Gardenia Leaves Drooping: 9 Common Reasons & Solutions

If you’re struggling with Gardenia leaves drooping, then you are not alone; this is a fairly common issue and can be resolved quite easily in the majority of cases.

It’s usually a result of over or underwatering, but it can also be related to other issues like poor soil quality, lack of nutrients, or too little sunlight.

In this article, I’ll take you through the nine most common reasons for Gardenia leaves drooping so you can get to the bottom of the problem as soon as possible.

9 Causes Of Gardenia Leaves Drooping

Let’s get straight into the list.

1. Overwatering and Root Rot

One of the most common reasons for drooping leaves in a gardenia plant is overwatering.

Overwatering suffocates the roots and stops nutrients and moisture from being absorbed by the roots, which affects the leaves drastically. It can also lead to root rot, which happens due to dying roots that begin to rot due to being suffocated or from a fungus that is favored in overwatered conditions (Phytophthora, etc.).

To prevent this issue, ensure that you are providing your gardenia with the appropriate amount of water and maintaining well-draining soil. I like to water mine when the top inch of soil becomes dry, and this has served me well for many years.

2. Underwatering

On the other hand, underwatering can also cause gardenia leaves to droop.

Gardenia plants require consistent moisture to thrive, and a lack of water can lead to dehydration, resulting in leaf droop. Leaf droop due to dehydration is quite easy to notice as the tips of the leaves will go brown as well, and the leaves may feel crispy to the touch.

To maintain proper hydration, water your gardenia regularly, but avoid overwatering by checking the soil before you water as before.

3. Too Little Sunlight

Gardenias need a balance of sunlight to maintain healthy growth.

Gardenias do best with full sun during the first half of the day and more shade in the afternoon. Keep in mind that Gardenias planted indoors will prefer more indirect sunlight, and those planted outside will be adapted to more full-sun conditions.

If your Gardenia isn’t getting enough sunlight, its growth rate will reduce drastically, and the leaves will start to droop.

4. Lack Of Drainage

A lack of proper drainage can lead to waterlogged roots and drooping leaves in gardenia plants.

To improve drainage, use a well-draining soil mix and ensure that the container or planting area has adequate holes for excess water to escape.

5. Temperature Requirements

Gardenias have specific temperature requirements for optimal growth, generally preferring a range of 60°F-75°F during the day.

Temperature fluctuations or exposure to extreme temperatures can cause your gardenia leaves to droop. Maintain a consistent temperature within that range to promote healthy growth.

6. Pests

Pests such as aphids, spider mites, and whiteflies can feed on gardenia leaves, causing them to droop and eventually fall off. Regularly inspect your gardenia plant for these pests and treat them promptly to avoid further damage.

7. Nutrient Deficiency

Leaf yellowing and droop in gardenia plants may also be caused by soil nutrient deficiencies, particularly nitrogen, which is mainly responsible for leaf growth and development.

To address this issue, make sure your gardenia plant receives appropriate fertilization and maintains a soil pH of 5 to 5.5, which is ideal for nutrient absorption.

8. Disease

Diseases like stem cankers, caused by the fungus Phomopsis gardenia, can lead to gardenia leaves wilting.

Regularly monitor your gardenia plant for any signs of disease and promptly address the issue to prevent severe damage. Most diseases are dealt with by fungicides, but it’s important to identify the type of disease first so you can use the right fungicide for the specific disease.

9. Wrong Soil Mix

Using the wrong soil mix for your gardenia plant can cause drooping leaves. Gardenias require a slightly acidic soil mix with a pH between 5 and 5.5.

Ensure you provide the right soil mix to support the healthy growth of your gardenia plant.

Tips for Healthy Gardenias

If you want to keep your Gardenia healthy, there are a few things to be aware of.

A Gardenia plant with several white flowers and dark green leaves

These include meeting the basic care requirements, as well as carefully selecting the type of Gardenia for your lifestyle and where you live.

Basic Care Requirements

Meeting the basic care requirements of your Gardenia is absolutely crucial for keeping it healthy.


Gardenias are sensitive to fluctuations in their environment. It’s essential to give them time to acclimate when transplanting them, whether you’re moving them indoors or to another area in your garden.

While acclimating your gardenias, maintain a consistent watering schedule, and strive for a balance between moist and well-drained potting soil.


Humidity is important for the health of gardenias. Aim for at least 50% humidity around your plants, and consider using a humidifier if the surrounding air is too dry.

You can also place gardenias on a tray filled with pebbles or in a location where the humidity is higher, like a bathroom.


Light exposure is crucial for gardenias, as they require a good amount of bright sunlight each day, ideally in the morning time.

Make adjustments to their location if you notice any signs of inadequate light, such as leaf drop or bud drop.

Watch Out For Pests & Diseases

Keep an eye out for possible pest infestations or fungal growth on your gardenias. Regularly inspect the leaves and take the necessary steps to address any issues.

You may need to use insecticides or fungicides as appropriate. Keep pruning shears handy to remove any diseased tissue and enhance your gardenias’ overall health.

Selecting the Right Gardenia Variety

Gardenia jasminoides is the most common variety of gardenia, but many cultivars are available. When selecting a gardenia variety to plant, consider factors like your region’s climate, the plant’s cold sensitivity, and your desired level of fragrance.

Some varieties are more cold-sensitive than others, making them more prone to leaf drop if exposed to cold temperatures or sudden temperature changes. If you live in a colder climate or plan to grow gardenias indoors, choose a variety that’s more cold-hardy, such as Gardenia ‘Kleim’s Hardy’ or ‘Frostproof.’

It’s also crucial to select a potting soil that offers proper nourishment and drainage. Gardenias require slightly acidic soil (pH 5.0-6.0) and can suffer from chlorosis (yellowing leaves) and drooping if they don’t receive the right blend of nutrients.

By ensuring proper acclimation and selecting the right gardenia variety for your needs, you’ll provide your gardenias with the best possible environment to thrive. With patience, care, and attention, you can enjoy the beauty and fragrance of these stunning evergreen shrubs.

In Summary

If you are struggling with Gardenia leaves drooping, then it is very likely due to over or underwatering.

In the majority of cases, a few tweaks to the care will be more than enough to get your plant back in shape, but if you are noticing other symptoms as well, then it’s worth inspecting the roots for signs of root rot.

I recommend going through each of the points in this guide to make sure you are caring for your Gardenia properly, and this should fix any issues with dropping leaves in a matter of weeks.

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About Me

Hi, I'm Joe! I'm the head of SEO and content management at Bloom and Bumble. I'm a huge plant lover and over the years my home has become more like an indoor rainforest. It has taken a lot of trial and error to keep my plants healthy and so I'm here to share my knowledge to the rest of the world.

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