Pre­pare gar­de­nias

Gardening Australia - - YOUR PLANNER -

It won’t be long be­fore gar­de­nias are burst­ing into their glo­ri­ous fra­grant bloom, and there are a few things you can do right now to en­sure you get a great dis­play. The first is feed­ing and wa­ter­ing. Gar­de­nias com­monly ex­pe­ri­ence bud drop when they’re dry and un­der­nour­ished, so if you haven’t had rain in a while, give their roots a deep soak­ing, then spread around some fer­tiliser – some­thing like a cit­rus food is ideal – and water it in. If the mulch around the plants is get­ting thin, throw down a layer about 5cm deep to help hold in that mois­ture, and fol­low up with a reg­u­lar drink once a week if needed through­out the flow­er­ing pe­riod.

Sap-suck­ing scale in­sects are a se­ri­ous pest in gar­de­nias, and they are ac­tive now. They park them­selves on spring growth and cel­e­brate the steady flow of sap. Th­ese guys, with their sug­ary ex­cre­tions, are re­spon­si­ble for the sooty mould you of­ten see on gar­de­nia leaves. Don’t let their feed­ing frenzy spoil your dis­play. If you see lit­tle scale in­sects on gar­de­nia stems, or on the tops and un­der­sides of the leaves, smother them with a spray of di­luted hor­ti­cul­tural oil, then fol­low up in an­other week or two. That should slow them down. No scale, no mould!

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