Don’s Expert Answers: Gardenia’ s continually dying

Question From:
Jeff Davis in Concord, sydney New South Wales

Nature of problem:
Gardenia’ s continually dying

Type of Plant (if known):
photo attached

Symptoms of Plant Illness (please try NOT to diagnose your problems yourself):

Soil Type (e.g. sandy, clay or loam) OR Potting Mix Type:
Graden mix

How often do you water the plant:
twice a week in summer, once a week other times

How many hours of sunlight does the plant get each day:
Affetced plants get sun all day, the others don’r get as much

How long since you planted it:
3 months

Have you fertilised? If so, with what and when:
dynamic lifter on planting. Cow manure on planting

Is the plant indoors or outdoors:

Is the plant in a pot or in the ground:
in ground

What other treatments have you given the plant:
nil this time

Upload photo if available:

Other Comments:
I have problems with this part of the garden for some time now. In the garden bed there are 9 plants. from left to right plants 3 & 4 always die. Plant 2 also has problems just a bit slower. Each of the plants receives the same amount of water, and when I feed the same amount of fertilizer. The first 6 plants get a lot of sun the last three, that always do well, get less sun. 3 months ago I replaced the dirt under plants 2-5, down to a depth of 300mm, and replaced it with fresh garden mix. I would appreciate it if you could help with this as it is a major frustration

Thank you

Hi Jeff, It is hard to say what is happening there (I really need to check it out myself). My guess is that you have water-repelling soil in that spot. Water the area for 30 minutes with a sprinkler, then dig a few holes around the roots with a small trowel. My guess is that you will find that the soil is still quite dry – this is the hallmark of a cheap & nasty soil mix. Get some Scotts Everydrop wetting agent and use it as per instructions. Make that you dig the soil over a bit too to get the Everydrop into it. Good luck, and do not buy that brand of soil mix again. Don