Caterpillars on Gardenias

Question

I've got a lovely gardenia that I've managed not to kill and it's going well in a pot under my camelia tree - it's grown a lot and flowers well. The problem is something is eating it. Can you help please?

Answer

From your photo, it’s most likely that your gardenia has been attacked by caterpillars. To check, inspect the underside of the leaves for evidence – there may be quite a population of caterpillars there. Inspect the plant at night with a torch as many chewing insects prefer to eat at night when they are less likely to be attacked by predators. You can also spray your plant with Neem Oil to help eradicate the caterpillars – ensure you spray well underneath the leaves.

You may need to repot your gardenia. Although they grow well in containers, they will eventually become rootbound. Continue feeding your gardenia with slow-release fertiliser over the summer months as they have a considerable appetite for nutrients. Remember a healthy plant has more resistance to pests and diseases.

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