What should I do about Gardenia soil

sissysimoneMarch 3, 2008



I have seen alot about soil. And I have been learning alot. But ,can someone make this simple for me for just one plant?

I am buying a 60 dollar Gardenia tommorrow,and I am sure if I leave it in the soil that it came in, it most certainly would probably die although it would probably do fine in it, if left in a greenhouse>> They always seem to do better no matter what soil their in, outdoors or in greenhouses. The soil in that container looks awful to me.Looks like it would stay wet to long if not under right conditions in the winter.

Is anyone having sucess growing a Gardenia in good soil?

I live in New Enland and I guess the soil has to be what's best for my area.

Should I change the soil? And what is the best soil to make for this Gardenia? Does anyone have recepie since gardenia like acid soil. What would your soil consist of if you were to rinse all old soil off and put it in a homemade one. I like the ideas of Als soil for all other trees,but I do not feel comfortable using it for my Gradenia. For some reason I feel there should be some peat. Who knows, maybe I am wrong!!I would like a Lite,Airy,Composty, Acidic mix. Since I am older, I will be carrying to the outdoors and then inside. Al's formula would probably work, but then it would be too heavy for me to lift, with all that crushed granite, turface and stuff. In fact I have been using Al's in my smaller plants and they are heavy!!:-). Soory Al, but great soil though for SO FAR FOR ALL MY OTHER PLANTS!lol

I just want my Gardenia in the lightest soil for the optimum growth!This is a big plant!

Sorry everyone for being a pest. I am so afraid to waste my money, and yet I have already killed 3 of them and I want to be able to suceed with this one!


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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Your gardenia will be perfectly happy in
5 parts pine bark
1 part perlite
1 part sphagnum peat
The mix will be light, airy, and acidic, yet still much more durable than a peat or compost based soil.

No apologies needed, Sissy. It's your plant & I won't feel bad regardless of what you choose to settle your plant in.


    Bookmark   March 3, 2008 at 5:25PM
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Thankyou so much Al for your ALWAYS quick caring attitude when it comes to helping others. Thankyou. I like the sounds of this soil..:-). I can't wait to buy my plant now.
Maybe this will be the first Gardenia I have ever own without killing it from unhappy feet in to wet of a soil.
The snow is melting fast around here in New England....Even my favorite bird is back from his winter break!
Take care, I hope you are well.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2008 at 9:20AM
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I am going to use this formula soil you so graciously gave me. May I just ask you how much gypsum I am suppose to add to these exact measurements you gave me. I bought some today...Looking forward to making it!!!!!!:-)
Thanks again

    Bookmark   March 4, 2008 at 1:21PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Add a tablespoon per gallon of soil, or 1/3 - 1/2 cup per cu ft. Remember that you'll need to add the Epsom salts when you fertilize - ok? 1/4 - 1/2 tsp per gallon of water mixed with your fertilizer. Check first to be sure your fertilizer does not contain Ca and Mg though. It most likely does not.


    Bookmark   March 4, 2008 at 10:00PM
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Thankyou Al>>>>>>>:-) :-)

    Bookmark   March 5, 2008 at 7:57AM
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rosie3(z5 MI)

I'm so happy I came upon your posting!I will have to carry my plant upstairs & Al's mix would make it too heavy.I am a very senior citizen!!

    Bookmark   July 23, 2009 at 12:05PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

I'm not sure how you arrived at that conclusion, but I'll mention that you would be hard pressed to find any difference of significance between the 5:1:1 soil and a peat-based soil from the bag. The 5:1:1 mix would be, in fact, about the same weight when dry & lighter when wet. The decision is yours, of course, and I have no stake in how you go about rearing your plants, but I offered the correction so others wouldn't get the impression that the 5:1:1 soil should be considered a heavy soil.


    Bookmark   July 23, 2009 at 12:30PM
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yellowthumb(5a Ontario)

A potted gardenia in the north is nothing like any other house plants you regularly see. The problem with gardenia is that its roots are extremely prone to root rot, and even worse, once root rot started, it's very hard to reverse it, the rot will proceed to the whole root system. So don't let the root rot in the first place. Once the process starts, it's going to be a long and painful declining. You will see stunned growth, old leaves yellowing but don't fall off, leaves losing shine, new growth wilts even when the pot is still heavy. A jasmine, on the other hand, can have root rot, but once the condition improves, the root rot will normally stop itself.

I have killed many gardenias and also has great success with a couple of them. I have failed a couple times miserably repoting gardenia into Al's gritty mix from peat based old soil. I am still in the process of learning, but here is what I have found so far.
For a gardenia with peat based old soil, it's very hard for the gardenia to grow new roots into the gritty mix if you don't bare root the gardenia first. I don't know the reason, maybe the PH difference plays a factor.
It's very easy for the gardenia to grow new roots into the 5-1-1 even you just gently tease apart the tangling roots.
Even with 5-1-1, dreaded winter cloudy days can be fatal to your indoor gardenia unless the gardenia is very pot bound. The soil can still stay wet for too long. The rule of thumb is that the potting mix has to dry out in about two or three days after watering, otherwise, you run the risk of root rotting. I am trying to see the gritty mix could offer me an answer. Also a growth light may also necessary. In short, it's a high maintenance plant.

I repotted my gardenia from peat based soil into gritty mix about 10 days ago. Now it's still in a shock, it will wilt slightly in the afternoon, but will perk up in the morning. Also there are a handful of old leaves turning yellow, but this gardenia has tons of leaves. I am still have my fingers crossed.

Good luck with your gardenia

    Bookmark   July 23, 2009 at 3:34PM
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One, if your gardenia dies yellowthumb, I can promise you it is not because of the gritty mix in particular, but because of cultural or enviromental problems. Seems to me, everything has to be just right for them to be happy, even if they are in the best kept soiless mixes, especially the gritty mix.

Two, thankgod my gardenias are doing awsome in the gritty mix...They are far less prone to root rot, even in this cruddy everyday cool weather i have had since May!, than any mix I ever used.

If someone is looking for a soiless mix that dries out fast, and is very light weight, very light weight, then use the 5.1.1 mix, and use less peat if you find the mix staying wet to long. It is a lot lighter than the bagged mixes, I can assure you..:-)

    Bookmark   July 23, 2009 at 3:55PM
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yellowthumb(5a Ontario)

Right, but I don't think the gardenia is going to die. It's still looking great, just a transplant shock, but it's under her ability for a full recovery.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2009 at 9:03PM
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tanksalot(New England)

I came across this thread today, while in Mt. View, California visiting our kids. We're from Connecticut. Any updates? I'd LOVE to grow a grafted gardenia in our sunroom, but don't want to kill it. I do plan on getting some citrus from Four Winds and growing them in gritty mix. I'll also email yellowthumb to see what he says.


    Bookmark   October 20, 2010 at 12:26PM
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