are developing are turning brown.) Can you suggest a reason? Incidentally, about six feet from the plant is a large camellia bush. It had many buds this year and some developed into flowers, but many of the large buds just fell off the bush (tree.) Any relationship of the two problems? I have done nothing different this spring from other years, I don't think. Thanks in advance for your help.
Esther, Sacramento, CA

Anne's response:

On the gardenia check the stems and trunk of the plant for an enlarged growth or canker. I do not know what you could use to correct that problem. The only control I know of is to prune out the infected portions of the plant and clean off the clippers with alcohol between cuts. Brown buds can also be caused by a light frost or by a Botrytis fungus. The control of the botrytis is to remove all infected buds and destroy them. Bud drop is often caused when it is too warm, too dry or there is insufficient light.

Camellias often "blast" buds. Camellia bud drop in California is often caused by lack of sufficient moisture - both in the soil and in the air. A severe frost in September or October produces bud drop. An irregular water supply also causes the problem

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