How To Save Overwatered Gardenia Plants (if Possible)

Gardenia jasminoides (gar-DEEN-ya jaz-min-OY-deez) is a high-maintenance member of the Rubiaceae family of plants.

This evergreen shrub has shiny green leaves and produces richly fragrant, showy white flowers.

Overwatered GardeniaPin

It takes quite a bit of just the right fertilizer and the correct amount of watering to support all this flamboyant activity. 

Gardenia plants like lots of humidity and moderate watering with lukewarm water that is not too rich in minerals.

Filtered or rainwater is best, but too much of either one can cause the plant to suffer root rot.

This article shares smart tips and advice to help you save an overwatered gardenia. Read on to learn more. [source]

How To Save An Overwatered Gardenia?

What To Look For In An Overwatered Gardenia: 

  • Bud drop: Flower buds fall
  • Chlorosis: Yellowing leaves
  • Leaf Condition: Dry, wilted, flaky brown leaves
  • Leaf drop: Dead leaves will fall off
  • Root rot: Soft, bad-smelling brown roots

Be advised that bud drop may also be caused by too little water or humidity, too little light, or very low (below 50° degrees Fahrenheit) nighttime temperatures. [source]

Early intervention is key to success. If you do not attend to these symptoms early on, the entire plant will collapse. Unfortunately, when this happens, it’s too late to save it. 

What To Do About Overwatered Gardenias In The Landscape?

In the landscape, a Gardenia that is kept in an area with poor drainage or poor air circulation may succumb to a fungal infection called Rhizoctonia.

Other fungal diseases that tend to affect Gardenias include:

  • Powdery mildew
  • Sooty mold

Because of Gardenias‘ susceptibility to fungal infection, you must start by planting your outdoor Gardenia in a slightly elevated place with soil that has been amended for excellent drainage. 

Don’t position your shrub right next to a wall or crowded among other plants as this will interfere with air circulation and sunlight.

If conditions have become adverse over time, you may be able to save your overwatered Gardenia by relocating it. 

These tropical plants do best with a minimum of four hours of bright, indirect sunlight daily and daytime temperatures between 65° and 70° degrees Fahrenheit.

Nighttime temperatures of 60° to 65° degrees Fahrenheit are ideal. 

What To Do About An Overwatered Container Gardenia?

If your potted Gardenia’s leaves are a bit yellow but not wilted, just changing your watering schedule may be enough to save the plant.

Here’s what to do:

  • First, check the soil to see if it is wet or dry.
  • If it is soggy, refrain from watering your plant until the soil is mostly dry, and then give your plant a thorough watering. 

Maintain this soak-and-dry watering method in an ongoing manner, and your Gardenia should recover and continue to do well, provided the rest of your plant care regimen suits the needs of the plant.

Be sure to place your potted Gardenia in a setting where it will receive ample bright, indirect sunlight and good air circulation. 

Is It Possible To Rescue A Severely Overwatered Gardenia?

The best first step to saving a severely overwatered Gardenia is repot it. You’ll want to take it out of its old, soggy, compacted soil.

Carefully clean and trim the roots (removing any damaged, squishy or rotted ones). You should also trim away dead, damaged, or dying stems and foliage before repotting. 

Repot in a new or sterilized pot using an entirely new, light, airy potting mix containing a high percentage of perlite, grit, or coarse sand.

Use good quality commercial products that have been properly sterilized to prevent fungal growth. The pH level of the soil should be between 5 and 6.

No plants do well in containers with little or no drainage. Be sure the new pot has ample drainage holes.

It needs a minimum of two or three. Natural terra cotta provides the best air circulation for the roots.

When you place the plant in its new pot, take care to position it so that the crown of the roots (where the stem joins the roots) is just above the surface of the soil.

This positioning will provide the right amount of airflow. 

Establish A Consistent Watering Schedule

Gardenias like slightly moist soil, but it is easy to overdo it.

You are better off providing slightly too little water than too much, so stick with soak-and-dry watering.

Most plants will do well with this method. 

1. To provide a thorough watering, you should allow water to run out the drain holes in the bottom of the pot. Ensure all excess water has drained off before returning the plant to its saucer. 

2. To prevent rapid moisture evaporation from the soil, put a layer of organic mulch on the surface of the soil surrounding the plant. 

3. Mist your Gardenias daily in the morning to help boost humidity levels surrounding the plants. Gardenias like about a 65% percent humidity level.

4. Generally speaking, nighttime misting and watering are not recommended because plants misted or watered at night tend to stay excessively moist for several hours. This can give leaf, stem, and root rot a chance to set in. 

Consistent Care Grows Happy Gardenias

Although Gardenias can be demanding plants, once your care routine is established, you shouldn’t have too many problems.

Provide consistent warmth and humidity, ample bright, indirect sunlight, judicious watering, and regular fertilizing to keep your gardenias happy and healthy. 

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