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A water-soluble fertilizer which includes iron compounds and which is intended for acidic soil-loving plants is best for gardenias.
Plants need water in order to take in fertilizer. Otherwise, the nutrients will remain in the soil and "burn" gardenia roots.
Gardenias can be prone to yellowing from not getting enough iron so the iron compounds can prevent or treat this condition (chlorosis).
Also, gardenias need soil pHs which range between the slightly acidic 5.0 and 6.0/6.5 on a soil analysis chart. Otherwise, they may not be able to take in certain necessary nutrients -- such as iron -- from soil.
Ah, Gardenias, they smell divine!!
These tropical plants go into a kind of dormancy during the cool season, so they don't take up nutrients in the way of fertilizers during this period. Hold off! The first feeding should be in the Spring or when the weather warms. A dose of iron w/ other micronutrients (Ironite plus) will take care of the yellow leaves and chlorosis.
Cottonseed meal or a balanced azalea food which acidfiies the soil is the best food throughout the blooming season with the last feeding in late Fall.
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