when to repot gardenia

rosie3(z5 MI)July 25, 2009

My two gardenias are in same soil as when I purchased them in June.Being new to this forum I've learned so much about soiless mixtures & would like to repot my plants.Can this be done anytime? We have had so much rain I'm afraid of root rot!I appreciate any help!!

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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Repot every (usually) 2 years in late winter or spring - early Apr, for you. Use a soil that drains freely, like the gritty mix. Don't add lime to the soil - use gypsum and Epsom salts as your source of Ca/Mg. The roots are superficial and fine, so drastic root pruning is not such a hot idea - best if Al

    Bookmark   July 25, 2009 at 11:18AM
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rosie3(z5 MI)

Thanks Al..but when I bring them in for the winter is it ok to change to a "soil that drains freely" instead of keeping them in heavy soil they are in now?

    Bookmark   July 26, 2009 at 11:22AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Well, you might be able to get away with it, but if you're going to repot out of season, I think I'd do it around the last week of Aug or first week of Sep so the plant has time to recover & gain some energy for its winter rest.

If mine: I think I would just tend to be very judicious about my watering habits & wait for spring. "Patience, Grasshopper." ;o)


    Bookmark   July 26, 2009 at 12:22PM
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rosie3(z5 MI)

Oh dear...now I'm nervous. One is in a very tall iron planter that cannot possibly come in house.So I will have to repot & pray!!

    Bookmark   July 26, 2009 at 8:59PM
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yellowthumb(5a Ontario)

Hi Rosie,

Your zone is similar to mine, I just want to share some of my experience with you. A gardenia is not a jasmine. Unless the gardenia has lots of leaves and very pot bound, it's hard to survive the long dark winter.

I repotted mine two weeks ago when I saw the first sign of root rot. Now it's still resting inside the house. It will slightly wilt during some hot days, but will perk up the next morning. It has tons of leaves, now some old leaves are turning yellow. I am on the positive side it will survive. It's your call to repot or not, but sometimes, you have no choice. Just keep in mind, when you repot, use a hose to wash off the heavy soil, then follow Al's suggestion to settle the roots with new soil.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2009 at 10:41PM
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rosie3(z5 MI)

Thanks for your imput!! Was your gardenia in a soiless mixture? What are the signs of root rot. As I told Al my one gardenia is in a tall urn that I can't bring in. How dumb of me to use that container!! So I don't have a choice. It does have tons of leaves & still many buds. Do I have to bring it in when I repot?

    Bookmark   July 27, 2009 at 11:33AM
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yellowthumb(5a Ontario)

Yes, my repotted gardenia is in the gritty mix. The signs of root rot is hard to tell, but keep an eye on the following signs:
The new growth stunned, tiny new leaves not getting any bigger.
Some old leaves are turning yellow but don't fall off the tree
The leaves losing its shine and become dull
The young leaves wilts even when the pot is still heavy or the soil is still moist.
When you water after wilting, it takes over an hour for the plant to perk up
Produces new buds, but the buds are not getting bigger. Sometimes, layers of tiny leaves will surround the new bug

Especially watch the sign of wilting when pot is still heavy to lift. Remember, a gardenia with healthy roots will readily absorbs available water in the mix and make the pot very light to lift. And after watering, the plant should perk right up like within 10 minutes.

But the most effective and ultimate inspection tool is to lift the plant out of its pot and check the root, watch the root in the lower part of the container. Scrape the soil in the bottom of the container, sometimes you will find the dark secret.
Good luck.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2009 at 12:48PM
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Yellowthumb has a huge gift with growing very difficult tropical plants! He should be called greenthumb. And Al, well that is another story.
I could of never held a gardenia over an entire season, let alone winter if it wasn't for his help.

Let me just add one thing. If you are going to have to repot, then do it before the fall!
I have never had any issues transplanting now, and all mine are very healthy.
I though, would not bring it indoors, I would leave it outdoors under dabbled sunlight or shade as long as you can, to get the greatest amount of light possible. None of my denias ever do as good indoors as out.

Don't be nervous, if you follow the suggestions on how to transplant into a different mix, it should do fine. Just do not put in in full sun for a bit:-)

Hope you didn't miss the point Al said about waiting till spring if you can...:-)

    Bookmark   July 27, 2009 at 2:04PM
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rosie3(z5 MI)

That's great information....thanks!!

    Bookmark   July 27, 2009 at 4:02PM
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