Jiaogulan questions.

heartarchyApril 1, 2010

I've been growning Jiaogulan (Gynostemma pentaphyllum) from seed for the past few months. I started under lights in a seed starting kit with peat plugs where they grew fine until I re-potted them into a cheap six quart rubbermaid-type container with plenty of large drainage holes drilled in the bottom.

The soil is a mixture of miracle-gro organic choice potting soil (mostly bark and sphagnum peat) with gypsum and a large amount of perlite. (Only temporary until I can find a source for pine/fir bark fines... proving difficult.)

I water when the soil is almost thoroughly dry, being careful not to over-water due to the large amount of peat. I've only fertilized once with a half-strength miracle-gro liquid 12-4-8 mixed with epsom salt.

Now, on to the actual question. The newer growth is a pale yellow-green where as the original growth is a dark, healthy-looking green. A few leaves on all six plants have brown tips on both old and new growth.

I can't for the life of me find any information on this plant aside from a few suggestions which all seem to be contradictory. I was just wondering if anyone knew if this is normal or might just be due to the somewhat poor soil/container I'm using, and anything I could do to remedy the problem temporarily until I can find some pine bark and re-pot into a more suitable pot.

Thanks in advance,


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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

I would fertilize again and leave the Epsom salts out of the solution. I would also try adding an ounce of vinegar to each gallon of water every time you irrigate.

Some new foliage simply emerges lighter than mature foliage, or even a different color entirely. Pale new leaves do often suggest a deficiency of the nutrients considered relatively immobile in the plant, or a general lack of fertility. Sometimes, micro-nutrients are actually present in the soil in adequate amounts, but unavailable because of high pH. The vinegar will help neutralize alkalinity and hopefully lower pH.


    Bookmark   April 1, 2010 at 10:15PM
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Thank you, it's much appreciated. The next morning I did just that and it might only be my eyes playing tricks on me but now it does look a healthier shade of green.

The only problem is I dissolved the epsom in the 12-4-8 so I am stuck with it until I buy another quart. I could not find any analysis showing the MG 12-4-8 or MG organic choice potting mix containing any amount of magnesium, but the fields were normally just left blank. From what I've read, It also seems Magnesium doesn't change soil pH much, either.

So basically, would I be okay just using the 12-4-8 + epsom or should I really buy a new quart?

Thanks again,

    Bookmark   April 5, 2010 at 4:29AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

I'm very sorry - I misread your original post and missed the fact that you'd added gypsum to the mix you're using. The Epsom salts in the 12-4-8 is appropriate if you didn't add more than about 1/4 cup to the quart. You might not want to use it on soils that contain lime, though.


    Bookmark   April 5, 2010 at 10:27AM
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That's good to hear. I only added about 2 1/2 tablespoons, so I should be alright.


    Bookmark   April 6, 2010 at 2:13AM
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