Q. Why do the buds of my gardenia fall after bringing it in from summering outdoors?
Gardenia, or cape jasmine, is popular for its enchanting, fragrant, white flowers, but sometimes it's not so easy to produce blooms indoors.
You can summer gardenia outdoors during the warm season to encourage full, healthy bud development. When it's time to bring your plant indoors in early fall, it may lose emerging buds--a bit distressing to say the least. This bud drop happens due to the lower light level indoors and lack of the temperature drop at night that the plant needs.
What is a good remedy for falling buds? Surprisingly, it is helpful to pinch off all the young growth that is emerging next to the developing flower bud. This forces the energy of the plant into bud formation, allowing the flower to hold on better. Place your plant indoors in an area where it will receive full sun exposure for 6-8 hours a day and experience a consistent 10-15-degree temperature drop in the evening. These conditions will improve your plant's performance indoors. You may also need to increase humidity to counter dry conditions indoors, but do not over-water. Minimum temperature recommended is 60°F. Gardenias are hardy to Zone 8 and higher.