Please help me save my gardenia
November 5, 2012 7:56 PM   Subscribe

How can I make sure my potted Gardenia survives the Denver winter?

My gardenia thrived all summer on the balcony of my apartment in full southern-exposure sun. But now we have had the first freezes, so I have brought it inside to keep warm. It is zoned for seven and won't make it through a hard freeze outside.

The only southern window in my apartment is tiny, so the gardenia gets only indirect light during the day. Also, the apartment is of course very dry with the heat on. The leaves are dropping like crazy.

I've been afraid that moving the plant in and out depending on the weather would be traumatic. But I'm also afraid leaving it indoors isn't optimal.

Is there any way to make this gardenia survive the winter?

Thank you in advance for your help!
posted by jefficator to Home & Garden (4 answers total)
You might consider planting it in an enclosed glass container like a cloche. This would help you to regulate the plant's humidity and temperature.
posted by pickypicky at 8:52 PM on November 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

Humidity is your friend here.

How large is the plant? Could you build it a terrarium for it? An old fish tank from Goodwill will work (either inverted or turned on it's side). It doesn't need to be water tight as it would for a fish tank. You just need it to hold the humidity.
posted by 26.2 at 8:54 PM on November 5, 2012

You should be able to overwinter it at a local nursery. That's what everyone does around here. Not terribly cheap but it works!
posted by fshgrl at 8:59 PM on November 5, 2012

We've had gardenias in my family for years and we live in Chicago, so hopefully I can help. Actually, my father had a big giant gardenia, he died 18 years ago and somehow I am the only one with a living descendent of the original (which died, unfortunately.) So there's a little pressure on me to keep this thing alive, and although I should probably do more, I was rewarded with a few beautiful and fragrant blooms last spring with just a minimum of care. First, do not overwater, especially in the winter (that's what my sister did and her plant died.). Let it dry out for 1-3 days before watering throughly. As for lighting conditions during winter, less light than full light it should get in summer is ok - expect leaf droppage too; they will come back when it gets full light again when it goes outside in the summer. You could get artificial lights (my dad did this, but he still often had leaf loss as he kept his in the basement during the winter). As for humidity, you could get a spray bottle and spray it with water every day (I don't do that but I think my Dad did...) Not sure if this link will work but here is a pretty pic of a bloom I had this year:
Good Luck!
posted by j810c at 5:16 PM on November 6, 2012

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