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My Lilies And Gardenia Won’t Hold A Bloom

Ask the Expert: Lillies and Gardenias


I have a gardenia tree (about 6 weeks old) that appears healthy but there was only one flower that bloomed. The buds keep on apprearing/growing but nothing opens up? I also recently purchased potted LA Hybrid Lillies and planted immediately in the ground. After a day or so the flowers wilt and then fall off gradually leaf by leaf. The whole flower just lasts a couple of days. What am I doing wrong?

I am new to gardening and would appreciate any advice. I am on the east coast so it is spring/summer here.

Attached are some pictures which could help with your diagnosis



Added photos

LA hybrid lilies

Group of LA Hybrid lilies

Gardenia tree


  1. Melissa,

    I only got one of the photos but I have an idea without them. First of all you want to make sure the gardenia is getting enough light and water. Keep the soil uniformly moist but not soggy and it needs full sun to part shade. If you have it in shade try a little more light. Both light and water can cause blooming issues. Abnormal bud drop (if the buds are actually falling off before they open) can be caused by high night time temperatures or low light levels. Keep in mind that some buds will drop no matter what conditions the gardenia is in. From the picture above light may be a factor so give it a little more light.

    Another thing to consider is that the gardenia was blooming before you purchased it and the buds you are seeing are the shells of the spent blooms. These will sometimes continue to grow even after the bloom has been shed.

    Now on to the lilies. If your lilies were blooming when you purchased them then the blooms cycle is probably the issue. From the time the bloom forms to the end of it life cycle is only about 4 to 6 weeks. Once the bloom is fully open it only lasts two or three weeks. So I would be more concerned with any unopened blooms. Are they opening properly? Once they open they should last for a few weeks. If not check your watering and light. Just like the gardenia, the lilies need light and even moisture. You want the ground to drain well but if you stick your finger in the soil up to your middle joint the soil should feel moist. The soil should not feel mussy or spongy. Also give it as much as eight hours of sun a day. Get sun all day long and do very well. My Aunt’s get at least 5 hours sun a day and they still do well.

    Check on those conditions and remember the blooming cycle this year will be a little off normal schedule if they were forced in the greenhouse to bloom. This doesn’t compromise the plant but it can be confusing when you neighbors are not going through the same blooming cycle as yours. Please keep me posted.

  2. Melissa says:


    The gardenia has been in full sunlight. The weather has not been the greatest on the east coast until last week (not a lot of sun and little or no humidity). Today my neighbor suggested i take it out of the sun and water it completely.

    I will attach additional pictures

    Thanks for you quick response!


  3. Melissa,

    I think the gardenia has a few blooms left to open but I think I see a few pod when the blooms has already done it’s thing. The plant looks very healthy — the blooms may have gone through a little transplant shock. Don’t move it the sun is a good thing but you need to make sure it is well watered. If you haven’t watered lately pour two gallons of water around it slowly. This should saturate the soil (it is plant in the ground and not a pot) then check it in a couple of days. Water if the soil is dry. You might want to create some humidity around it. Both of these things should help with any blooms that haven’t opened.

    As for the lilies, they seem to be in good shape. I have the orange and the reddish variety in my garden. When the blooms open I can get about four or five day out of each individual bloom but the stalk will have blooms open every day so the blooming of the plant lasts for weeks. Plants look healthy and the bloom pods look good. Just keep the soil moist the same way you need to for the gardenia. I have notice that this spring my blooms aren’t lasting as long as they usually do. I live in the Northeast corner of Arkansas and we have had very hot dry winds lately which is my problem. If you have had similar winds that my be your problem.
    Keep me posted. I will try to take a picture of my lilies to give you a reference.