will repotting new gardenia into 511 = bud loss???

GrnThumMarch 10, 2011

Hi, I was at the HD today to buy some insecticidal soap and was amazed at the gardenias they had which were full of buds! A few plants were also blooming.

I smelled the blooms and was hypnotized into buying one and now I want to repot it into Al's 511 mix because I still have some leftover from other repots.

My question is, should I wait until the gardenia finishes its current blooms before I repot it into the mix, or will it keep its fat buds anyways, if repotted now?

I am currently wanting to leave it alone and enjoy the beautiful blooms it is giving.

What should I do??

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meyermike_1micha(5)

Good morning :-)

If it comes down to saving it from the grips of overly wet soil and or root rot, I would no matter what. If consistantly have no luck with bag mixes, then do so.

I would keep very close eye on how long that mix stays damp since there is no turning back with Gardenia once any rot starts. In fact, watch out that you do not let the mix dry out to the point of wilt more than a time or two also, which I found personally found difficult with bagged mixes. You can not afford to loose a one fine root on these these plants.
Make sure when you water, you water until the water drains out very well, since the slightest salt build up can be a silent killer because their fine roots are very sensitive and succeptable to salt damage.

Doing all this can be very challenging in most of the mixes they come shipped in.

If you find that the mix is drying out between waterings well and that you can work with the mix it came in, then I would wait till the true growing season to re-pot.

The reason why I say that is because a healthy happy gardenia will be in a constant state of buds right through the summer into fall and beyond.

All the these factors will be dependant on what kind of enviroment you provide it, and your cultural practices.

Have plenty of fertilizer on hand that provides ALL the macro-nutrients and secondary macro-nutrients, especially Ca,Mg)they need to be happy.
Have one on hand that keeps it on the acidic side, or use vinegar in your waterings. This is a must for green healthy foliage and bud set.

Good luck and grow well.

Mike:-)

    Bookmark   March 11, 2011 at 9:02AM
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GrnThum

Well, I was brave enough to repot my new gardenia earlier today and I must say, I was not gentle with it.

I rinsed the roots as much as possible and got rid of most of the old soil and left it barerooted before transferring it into the 511 mix.

It did not lose any of its fat buds and it seems that one of them is partially opening! It seems to have taken the repot ok(as of today...) But lets wait and see. (fingers crossed).

I cannot get enough of the scent when I smell the open blooms, it is very intoxicating!! If I am able to keep this one alive (Thanks to Al), I will definitely get another... I think I am now in the gardenia addicts club!

I hope all goes well!

    Bookmark   March 11, 2011 at 11:56PM
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meyermike_1micha(5)

Thanks Al?

Were you not referring to me that wrote you?

Anyway. I hope it goes well too

Mike

    Bookmark   March 12, 2011 at 6:25AM
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GrnThum

Sorry Mike, I was reading another post about repotting root-bound plants, which had Al giving advise on getting rootbound plants into a new mix, while I wrote that. Didn't mean no harm!! Had Al's advise on mind

I wanted to thank you for your inspiration on gardenias and your insight Mike, you are always advising me on these finicky plants. I just didn't realize that what I wrote seemed to disregard you, sorry again.

BTW, wanted to let you know that I pruned my Grand Duke to half its normal size, and there and 2 new shoots emerging@! And I thought I never would see that plant grow..

But staying on topic, I wanted to ask you when you think I should fertilize it, in a couple of weeks or sooner? I just watered it after transplanting it yesterday with a small amount of vinegar. So what would you advise me doing?

Thanks Mike!

Sam

    Bookmark   March 12, 2011 at 10:25AM
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meyermike_1micha(5)

No problem Sam. :-)

Just an oversight. Been under the weather. Sorry I have not returned sooner.

Congrats on your Grand Duke! That is great. You have to love these plants.
I lost one to root rot. I never changed that one out of the peat mix it comes in from Logee's. :-( At least the other is ok.

I would give your gardenia a couple of weeks before fertilizing. It will do no harm. Even if you did fertilize now, in that mix and at the application we use, no problem.

By the way, when you first transplant into the new mix, being already acidic, you have no need for vinegar until you have been watering with water that has a high pH over time. With my plants, I usually don't need vinegar unless I see a problem with nutrient uptake after a few weeks of using faucet water and usually no problem if using just rain water.

Good job! :0)

Mike

    Bookmark   March 15, 2011 at 8:53PM
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redshirtcat(6a MO StL)

Are the buds still holding up? I lost about 50-60 leaves on my citrus tree when I did something similar and it's still dropping 5-6 a day with no end in sight. I planned on doing something similar with a new gardenia but wonder how it ended up on your end? My lemon tree looked good the next day but started shedding a few days later...

    Bookmark   March 15, 2011 at 10:25PM
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meyermike_1micha(5)

Hi Redshirtcat.

I would expect gardenia to do just so, since transplanting at budding time can be very tricky. I do hope Sam's did well.

As for citrus, if anything, a citrus can improve in health within a very short period of time, even if it was in decline already, planted into the gritty mix.
That is strange that yours would be dropping leaves. Something has to be amiss with that.

Have you read through all the threads and maybe discovered a missed step?

Have you been watering regularly? Have you kept yours out of sunlight for a few days? Did you fill in all around the roots? Did you possibly leave the roots exposed too long to the air? Did you make sure all your components are the right size? Did use gypsum? Do you check to make sure the root ball does not ry out? Do you use a wooden dowel? Just a few questions to ask yourself.

If you had posted pictures and told us sooner, we could of worked together on this and stop your tree from dropping leaves. If you did, I am sorry I never saw it.

I can say from experience that it is not the mix that can cause the demise of any plant potted into it, but usually operator error. The sooner you find out where you might of gone wrong, the more you will be able to grow anything you want, even more citrus in the mix. I hope you figure it out and good luck:-)))

Mike

    Bookmark   March 15, 2011 at 11:05PM
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GrnThum

Firstly, yes Mike, I do love the way my plants are reacting to the 511 mix, especially my gardenia. My Grand Duke has finally awoken from its month long hibernation as I stated and it has popped 4 new buds, which hopefully will grow fast (My plant is about 5 inches long)!

On watering with vinegar, I thought it wouldn't hurt since I added Lime to the mix which is supposed to bring the pH up, so I thought it would be ok. But since you reassured me, I will hold up on using it for now.

Redshirtcat: I barerooted and repotted my gardenia into the new mix on Friday, and so far as of today, not one leaf or 1 bud has been lost. All the buds are holding up fine, but I did have a tiny problem on sunday. I awoke to find that the whole plant was droopy and the buds seemed bent downwards with the leaves feeling very soft.

I quickly watered it and within an hour it perked right up and all the buds rose up as well. The only thing is, that there was one bud that was beginning to open and after that incident, it has started to yellow and it seems to have frozen at a half open stage. The scent from this bud is still strong though, but other buds are currently turning from green to white.

I've decided that it needs to be kept moist until it has established its roots into the medium. I am currently lightly-watering it every other day, especially at the root area.

I am surprised by how well (so far) it has taken the process and hope that it establishes well. I think that this one is a hardy plant since it has yet to lose any buds/leaves (finger-crossed). The last time I praised how well it was doing, I woke up the next day to a dehydrated wilting plant...

    Bookmark   March 15, 2011 at 11:28PM
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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

I am glad you went ahead and replaced the soil when the plant was still healthy and strong. Too many times we don't do anything until the plant shows the signs of stress, and with many, like gardenia, once declining, is usually unstoppable. Al

    Bookmark   March 16, 2011 at 9:23AM
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GrnThum

Thanks. Although I was scared to do so because of all the bad news I read about root disturbance, I went ahead so that I could have a better and well established plant as spring comes along.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2011 at 4:42PM
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GrnThum

My Gardenia has been potted in the 511 mix for a week now and today there were some dropped leaves as well as some yellow leaves that fell to the touch.

The thing is, they are all bottom leaves that this is happening to and I think it may have to do with me giving them a good soaking a couple of days ago.

Currently, there are about 3 buds which are mostly white that are readying to open, as well as a lot of smaller immature buds. I could already smell their strong scent; there is also more new growth as well.

The gardenia is producing a good amount of new growth on top and seems to be reacting to what I think was an overwatering on my part. I was scared that the plant would droop again and was watering lightly every other day.

I will hold off on the watering in the meantime and wait and see. I hope to see no more yellowing leaves.

Could my assessment be correct?

    Bookmark   March 20, 2011 at 12:34AM
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jodik_gw

The grittier mediums don't always require watering as often as we might think. Believe it or not, the medium will hold more moisture toward the center of the rootball area than we think, and even though the surface appears bone dry, the roots are fine. The best way to check for moisture, or the need thereof, is to use the wooden skewer method.

It's next to impossible to get your finger dug into the gritty mix deep enough to check for moisture, and to be honest, I don't think moisture meters are all that accurate. It's sometimes difficult to get a feel for moisture by weight of the pot, because the gritty mix tends to be a bit heavier than bagged soils.

I like to use wooden skewers, available at the local grocery store at around a buck for 100, inserted at a nice angle, pointy end first, so the tip rests somewhere near the lower center of the medium/rootball. When taken out and pressed to my cheek, a cool damp skewer indicates that moisture is still present, while a warm dry skewer indicates the need for watering.

While the gritty mix gives us a wider margin for error in watering, it can be over watered. This is why everyone says there's a slight adjustment in watering we need to make when switching to the gritty mix or the 511... we need to learn when our plants require watering in this medium, and how to test to see when that is.

Regardless of the medium a grower uses, logic tells us that we should only water our plants when they need it, and not on a schedule, as some people are wont to do. My Mom, as an example, watered her houseplants once a week whether they needed it or not, and she left them sit in saucers full of whatever excess ran out the drainage holes. Consequently, she killed every plant she ever had. They all eventually succumbed to her poor care, some sooner than others.

Working with the gritty mix is no different, really... we still need to water only as each plant requires it. The difference is in finding out when that is. I highly recommend getting a package of little wooden shish-ka-bob skewers from your local store and utilizing them to help you test for moisture.

Don't worry... you'll get a feel for how often watering and flushing are required, given the type and size of plant, the medium, the pot size, your individual environment, temperature, humidity, etc... but the skewers really help to get that feel. :-)

And remember... even when the medium feels dry to our sense of touch, it could still be holding a certain percentage of moisture in vapor form that we can't feel, but is still available to the plant.

There's a saying in bonsai about when to water... Al knows it, but I can't quite remember how it goes... something about waiting until the plant is totally dry and in need, then watering one day before? Don't quote me! Al or someone can give us the accurate saying! :-)

    Bookmark   March 20, 2011 at 12:23PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

I was a true story that actually happened to me ion a workshop by bonsai master Ben Oki.

In a bonsai workshop with a Japanese master (Ben Oki), one of the participants asked a question: "How often should I water my juniper?" His (Mr. Oki's) expression never changed at all as he answered in Japanese accented English, "Wait until plant become completely dry - then water day before." To this day, I'm not sure if he was serious or it was his brand of humor, but the advice is sound for most plant material.

Al

    Bookmark   March 20, 2011 at 1:42PM
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jodik_gw

Thank you, Al! Yes, that's it exactly!

If I'm not entirely sure a plant needs watering, I wait an extra day or two. I'd rather the medium get a little bit too dry than too wet. Dry can be corrected with a good soaking, but wet is wet, and only time and the evaporation process can correct it.

Wicking... inserting wicks into your pots before planting them, and letting them dangle out the drainage holes... can help draw out any excess water that might sit perched. Again, Al can explain exactly how they work, but the idea is to fool the water into thinking it can go further, that there's more medium to saturate... or at least, I think that's the idea. :-)

I have not used wicking as of yet, but I do intend to in some of the larger planters I'll be filling this year.

If I'm off base on any issues, I apologize... I only want to offer help in the form of what I've learned and the experiences I've had. What I do know for a certainty is that the concept of a larger particulate used as a planting medium is very sound... especially when we understand the exact purposes medium serves, and what happens under the soil surface where roots are concerned. Healthy roots make for healthy plants!

    Bookmark   March 20, 2011 at 5:26PM
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GrnThum

LOL!!

Thanks for the insight Jodik and Al, that gave me a laugh! I will take this into account and stop watering for now and wait it out.

The only reason I was scared into giving it more water was because in the first week after taking it home and transplanting, I watered it once and waited several days.

The plant was dehydrated soon, and all its buds and leaves were drooping. I decided that it needed to be watered more often because it's roots are still establishing themselves into the soil and they needed all the water they possibly could get.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2011 at 9:57PM
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jodik_gw

You're welcome! For me, it all boils down to checking pots every few days to see where I'm at moisture-wise. The skewers do help a lot.

Pre-moistening the medium before potting is a good idea, too. You can soak the bark before mixing, or add water to the mixed medium and work it in to pre-moisten. I think this helps guard against the roots drying out too soon after you first pot the plant.

Drooping buds and leaves aren't always caused by a dry environment, but I think we can deduce certain issues through the process of elimination, and we know what we've done and what the cause may be, with regard to our own plants... in this case, most likely caused by a little re-potting shock/stress and dry medium.

And I only mention that because I've had plants droop that were very obviously wet enough... and in fact, were too wet and unable to function properly. My own fault, of course.

But anyway... happy growing! We're always glad to be of service, if we can help!

    Bookmark   March 21, 2011 at 8:44AM
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rubyjchang

I have been hearing about adding vinegar to watering gardenia for a while. What is the frequency that needs to be applied and in what amount?

Thanks!
Ruby

    Bookmark   October 22, 2011 at 11:54PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Hi, Ruby!
I add vinegar to my water when I fertilize.

For the best results, test the pH of your water. Then, add white vinegar or citric acid
until the pH of your water measures somewhere around 5.8 - record the amount of vinegar required
to adjust the pH of your water, and add that amount each subsequent time you water/fertilize.

For less precise results, a lot of folks simply use a capful of vinegar per gallon of water.

Josh

    Bookmark   October 23, 2011 at 12:01PM
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rubyjchang

Thank you Josh!

I don't have a pH meter (I know...shame on me). I will just do it as you suggest maybe a tsp or so in a gallon! (don't want to burn anything...)

Thanks!
Ruby

    Bookmark   October 23, 2011 at 7:53PM
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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

If you want to check your water PH without a meter, your local hydroponic supply has a small bottle of chemical, very inexpensive, that will do it. Al

    Bookmark   October 24, 2011 at 9:31AM
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mksmth zone 6b Tulsa Oklahoma(6b)

you can also get PH testing supplies at fish and pool supply stores pretty cheap.

And Meyer Mike I wish I had your green thumb for gardenia. If you remember the one I got in late summer. Well it struggled through our extreme hot temps and now looks kinda bare. I just cant figure this one out.

mike

    Bookmark   October 24, 2011 at 10:21AM
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meyermike_1micha(5)

Mike:

Let's start a thread on yours with a pic and we can get it back to healthy again together!

Have you seen a few of mine I took pictures of yesterday?

I just use 1 capful per gallon and it does fine for me.

Mike

Here is a link that might be useful: My gardenias

    Bookmark   October 24, 2011 at 10:29PM
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mksmth zone 6b Tulsa Oklahoma(6b)

Mike your greenhouse must smell absolutely amazing. I will get a picture of it soon and start a thread. It took quite a beating with the heat and high winds we had this summer so I may just let it rest overwinter and put it in the gritty this next spring. It did loose about 50% of its leaves but it has started to regrow a lot. My funds are going to be short for a few months so I wont be able to do much more than try and keep it alive.

mike

    Bookmark   October 25, 2011 at 9:44AM
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