Transporting miracle fruit plant bare root, what soil to use?

StarfinderFebruary 19, 2013

Hi folks,
while on vacation on a Big Island of Hawaii, I bought a five year old Miracle fruit bush in a two gallon pot. I would like to bring the plant with me to California. Yesterday I called USDA and they told me that I will have to bare root the plant for inspection at the airport to take it with me. Currently the bush is planted in a mix of peat moss and some wood chips, which is overall very fine and does not drain too well. It was grown near Hilo, which is extremely damp, and actually had live moss covering the lower part of the trunk. Today I watered the plant, and it took about 5 minutes for the water to drain.

For transportation, I plan to bare root the bush, wrap the roots in a moist paper towel, stick the root ball into a plastic bag, wrap the entire bush in a plastic wrap, and then put the plant into a box for transportation. Any objections to this so far?

Now regarding the choice of growing media. From scanning the web, it appears that people grow miracle fruit trees both in peat moss and in 5-1-1 mix. It likes high acidity and PH around 5.0-6.0. I would like to know what would be the best potting mix to use once I arrive home. I like 5-1-1 for its drainage properties and ease of wetting the growing media.

Your suggestions about transplantation and choice of growing media are highly appreciated.

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charlieboring

I thing your plan should work fine. I often receive plants that are shipped like that and they do well.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 6:40AM
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sf_rhino

Let me know how it goes with the whole importation process. I have never transported a live plant before and would like to hear how you take it through the airport, etc.

I have a couple of miracle fruits in 1:1 perlite:peat; it drains very fast and so far the plants have done well although I think they'd prefer more humidity (almost three years, grown from seeds). I'm hoping for some flowers soon.

r

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 8:31PM
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Starfinder

Sf_rhino,

just arrived to LA, with my plants! But let me tell you, it was painful! I arrived to the airport about 2 hours before the takeoff. Right outside there was a USDA station, where you submit your luggage for an X-Ray inspection. I had 6 plants all packed into a single box (3 feet miracle fruit, 3 feet Jamaican passion fruit, 1 foot curry plant, 2 unnamed passion fruits (they were called yellow and purple at the market). I went straight to the USDA officer and said I had plants for inspection. The lady was very nice, and helped me to unpack and pack the plants back. She was *very* carefull with them, and thanked me for my patience. The box got a yellow sticker "USDA inspected". She looked at all the roots, and took a couple of leafs off the miracle fruit that looked a bit eaten up. My box got a yellow sticker "USDA inpected", and off I went to the TSA checkpoint. Unpacking and packing took about 30 minutes.

Once at the checkpoint, I realized I had to put my plants through an big X-ray all the luggage was going through. "No way" I thought, "they will be dead for sure". So I said to the TSA officer, I had live plants that were going to be potted, and I didn't want them to get irradiated. They tried to convince me it was 'ok' to put through the scanner, but I politely stood my ground. They offered hand inspection, I said 'great'. The TSA agent got a bit ticked off by this, and while my wife and son went through the metal detector, she invited me to go through their X-ray body scanner. I declined, saying that I don't like to be X-rayed. She said, "this is not an X-ray". I said "I know exactly what it is," and she offered a pat down. Once I went through the metal detector to the search area, my box with all my plants was also there. TSA officer searched me, then asked me to take the plants out of the box. He didn't unwrap them, but gently squeezed them individually, and looked inside the roots of the miracle fruit and a curry plant. He was very polite, but very slow. At this point we are getting sort of late, and my wife is getting nervous. Next, there is another USDA station right at the gate. Thank God there was the same lady there that inspected me at the first USDA station. She just nodded and smiled, and said "go ahead". At this point we were almost the last people to board the plane. They were about to shut the gate.

Bottom line. It's possible, but arrive well ahead of your departure. TSA was respectful and pretty much doing their job. They had the new scanners and the new software that doesn't show the naked body, just a cartoon version. Everyone can see it. Myself, not going through any X-rays. I am a cancer researcher, so know exactly what it does to you.

Tony.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 3:50AM
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sf_rhino

Wow, well at least you made it. A 3ft miracle fruit! Wow, mine are less than a foot. Did you take the plants as carryon? If so, where did you put them on the plane???

Also, when they say "bare root" how bare are the roots? Do you knock most of the dirt off and rinse or are they really clean?

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 11:32PM
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Starfinder

The plants are so cheap on Big Island, it's not even funny. They had a huge Kaimana Lychee tree that looked 5-7 years old. It was $25. Something like that would cost at least $200 in CA. My miracle fruit is already fruiting, only $30. Maku'u farmers market is a must visit if you are there on Hilo side on Sunday.

Yes, bare roots means *bare*. As on dirt on the roots at all. It will probably get pretty stressed. We'll see...

Tony

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 1:51AM
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