New Gardenia

monet_gJune 15, 2011

Well, I did it. I bought a beautiful Gardenia standard again this year. Last year I bought one, bare-rooted it and put it in the gritty mix. However, it never did well.

So, I read through the old threads (again) to see what I can do with the new one. Going through the information, I could see that, in some cases, the discussion was to resolve certain problems and the final outcome wasn't always revealed.

Some questions -

Gritty Mix or 5-1-1?

I'm using FP and PT. Do I still need to add gypsum or lime or ?

I was thinking about using Osmocote, too, for acid lovers. Should I do this or just use vinegar?

It seems like the re-pot took its toll last year. Should I wait until fall or early next spring? I'd really like to see some blooms.

The plant will be outside for the summer. I'm in Michigan, would a few hours of afternoon sun be too much?

The plant from last year was purchased from a big box store. I brought it home and replanted it that afternoon. This year's plant is from a higher end nursery and seems healthier. If it's recommended to re-pot at this time of year, should I wait a week or so to get it over the shock of bringing it home.

I'd really like to be successful with the new one. Any advice would be appreciated.



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jenn(SoCal 9/19)

Apparently, you never read the thread about the 'suicidal gardenia'. :-)

Here is a link that might be useful: The tale of the suicidal gardenia (archived GW post)

    Bookmark   June 15, 2011 at 9:53AM
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Ha, Jenn,
I did read it along time ago, but didn't want to re-read it for fear it would deter me. I think/hope we are all now wiser thanks to Al and others. ;-)
Guess I should read it now.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2011 at 11:33AM
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I bought one from HD 3 months ago and repotted it into the 511 mix a few days later. It was in bloom when this took place, but it has grown so much since the repot. The only problem is, I haven't seen any new blooms lately and only had 2 or three after repotting.

I'm not upset because it is very healthy and green, pest free and putting out new branches weekly. I use vinegar when I water and fertilize with a water soluble fertilizer.

I have also ordered an Aimee gardenia online and it arrived last week. I left it out of sun for 2 days before repotting it into the 511 mix. It is doing well so far and I water it every other day because when you repot a plant it tends to wilt because the roots haven;t established themselves into the new soil/medium.

Remember to bareroot the gardenia if you do repot it now because I didn't do this once and my plant went downhill. I wouldn't be scared to remove the old soil and gardenias can handle the process so long as the roots are kept moist before and after repotting.

Good Luck! And tell what you decide to do..

    Bookmark   June 15, 2011 at 1:47PM
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First off, congratulations. Boy these plants can bring you so much joy. That suicidal thread has nothing on us folks that use the strageties set here to be successful at growibg these majestic and most frgrant plants you can find!

I have 6 and not a one of them ever gives me a problem. I use to threaten them, but now they seem to be behaving just on good care alone:-)Budding and flowering at all times of the year.

Hey Sam. Good to hear yours are doing well. I am going to add to your good suggestions if you don't mind.

Gail: Go for the gritty mix if you plan on leaving it in the same container for quite awhile.

If you are using FP, there is no need to use gypsum, although I know some that give extra calcium and then extra Mg with Epsom salts.

I only use vinegar since this does the trick keeping mine full of blooms all year long and extra green.

I have planted any time of the year , especially when they are in optimal growth, and they took very well to every re-pot if not better. Now is great for tranpslanting as long as you give them a nice shady spot for days, then dabbled sunlight to eventually more direct sun. Mine never sit in the hot sun at peak noon. They always get early morning sun this time of the year and after 2pm sun for the rest.
You will find that keeoing them in full hot afternoon sun will cause your flowers to brown up and fall off prematirely. You may also fine the leaves going from a dark green to a lighter color.

Why shock it twice when you should only shock it once if at all? I would tranpslant as soon as I got it home.

Remember to take ALL the old soil off with a hose, and then re-pot gently pushing all the new mix between the roots thoroughly, and don't be afraid to press firmly afterward. Shake the pot letting even more mix fall lower and in-between the roots.

We are here for you and anymore questions, please feel free to ask;-)


    Bookmark   June 15, 2011 at 3:44PM
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Okay, Sam and Mike (and Jenn),
I have her soaking right now. The temps are moderate and there should be a light rain coming in, so I thought it was now or much later this year. I took before pictures and will take after pics.
Wish me luck.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2011 at 5:09PM
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redshirtcat(6a MO StL)


I ordered a very small gardenia online this year and potted it into the gritty mix. When it arrived it had 2 buds on it. After the repot it lost both buds.

Presumably your standard is much larger. As a result I would expect any buds to drop after the repot and you might get some foliage drop/dieback as well.

I've found repotting plants into the gritty mix to be very stressful and risky (most of my experience is with citrus). I haven't lost a plant yet but it certainly isn't well received initially by any of the plants I've tried it with (though dwarfing rootstocks seem to tolerate it better).

Are you planning on keeping this tree for more than 1 year? If so then it might be worth it to repot it. If not it almost certainly will not be worth the repot. You will lose the buds and it will take a good month or so for you to (possibly) see new buds - depending on how much you stress the plant in the process.

What happened to last year's gardenia? Did you not overwinter it? If not, why? What went wrong with that one?

I think one must have long term goals in mind to repot something as fickle as a gardenia into the gritty mix. If you don't plan on paying close attention to this plant all winter and spraying it regularly to keep the aphids off of it and so forth then I would just put it in 5-1-1 or leave it in whatever the nursery gave you.

If you are going for the long term then you *can* be successful but I wouldn't expect it to look great this year. Also remember that if you are going to overwinter anything in the gritty mix you need to think of a way to deal with the runoff - the turkey baster/syringe method got old very quick.

My gardenia:

Here it is the day I got it:

Here it is a few months later:

    Bookmark   June 15, 2011 at 8:48PM
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Thanks Redshirt,
Your new Gardenia is doing beautifully. Well done.

I knew there would be some risk in re-potting, but I would like to keep the plant long term. I kept last year's plant in too much shade and, in general, I don't think I took care of it properly. It didn't do poorly, it just didn't thrive. So after the season, it went to the compost heap.

I did re-pot into the gritty mix last evening. I just checked it and it looks pretty good. The weather is cool and cloudy with some rain. I think that's helping a lot. I will probably lose the few buds that are currently on the plant, but if I can get her blooming in a month or so, I'll be happy.

Ah, the turkey baster. I have about 100 clivia that I overwinter in the house. The turkey baster is my best used tool.

Thanks all. I'll let you know how it goes.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2011 at 9:13AM
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