I am fairly new at gardening (and I only have house plants!) and I have recently purchased some gardenias. They have been doing fine for the couple of weeks I've had them, but now they have developed some strange white "pebbles" that I cannot figure out what are. They are porous, about 0.04 - 0.12 inches in size.
I started noticing them in the top soil, and thought they were fertilizer in the store bought soil, but then the leaves started withering, and I noticed the white stuff around the stem of one of the plants. At this point, I didn't connect the two things, and thought that it was mold developing on the stem. This plant died.
The two other gardenias I have left have also got the little white pebbles in the top soil, but I have now noticed it in the crown leaves as well! Where you would normally see a bud or a flower, there are now little white pebbles. I have thrown away all their soil, cleaned their pots, and now put them in a little bucket with water around their roots. I intend to buy new soil for them in the morning. I would love to know what it is, though, and what I can do to prevent it from reoccurring.
Thank you in advance!