Brown Thumb's Yellowing Gardenia

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Help! I'm a bit of a brown thumb outside of growing vegetables so this Gardenia tree I got is a big challenge. It started with the mealy bugs! I got help from a friend making a solution to get rid of them (rubbing alcohol, dish soap, hot sauce, and mostly water). The bugs are mostly gone but I've got yellowing, dropping leaves everywhere!

The acidity is around 5.5-6. I was giving less water through the soil and letting evaporation in a tray with rocks help out but it seems like it was too dry so just a couple days ago I started giving more water. It gets lots of afternoon sun, as it faces West with some north exposure, as well.

I've only had the tree a couple months and in afraid it won't last long enough to bring it inside for the winter. FYI, for climate, I'm in Chicago.
Please help!
Devon
 
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Twigs

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May not be the problem, but I would double pot. Drop your plant as is in a second slightly larger empty pot to shade the current pot. The roots might be baking in the current thin black pot.
 

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