Seeing your gardenia flowers turning brown can be a frustrating experience. You can, however, easily remedy this all-too-common problem once you know the reason the blooms are turning brown. Brown gardenia flowers will quickly return to their creamy hue if you take the right measures. Providing the proper care to gardenias (Gardenia jasminoides), such as pruning the plants when appropriate and watering them properly, will prevent the flowers from browning and keep them looking their best.
Lack of Light
Gardenias can be grown as indoor plants or in outdoor gardens. No matter where you grow your gardenias, they need plenty of sunlight. They like full sunlight, especially in the morning, with some protection from the hot afternoon sun.
Lack of sunlight can be the cause of gardenia flowers turning brown. Even if you don't have natural sunlight in your home, you can easily improve the flowers' color or prevent their browning by installing an incandescent light near your plant. Brown gardenia flowers will quickly return to the desired shade once they get the light they need.
Moving Gardenia Plants
Gardenia flowers turning brown often happens when you transport them from one location to another. Transporting them from a greenhouse to your garden, for instance, might change their hue. You can easily prevent this, however, if you give them extra light as soon as you have finished transplanting. Always plan ahead before you move a gardenia and be prepared to provide it with some extra care in its new location.
Gardenia Flowers Turning Brown: Overwatering
Gardenia flower discoloration can be a result of giving your plants a little too much love. If you overwater your gardenia plant, you might end up with brown buds that fall off the plant. Watering the right amount can prevent this from happening and can keep the flowers looking their best.
Gardenias prefer soil that is uniformly moist. Stick your finger 1 to 2 inches into the soil. If the soil feels moist, don't water. If it isn't moist, water it until the water flows out the bottom of the pot. Do not let the gardenia sit in water, however.
The best way to tell if you're watering your gardenia properly is to get a moisture meter. If the reading is above a 4 on a scale from 1 to 10, then you should not water. If your gardenia plants seem to be turning brown, it might be a good idea to mist them instead of watering them. Stop watering and start misting if your plants seem dry; you can resume watering them once they no longer seem dry.
Protecting Gardenia Plants From Insects
Some insects, particularly spider mites, can damage gardenias. You might find these pests underneath the buds. Check your gardenia plants periodically to be sure they aren't infected with insects or other pests.
Planting in the Correct Temperature
Although gardenia plants are resilient, they thrive best when planted in a slightly cool area. If possible, you should keep your plants in a cool room to prevent the gardenia flowers from turning brown.
If you are planting your gardenias outdoors, keep in mind that they look best when daytime temperatures are between 68 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit, and the nighttime temperature is around 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Gardenia flowers are prone to brown if they are moved from one temperature to another, so consistency is important.
Jean Asta has been a freelance writer for domestic and international clients since 2005. She also acts as a training consultant to businesses and nonprofit organizations in the southeast United States. Asta holds a Master of Public Administration with a concentration in nonprofit management and a Bachelor of Arts in English literature, both from the University of Georgia.