Help Gardenia questions!

GrnThumFebruary 26, 2011

Hi, I am linking to the Fragrant forums where my original message was posted because I wasn't too sure where this fits in. Please click this link and comment!

Here is a link that might be useful: Help with new Gardenia!

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Hello GrnThum, what's your first name, please?

From the looks of the mix, wow, have you been lurking here or something? Great choice of mix. Mine are very happy in this mix and the gritter one too.

If it were me, I wouldn't be concerned what so ever about your plant for now, as long as you are providing a fast draining and open mix, which you are, and a good sunny spot along with a good fertilizer/vinegar regimend.

No one can ever tell what past damage is for certain, since who knows what things happened to it, or what it has been through.
In fact, to me, it seems it may have gotten a darker greener in certain spots from when you bought it, am I correct?
It seems deep green now, surrounded by past issues on the leaves.

The fact that you only have had them for ten days tells me you are not the one that abused it. In fact, if anything, you probably saved it's life. Any past damage will be reversed for the better, growing in that mix, if you practice good cultural habits in which choosing this mix was a big start.

As long as you checked closley for bugs, for mites in particular which seem to have caused past damage, with a magnifying glass and see none and have it in this well draining mix, is a great start! Here is a few questions to think of to make sure it continues to thrive.

What are you to ferilize with?
How much sun does it get?
How often do you have to water?
Do you use vinegar? How often?
What are the temps you have that plant exposed to? Day and night?
Have you fed it with anything else but one brand?
If so, then that is a HUGE start!
Did you lime?

It looks like my Belmont gardenia to me.


    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 12:53PM
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Oh yes,

I am not sure about the white spots under the leaves.

They could be pesticde residue, or crystalized sap from the plant itself, as mine sometimes will do?
You are sure it is not any sort of pest?
Usually with mine, it is a pest residue on these when I first buy one.

I would wash off each leaf with water, rubbing them between the fingers and then spray with FE or a bit of Neem, or horticultural oil spray, just a precaution, since the plant is so little and requires very little effort.

Good luck

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 1:01PM
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Hi Mike,
Thanks for your input, BTW, I'm Sam. Okay, for starters, I HAVE been lurking on this site for a couple of years now, and that is how I was able to make Al's mix for my new plants. I love Gardenias and I also purchased 2 Jasmine plants, Arabian night and Grand Duke of Tuscany. I guess you could say I'm into fragrant plants.(BTW, how is your Grand duke doing? Do you still have it?)

My past experience with plants was horrible! I used to always kill gardenias I owned because, as I now know, the growing medium and fertilizer regimen were bad for the health of the plants.

Yes, the leaves on my plant have gotten darker on certain areas(good?)
Answers to your Questions:
1. I am currently using Miracid at lower strength at each watering. I am waiting for m FP to arrive in the mail tomorrow, then I will switch fertilizers.
2. The plants get sun for about 5-6 hrs on sunny days (eastern window is only window available) Otherwise, they are under a grow light for about 6 hrs.
3. I water every 3 or 4 days.
4. I haven't used vinegar when watering.
5. The room is about 65 deg at night and around 70 during the day.
6. So far only fed it Miracid until I get my Foliage Pro.

I have limed the containers for all three plants, now that I have limed, I will start using vinegar at each feeding.

I haven't noticed any pests on the plants but I wil look closer.

Mike, I have read some of your posts and I am amazed at how healthy you keep your gardenias as well as your other plants. Thanks for your help! I want to especially thank Al for his mixes because they are exactly what container gardeners need!

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 4:02PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Thank you, Sam - I've been following the thread, but Mike is doing such a fine job there is little I could add. ;o)


    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 5:37PM
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Welcome, Sam! Glad you found us "Gritty Folks" over here! :-)

I checked out your pictures... nice plants!... and I also read some of the replies you got over there. As I'm sure you're already aware, using Al's Mix negates the use of smaller pots. Your plants will be fine in the larger pots, and they'll have more room to spread out good, healthy roots.

I'm no expert, but it looks you might have some sort of tiny insect infestation. I'd take Mike's advice... wash the leaves and apply Neem or some other insecticide. I'm fond of using Schultz's 3in1 spray, which is an insecticide/miticide/fungicide all in one. But Neem is a good suggestion.

Follow Mike and you can't go wrong! His Gardenias are to die for! :-)

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 6:10PM
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Thanks guys! I don't think I would've been able to have any plant actively growing indoors this time of year as mine are right now (thanks to Al's mix). Usually any plant I would keep indoors would have stagnant wet soil that would be a breeding ground for pests and a killer of plants.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 6:51PM
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I'll second that! I spent way too long trying to grow indoor container plants in bagged soils and other heavy mediums. The gritty mix concept literally saved my plants!

Since I started using the Gritty Mix, I haven't had any insect or fungi issues, at all. It's nice to have happy, healthy plants that look great, and don't have swarms of fungus gnats flying around, or molds growing on them!

There's a lot to be said for learning basic plant and soil science... that's for sure! And Al makes it all so easy to understand.

Stick with Mike and Al, and your Gardenias will look like Mike's! :-)

    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 10:37AM
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Thanks Al and Jodi!!! That was way to kind of you.

You do realize that you two have had a major influence on my success, right? Thank you with all my heart for defending science and those that so graciously spend their priceless time helping people like me to see my plants THRIVE!

Because of that, I have been able to pass on the very kindness you all have showered upon me and my plants.

Here is another one, my baby although small that has flourished in the gritty mix all winter. I took this picture just now because I just had to share the beautiful flowers that just opened today. I only wish you could smell the fragrance. My mother is knitting beside it on the table and sends her love.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 9:02PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Beautiful, Mike!
That gardenia looks good enough to eat!


    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 11:36PM
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WOW! Nice plant! I wish mine ends up looking like that. Do you mist your plants and if so, how often? Can you show me any pics of your Grand Duke(s)? I saw the one you posted last year and it looked amazing! But your plants always look healthy and vibrant, especially your gardenias.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2011 at 12:09AM
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jojosplants(9/ Tucson, Az.)

HI GrnThum,
Is this the one your asking about?
Mike just posted this tonight in House Plants.

It is loaded with buds!!

If you keep putting those babies out in the snow i'm going to report you for plant abuse! LOL!


Here is a link that might be useful: Grand Duke :-)

    Bookmark   March 1, 2011 at 12:20AM
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Hi JoJo, thanks for the link, but the grand duke of Tuscany is not in the pics. Forgot to mention that it is a jasmine. It has a strong fragrance but I have heard that it is difficult to grow. Mike had a pic of one at one time and it looked real healthy, it is a smaller plant than gardenia though.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2011 at 5:29PM
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Oh no not that Jojo!!

You mean report me to the "American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Potted Plants...ASPCPP".lolololol
They seem to like it actually. Maybe that is why they are mite

Let me see if I can find that "Duke" Sam, if it is not the one I gave a way. I kept two smaller ones and kept them in a sort of resting stage. They are just green, not growing, and no blooms. Those are ready to go into a sunny window as soon as my plant room gets warmer.. Thanks Sam!

Josh: You are certainly invited over for dinner! We can have all the salad fixins with a bit of gardenia leaf

And stick with Jodi too, since she has a real gift with just about everything she puts into the gritty mix and tons of encouragement, not to say all the beautiful plants she tends to outside.

Did I also mention Josh, Laura soon to be , Pug, Jojo, Ben, Andrew, Buylady, Lori, Joanne, Martha, Monet, Gail Linda and many many others I have not mentioned whose plants, and themselves are reaping HUGE benefits here from this mix and great people to know.

Thanks to "Al" most of all, for taking the time to support us on the best journey with my plants I have ever taken, and being a part of this wonderful forum!


    Bookmark   March 1, 2011 at 7:19PM
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Gardening and the love of plants is something to be shared, Mike... it's my pleasure to help by sharing what I've learned, my experiences in growing... it's always a good thing to share positive, truly helpful information and ideas! It's like sharing a smile... you can't help but smile back! :-)

The small Gardenia is just gorgeous! I bet Mom loves the scent, sitting near it! I know I would! :-)

Keep up the great work, Mike!

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 7:34AM
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Hi Sam: Do you mean this one?

It has been held back from growing. I stuck it in a north window that prevents growth and therefore my unfounded fear of spider mites since I know these are more susceptible than gardenias..It iill go into a sunny window closer to when I can finally start putting many others outdoors. At least it's alive and green I suppose.

Jodi.:-))))))))))) Right back at ya! And Mom sends you a humungus hug!

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 8:26AM
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Oh Sam, I forget to tell you> You do know that in order for these plants to bloom and dramatically grow, they need temps above 70 at night and 80's or higher by day with FULL sun right? Mine only performs "best" in the heat of summer, and then I cut it back by fall.

I will tell you that many I know in my area can barely keep them alive this time of year. So it has to be the mix I use that keeps it at least happy despite the lack of any sun at all.
I also fertilize it every time I water. Just as soon as the sun hits it, it seems to want to grow flowers rapidly, but definitely more so when the warmth of summer and the full sun hits it!

I guess I am just happy it's green and healthy until the fire work display..:-)

I pretty much control what this one does, when I feed it, and when I allow it to to actively take off.


    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 8:33AM
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There we go! I was looking for THAT pic, Mike! It's amazing that you have it growning that big cause mine is only about 10 inches tall. Your gardening skills are very impressive and I admire the hard work you put into keeping your plants looking lovely.

By the way, your gardenias are fabulous! Keep up the work Mike!

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 10:41PM
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It's very helpful to have that control over moisture and nutrition, isn't it, Mike? I do the same as you... I fertilize weakly all year long, flushing at frequent intervals to remove any excess accumulation of salts. I've got a lineup of bulbs growing on a north windowsill, and they're doing just dandy, even through winter. The leaves remain green and viable, and they pick up growth speed as the days grow longer.

I'm amazed that they can survive at all in a north window alcove, but they don't seem to take issue with the lowered light. It must be the medium that keeps them healthy through winter. :-)

Your photos always show how much care and knowledge you give and have, Mike! Great growing!

    Bookmark   March 3, 2011 at 10:59AM
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Awww...Thank You so very much Sam! Once you get some of your plants into these types mixes, the sky is the limit.

I am glad I found the plant you like. How about if I keep you in mind when it flowers? You should try one, once you understand how soil mixes work in containers. They smell so good when in bloom. I know you can do it.

Hey Jodi...100% correct.I LOVE to have control over moisture retention and nutrition.
It is also comforting to know that salts do not build up in my mixes which in this case, is the number one killer next to overwatering on this Jasmine. They are EXTREMELY sensitive to any salt on their roots:-)


Jodi many of my plants are being held over the winter in very low light and sunless windows where they just remain green and viable until I decide to take it up a notch.

Thank you too for all your support, or otherwise I would not of been able to grow so many plants at this time as happy as they are! You have been a GREAT asset to my collection of plants and my knowledge of plants needs Jodi:-0)))

By the way, is there anyway I can ask your advice on a bulb, since I almost lost it to root rot in a bagged mix it came with? I took the chance, and it did not work out so

Maybe I will start a new thread about it?


    Bookmark   March 3, 2011 at 1:04PM
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Your Welcome, Mike.

Thanks for keeping me in mind for whenever yours blooms, would like to see that Grand Duke bloom. Actually, I have one, I purchased it along with my Gardenia and Jasmine Sambac from Almost Eden. I wanted a mixture of fragrant and beautiful plants so I chose these 3.

I will attempt to keep these 3 alive and healthy, It'll be my first time, if all goes well!

One time, (before knowing anyting about gardenias) I bought a Vetichii from HD, it was full of buds. I repotted it the same day and drowned it in water( the label said it loved moist soil!) and continued to water it daily. It died within a few weeks!

I even tried to grow one from seed and was able to get it to a nice size, about 1 foot in height! It was planted in the spring and it thrived until the fall when I took it inside. I had it under a light but I happened to water it too much. One day it just began to shrivel up and it yellowed within 3 days. That plant took me 7 months to grow from seed!!

If only I had knew about Al's mix then...

    Bookmark   March 3, 2011 at 11:35PM
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