Question of the Day: “Can I save this gardenia?”

My grandmother loved gardenias. When I was young, she always had gardenias in her home. There was a large one in her sunroom. It sat atop the table and I feel like it bloomed year round. The pungent smell of gardenias reminds me of her and the home my grandfather built for them. Since my mom, who truly never liked my grandmother (her ex-mother-in-law), knows I love them, she decided to buy me a large gardenia. Immediately I started to panic. Though I am generally very good with plants, I have never had any luck keeping gardenias alive.

All spring and summer, the gardenia sat on our back deck. It was happy and blooming. I couldn’t believe what was happening. I truly felt as if my grandmother was helping the small fragrant buds open every few days. Once again, I could smell the sweet, fresh fragrance. Unfortunately, fall arrived, and cold temperatures forced me to move it inside.

It’s slow decline began almost immediately. I have moved it from place to place and trimmed back dead and dying branches. I have picked small webs from the buds that continually started to droop as opposed to bloom.

“I think I’m killing the gardenia,” I said to my mom today. “I’m going to have to admit defeat.”

“Oh, it’s okay, Kell. I will get you another one,” she said. Her voice was lighthearted and I appreciated her understanding.

“I was actually really surprised I was able to keep it alive this long,” I answered. “I just feel so bad.”

“Kelly,” she responded, “if I got this upset over every plant I killed, I would have slit my wrists years ago.” I have always loved how dramatic my mom’s analogies can be, but I felt that this was dismissing this plant I have worked so diligently to help live.

“I’ve just worked so hard to keep this one alive,” I said sadly. “I’m not sure if I ready to give up.”

“Throw it out and I will get you a new one. No big deal,” she said.

The conversation moved on to other things, and I felt both appalled and comforted by the simplicity of her solution, but somewhere between “no big deal” and “goodbye,” I decided to try one last thing.

So I took it into the bathtub and gave it a rinse and drenched the soil with food and water. I wiped and cut back the dead branches and leaves, and I sprayed it with some natural pesticides and wiped out its pot. Finally, I placed it in the sunniest window in the house and put some of my crystals in the dirt. I am hoping some of the energies from the crystals will permeate the roots and help them to heal.

As I was working and fixing, I tried to ask the gardenia what it needed to feel okay. I know this sounds crazy to many, but plants have a vibration, and when a plant is “off”, I feel it. I try and rearrange the three major things I know affect a plants life: water, food, sun/heat. I have found most plant guides recommend certain things for certain plants, but plants have their individual needs, which may vary slightly from the recommendations. When I figure this mix out, I feel the calm of the plant. Its energy softens and flows, much like a person’s energy.

As of right now, I am going to give a bit more time and see if I can bring this back or if it is too far gone. I am hoping for the former as opposed to the latter.

Any suggestions are welcome!

Love and Light!